The last bastion of differentiation in the fight for mind share and market share for a business is its PEOPLE. Yet hiring, retaining and motivating the best talent is no easy task in an age where loyalty to one job for life, or even five years, is starting to sound prehistoric. So what are the tactics to set your company ahead of the competition in this talent war that is set to be with us for the long haul?
Not all companies have a multi-million pound turnover, significant start-up capital, state of the art technology, or well known brand or reputation. To win market share you need a differentiated angle that is not hinged on what your company can afford. That angle should be PEOPLE POWER. Developing a company culture that will help attract, retain and motivate the best employees to achieve amazing results is essential.
Companies constantly strive to find effective tactics to attract top talent. Some of these can be easily implemented regardless of whether you are a small business or a giant conglomerate.
Here are five ‘people power’ tactics:
1. Remove Rigid Job Descriptions: The days of drawing up rigid job descriptions are over. People want variety, flexibility and a sense of self-determination in their work. Instead, give your staff a constantly evolving set of projects (tasks that have an end) and prototypes (tasks that are ongoing). Those who produce the best outputs gain more responsibility and can literally be promoted monthly. And conversely you can quickly trim back the projects or prototype responsibilities of those who aren’t delivering.
2. Internal Promotions: Gain a reputation for backing people who already work within your organisation. This builds a loyal and committed staff culture, which ensures people hit the ground running when promoted rather than taking time to find their feet. When their peers see them being recognised, they tend to put in more effort to ensure they would be next.
3. Keep Score: People want to be involved in the success of the company, yet profit or share price is often demotivating or out of the control of the average employee. Instead, develop a magic metric – the one figure that dictates ultimate success (e.g. % of time in the opposition half for a soccer team, or number of property listings for a real estate firm). This narrow focus ensures you celebrate success and sets milestones that will help your people play the game of business to win.
4. Openly Communicate: As leaders we often assume people know what is going on because an email was sent, or we assume they don’t need to or want to know some of the big picture strategies we are working on. To engage and inspire your workforce you need to communicate with them regularly across different media. One idea is having a staff get together once a week across all departments to share stories, wins or humorous happenings and every quarter holding a ‘company huddle’ for everyone on staff to communicate the focus for the upcoming 90 days.
5. Empowerment: Let go of your 1980’s inspired micro-management techniques and instead start to trust your people to make better decisions than you. This includes giving them flexible working conditions, progressive financial approval limits and implementing a decision-making methodology allowing people to make good decisions with confidence.
If you take these simple steps as a starting point then you are on your way to being competitive for the best talent in the marketplace.
“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often”.
(ref: Creel Price)