07 Mar The Enlightened Employer
It’s fashionable these days to talk about the importance of being a strong ‘employer brand.’ But as is the case with most concepts of this ilk, it’s really just a new term for applying basic common sense to the practice of running a successful business. Look after your people and they will look after your business. Or to put it another way – create a strong internal culture and not only will you attract the best talent, you’ll retain it as well.
Having dress down Fridays, pool tables, canteen areas, free fruit and even in-house bars are all well and dandy, but today’s employees expect a little more from their places of work, their careers and those who employ them.
In recent times, intangible facets have become much more important than tangible ones. Creating a vibrant and harmonious workplace for employees is no longer just a ‘tick in the box’ exercise. It is a fundamental part of making an ethical and honest declaration that puts people at the centre of a business development strategy and helps to enhance productivity, performance and profitability.
Having been an employer and an employee myself, I can see clear wins on both sides of the fence. And with a portfolio career that brings me into extremely close contact with several dozen businesses every year, I also witness at first hand, that things are definitely changing for the better.Here are eight suggestions, that I believe every employer who wishes to create a truly engaging internal culture should think about.
- Demonstrating a clear policy on the importance of every employee’s mental and physical health.
- Ring-fencing a percentage of profit into areas such as free breakfasts, team lunches and gym membership.
- Upping the amount of ‘fun’ or team building activities planned throughout the year.
- Creating individualised development programmes.
- Offering upskilling opportunities that may, or may not being related to an employee’s day job.
- Creating assignments that can add to an employee’s feeling of achievement and self-worth.
Purpose and Values
- Have a clearly articulated company purpose that goes beyond generating profit.
- Ensure all staff are aware of and exemplify the values and ethics of the business.
- Highlight areas where the business is practicing what it preaches and demonstrating how staff can become more involved in shaping this activity.
- Sourcing talent from less traditional spaces and places.
- Ensuring “unconscious bias” doesn’t creep into an ongoing recruitment policy
- Ensuring that a broad church of views occurs during decision making processes. Thus avoiding the potential of myopic “group think.”
- Demonstrating a willingness to be challenged and hear fresh ideas.
- Adopting a culture of listening rather than just telling.
- Creating an inspiring vision for the business and those who work within it.
- Working tirelessly to achieve trust, avoid criticism and gain loyalty.
- Create personal freedom and be open to increasingly agile working practices.
- Allow people to make mistakes, but highlight the fundamental importance of learning from them.
Nurturing Ideas and Creativity
- With trust and freedom, comes the desire to be more creative and this requires break-out spaces, open hubs and collaborative working points that are more than beige meeting rooms.
- Creating internal teams who are challenged with creatively owning tasks, such as new product development, organising away days, or new ways of presenting ideas to clients.
- Looking further afield and seeing what businesses are doing in other sectors, even in other countries.
- Think about where the business wants and needs to be in five years.
- Preparing answers for the conundrums that shorter deadlines, tighter budgets and new technology will undoubtedly impact upon staff.
- Considering what work / life balances will make the business a more rewarding and productive place to be.