5 Ways to Support Your Growth Strategy Through Talent

Successful leaders understand the importance of investing in their people and culture, because they recognise the impact their people have on the business performance and customer experience. In fact, research shows that companies with engaged employees outperform their counterparts by 202% in terms of growth and increase customer metrics by 10%.

“Regardless of the size of your business, people can be your biggest asset and real differentiators for your firm,” says Belinda Farrell, Macquarie Banking and Financial Services Group’s Human Resources Director. “That’s why it’s so important to invest time and effort in ensuring the employee experience you provide is exceptional – just as you invest in your experience for customers.”

The next generation of talent has very different ambitions, priorities and ideas about what constitutes a successful career. According to Deloitte’s global survey of 13,418 millennials, 49 per cent would quit their current job in the next two years if they had a choice – up from 38% in 2017. Meanwhile, the gig economy appeals to four in five millennials and Gen Zs.

“The notion of a ‘one size fits all’ career ladder doesn’t really exist anymore. What’s important is creating an environment that genuinely supports each individual on a development path that’s meaningful and tailored to them, so their career journey becomes more like a portfolio of different experiences,” observes Farrell.

There are significant benefits to doing so, as losing key employees can also impact your business – it can reduce revenue, and negatively impact client service as well as morale.

Here are five ways to make sure people remain at the core of your business success.

1. Focus on employee experience

Truly customer-centric businesses put just as much thought and care into their employee experience as their clients. And for both of these audiences, retention starts on day one of their journey with you.

“Understanding the range of factors that motivate people at different stages of their employee journey is a great way to prioritise your efforts on the things that matter most,” says Farrell.

What growth opportunities look like will vary for different people, and at different life moments – such as when they start a career, expand their family, or want flexibility to pursue personal and life goals.

“It’s about intentionally designing the moments that matter so you retain great talent, and they are fully engaged in your business. That may include technology to support their success at work, or a choice of learning opportunities based on their goals and aspirations,” she adds.

It’s important to understand whether your intended workplace experience aligns with your employee’s reality. Conversations with your teams can help you measure this, as well as feedback through sites such as Glassdoor.

2. Constantly re-think skills and roles – for today and tomorrow

Automation and AI is transforming what it means to work today, and according to Deloitte’s 2019 Human Capital trends, 74% of Australian businesses are hiring people with different skills as a result.

Problem solving, communication, curiosity, adaptability and a thirst for lifelong learning may now be a higher priority than technical skills to get the job done. Looking outside your industry can help you source from a diverse talent pool.

“Diversity of thought is positively linked to innovation and risk management outcomes,” notes Farrell. “Being open and flexible to the types of career experiences candidates can bring to your business will in turn lead to greater levels of diverse thinking within your teams.”

3. Recognise and reward

High performing companies have a range of strategies in place to attract, manage, develop, and retain high-performing people.

By recognising great customer outcomes, teamwork or lessons learned in the moment, you can create a virtuous cycle for your business where employees work collaboratively to deliver the best results.

There are many ways to incentivise people beyond salary. “Some candidates will be attracted by school holiday camps for their children, the technology your company uses, volunteering programs that align with their sense of meaningful work, or the range of flexible working options you support. It’s really a matter of listening, understanding what motivates your people, and taking an individual approach.”

4. Create a culture where people can find purpose and meaning

“People want to do interesting things in an inspiring environment,” Farrell says. The nature of the work and the environment itself inspires and motivates your top talent, so it’s important to continually assess the extent to which people are finding a sense of meaning and impact in their role. Celebrate the wins not just as one-off moments, but in terms of how you’ve solved a problem for a client or provided a unique solution by working together.

Through feedback and quality conversations, managers play an important role in aligning individuals with this sense of purpose and performance.

A transparent and flexible learning and development program also helps people feel like they’re continuing to develop their portfolio of experiences to grow their career. This could include informal learning, such as shadowing people to learn more about their role, or vacation cover as a way to stretch their skills. Or it could be the chance to lead a new initiative or mentor others.

5. Keep recalibrating your employment brand

Farrell says one measure of employee experience is the proportion of new hires who join through referrals. “You know it’s good if your people tell their trusted friends and networks this is a great place to work. Almost two in 10 of our hires in Macquarie’s Banking and Financial Services Group are referrals, which is something we’re really proud of.”

A large proportion of roles are also filled by people who already work within Macquarie, “which demonstrates our approach of supporting tailored growth and career experiences is working for people,” says Farrell.

At the other end of the employment cycle, it’s also important to conduct exit interviews, and learn from those as well.

“Talented people have a lot of choice. There are many inspiring, dynamic, flexible work environments available. A great employee experience means your employees talk to people about what it’s like to work with you and the variety of things they can take on,” says Farrell.

Just as customers have more choice than ever, so too do employees. The skills that make them integral to your business success can also be applied across many different industries.

If you can focus on creating the type of employee experience that makes your employees feel as valued as your clients, they’ll be more likely to look within your business for their next career opportunity. And that can make all the difference to your growth strategy’s success.

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