Making your business shine - to the right people

Written by
Changeboard Team

28 Sep 2011

28 Sep 2011 • by Changeboard Team

Inspired employees

Surely every business owner wants to gain success, generate healthy profits and have a workforce which is not only engaged, but highly self-motivated-with optimal labour turnover and high employee engagement levels. This is why it continues to surprise me that many businesses fail to see the importance of really creating a great place to work; with the right talented people, in the right roles delivering innovations and high levels of service, working to their potential – in a happy and inspired way.

It’s not that organisations don’t recognise that getting the ‘people stuff’ right is the key to achieving objectives; in fact our latest research has shown that 100% of business leaders say you need a people plan, 90% are convinced people create a competitive advantage and 98% say developing people is vital. The issue lies with the gap when it comes to actually delivering the ‘people stuff’ required to harness the power of individuals to help deliver business success and growth.

And this is why we wrote ‘Purple your People’. The book walks through the entire employee lifecycle, explaining each stage simply; offering of plenty of practical tips and best practice case studies to help businesses become more people-centric. That is putting people and their development at the heart of the organisation in order to create an entire workforce of inspired, happy and more profitable people – improving the reputation, brand and value of the organisation.

Visions, missions, values & all of that

The book begins by focusing on visions, missions and values. While some, more entrepreneurial growth businesses often dismiss this as ‘corporate speak’, it doesn’t have to be. What is vital though is to define the culture of the business – how we do things around here. This is why before we begin any programme with clients, we make sure that they have, at the very least, a clear vision and set of core values which can be translated into any business strategy or people programme. These are the backbone of an organisation and therefore it is essential that every single member and potential team member can easily understand what you’re all about; what you stand for; and where you are going and what the non-negotiables are. This is where many growing buisnesses fall down – in the early years the culture radiates form the founders, somehow permeating by osmosis. Then there is growth and everything becomes somehow diluted.

These definitions certainly don’t have to be long and lengthy, in fact at learnpurple our vision and mission statement is just one word – transformation. Keep it simple; do you really expect an A3 plaque on the wall to be read and remembered? Make it memorable, the same goes for values. Use a mnemonic or acronym. Just make sure it is consistent throughout the entire organisation.

Once you have a clear set of values and a vision statement it’s critical to talk about your values all the time. At interview, induction, company meetings, reference in decisions and use throughout the way you operate. Only by this can you truly have an organisation that lives and breathes its values day in, day out.

Reputation: making yours great

Before the internet, employer reputation wasn’t a big priority. Who would actually know that what the job advert or interviewer promised wasn’t actually the reality? Now, any job seekers can, at the click of a button, find out from their networks, internet forums and social networks what it really is like to work for your business.

This is why focus must now, more than ever, be placed on the employee value proposition (or as we say, the ‘people promise’, because we’re not keen on corporate speak either). Ensuring that what you say you are and do as an employer is the truth. This covers everything from the employee’s experience, the company mission and values through to leadership, culture and benefits.

Purple your People includes a list of ways to help you shape your people promise and the types of things you could include. This is not a one-off exercise however and should be continually refined and improved each year so it reflects what is actually happening within the business. Start simple and evolve. The important thing to remember is real effort should be put into managing employer reputation – if you wouldn’t be comfortable with the way you lead and deal with your people being reported on the front page of a national newspaper, or as part of an undercover reality TV programme, then you are right to be making changes.

Becoming a people magnet

Attracting talent that fits

As your reputation as a great employer increases, you will start receiving unsolicited job applications from really talented people who are enthusiastic about joining you (and we know this is the case from many of our clients, including the Sunday Times Top 100 best places to work organisation, eleventh placing Lexington Catering).

In the meantime however, to ensure you are attracting the right people while saving time and money, it’s important to think about how you are recruiting. Unsuitable applications are often as a result of an unclear job advert. So first, and this may sound basic, define what you actually need. Write a clear job description which lists key responsibilities; what that person is actually there to do. Include ideals and must haves and review your existing workforce – is there anyone who has the skills already, or with a little development could easily fill this role?

If in this instance you must seek an external candidate, next write a very clear job advert which focuses on primarily on your people promise rather than a one way ‘You are expected to…’ you’re trying to engage them after all.  Make clear your expectations though in terms of job needs and responsibilities, and be sure to reflect your culture and values.

Here is our favourite tip –ask candidates for only a one page CV and ten bullet points as to why the applicant is perfect for the role. Not only does this help the sifting process (for those who can’t be bothered to follow instructions, condense their CV or write really good bullet points you can immediately dismiss their application), it is also very telling, showing you whether a candidate ‘gets’ you as an organisation and would thrive in your environment.

Hear the podcast

Tips on creating a team environment.