Investing in Talent

Brent Szalay

We’ve all heard murmurs of what’s termed the Great Resignation. You might have noticed the emerging trend after the pandemic lockdowns, where more professionals (particularly young talent) are choosing to be their own boss and starting a business.

As a business owner, this resignation shift causes a little concern if you’re looking to retain and grow your team. It’s never been more important to invest in a people and culture strategy. So, how can you become a destination of choice for the right talent? And, what can you do to ensure they happily stay?

People and culture expert, Terri Green, has a wealth of experience advising for businesses and knows what motivates employees. I caught up with Terri to uncover what you can do to build your employee value proposition (EVP) to become a workplace of choice. We also explored tactics to help your people flourish, so they not only stick around, they become your biggest ambassadors.

It’s time to turn the Great Resignation into the Great Retention.

I’ve seen what happens when businesses get stuck in the outdated approach of hiring people just to get the job done. It doesn’t cut it anymore. Failing to invest in your people and culture as a strategy for prosperity results in talent leaving and you becoming so busy covering work and recruiting that it’s tough to grow. You might also find it impossible to repair the damage to your reputation or recover from a costly exodus of staff.

But it doesn’t have to be like this. Invest in a people and culture strategy and start by taking the time to understand and develop your employee value proposition.

Show me (more than) the money

Terri says people want to be paid well, but it’s not the main reason people move on. “People leave because they’re not heard, there are problems with management, there’s no career pathway or they are not being recognised,” she explains.

By identifying what makes your business special (your internal value) you can start to build and communicate an attractive EVP.

EVPs evolve over time and should capture the benefits you can provide across four key areas:

Culture – what is your business’ culture? How do you recognise your people, great behaviour and reputable work? How do you celebrate success and give back to the community?

Career pathways – how do you support your team so they can reach their goals? Do you offer development in soft skills, as well as hard skills?

Pay and benefits – pay market rates and above (if you can or need to for certain roles), but what else can you offer? Terri says benefits like “extra days off, performance bonuses, and even values-based bonuses can be very attractive”.

Wellbeing – what is your office environment like to work in? How do you support flexibility? Do you offer employee assistance programs? It might take time for you to fully form your EVP but you can start developing your strategy today. Pay attention to what your people are looking for and what your business offers.

Here are our five ideas for developing your internal value:

Understand your values
Values-led organisations drive strong culture. If you have identified your purpose as a business, ask yourself, “What do we value in behaviour and attitudes?” Put it into words. This will help you to attract the right people to begin with.

Identify what makes your business special
Small businesses have a huge advantage here. What makes your business a special place to work? Use your situation to your benefit.

Give your team a voice and listen to what they say
“Find out what motivates and really engages them. This is different to what makes them happy and will uncover what gives meaning to their work,” says Terri. You can do this with surveys, team meetings and individual catch ups. Make listening and paying attention to the needs of your team a priority.

Take an individual approach
Take the time to build individual connections and show that you genuinely care. You can then work with your people to build the development pathways and recognition they’re looking for.

Build trust and transparency
Develop your vision for your business and share it with your team. Be open so you can say, “This is what we are working towards, together,” and ask them for their input.

So, in summary, your people and culture strategy needs to include getting to know your team, articulating what it is that makes your business different, sharing your vision and values and taking your people on the growth journey with you.

This investment will pay off over time – you’ll build loyalty among your team and attract more quality people to your business.

Click here to download our FREE Employee Value Proposition Survey to use with your current employees. 

This article was originally published in the Law Institute Journal, as a part of the Leaders in Practice program – a collaboration between SEIVA and the Law Institute of Victoria. Learn more about Leaders in Practice here

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