The combination of a highly mobile workforce and the adoption of clever alternative and remote working arrangements by many of the world's best companies makes the battle for talent tremendously intense. Sure, many firms have embraced the "romper room" styled work settings made popular by Silicon Valley darlings. But, juice bars and skateboard parks don't necessarily guarantee that you will become an employer of choice. So, what can you do to become more of a talent magnet?
While certainly modest and less than foolproof, I recommend to my clients that they create a work environment that offers these 8 essential cultural elements as a means to get started:
1. Articulation of Visionary Strategic Direction: You must be able to tell a compelling and engaging story - one that people can buy into and see themselves being successful working within.
2. Senior Management Access: Sounds simple, but, not every firm enables that kind of executive access. If you want to have the 'right" people that you want to work for you, providing access can be crucial.
3. Fairness of Rules and Operating Procedures: People want to place trust in their employer and being fair and enforcing the rules goes a long way to establish a foundation of trust in the workplace.
4. Skills / Career Development: Help your people to become all that they can be and you'll have an employee that is dedicated and committed to achieving the vision of the firm.
5. Empowerment / Decision-making Independence: Once your team prepared and has what it takes to do what is needed for the success of the business, you best empower them. Micromanaging only serves to alienate the best and brightest.
6. Varied and Challenging Work Assignments: With an empowered and ready workforce, you have the latitude needed to make the work interesting. If you do that your people will want to do it. Stated another way, change things up and you'll keep their interest.
7. Employee Recognition: I'm not talking about giving them a trophy just because they came to work and did their job. But, you absolutely must recognize and celebrate exceptional performance. Otherwise, people will not continue to try their best to exceed expectations
8. Work-Family Balance Policies: It can't be about work 24/7. A balance is needed. You need to look at establishing polices that enable your people to keep a balance in their lives so that they can do their best when on the job.
To close, the ways in which you choose to put these elements into place is situational. Work setting, business location and the nature of the work itself all have an effect on how a business institutes the concepts to make the greatest impact. Job rotation programs, in-house child day care, flextime, tuition reimbursement, mentoring, stock option rewards, and the like, are quickly becoming standard fare for companies wishing to be employers of choice. Certainly, these kinds of programs can forge the foundation of what I'm suggesting. But, more deliberate effort is still required to establish a work setting that is rich in trust and possesses a highly informed staff - one that understands the vision and is prepared to be empowered to achieve it.
Indeed, to become a talent magnet, you must be purposeful in crafting a culture that exhibits all 8 of these characteristics. Please reach out to me directly to discuss them further.