People are our greatest assets, how about we start treating them that way!
No doubt you’ve heard ad nauseum, “people are our greatest asset”. This statement seems to be included in pretty well every corporate mission statement, is frequently found in company annual reports and is (we guess) probably on most corporate websites in Australia. However, the sad reality is that many businesses, large and small, may believe their people are their greatest asset, but they don’t invest in that asset. Like any ‘asset’, you need to look after it, you need to recognise its value and you need to protect it.
We painfully realise the value of an ‘asset’ when it is no longer an ‘asset’. It’s the day or week after that golden employee has left the building for greener pastures, hopefully not to a competitor, that it dawns on us, “hey, perhaps we could have done more to keep Sarah on board?”. Too late, they’re gone!
Businesses are always looking for differentiation in the market and often miss the point that our people are what differentiates us and more often than not, is our competitive advantage. To maximise on that we need to create a culture that is different. A culture owned and cultivated from the top down.
If you invest time and money in finding the best people, then you want to make sure you keep them.
Over the past 17 years, we’ve seen organisations do too little to nurture their most valuable assets. Here are a few pointers that apply to any size business or organisation.
1. Recruit right – up front
Invest the time and effort in finding the right people for your business. Don’t rush the recruitment process. You want to ensure that not only do they have the skills, or are capable of acquiring them, but they’ll fit culturally. Take the time to try and get to know them before you invite them in to become a valuable member of your team and someone who will themselves influence your team’s culture. Think about the process and how your business, your brand, is represented throughout that process and the experience the potential candidates will have with you and your brand.
2. Have a clear vision and purpose
Your company’s vision and purpose should be clear, easy to communicate and should be shared regularly with your team. If people aren’t all on board with the vision and purpose, they’ll become disengaged and the team will become fractured.
3. Be flexible
Life gets in the way sometimes, whether it’s sick kids, family commitments, or someone just needs a day away from the office for some headspace. Create an environment where people feel comfortable asking for time out or working from home.
4. Communicate frequently
When you think you’ve communicated enough, it’s likely you haven’t. Create an environment where everyone is comfortable sharing ideas. Provide regular feedback to team members and directly ask for input on everything, from strategic to operational matters. Great leadership means being transparent and transparency is based on solid communication.
5. Create opportunities
Not just opportunities for individuals within the organisation, but opportunities for personal development and community engagement. Many small and medium size businesses struggle to hang on to people for the lack of opportunity for career advancement. Be creative; if you have a long term growth strategy (you should), ensure people know about it and see the potential for where they may grow and develop to fit in to the longer term vision.
6. Engage an HR pro (if you don’t already have one!)
Expert HR advice is key to building your business. This can be either in-house or leveraging an outsourced HR partner. Apart from reducing compliance risk and potential financial penalties, they’ll help increase employee retention by implementing a strategic framework around compensation, procedures, benefits and development opportunities.
7. Understand that everyone is motivated differently
We aren’t cookies from the same cutter so we need to stop thinking everyone wants the same things. For many people it’s not the money that motivates them. It can be a number of factors; flexible working conditions, a sense of purpose in what they are doing, a sense of community and opportunities for personal and professional development.
Talk to a Specialist
If you have any questions, we’d love to help.
Contact your 360HR team member or call our Corporate Head Office on 02 9819 6324.