With the working population in decline and technology advancing faster than ever, business leaders across the globe are facing the challenge of finding suitably skilled staff from a shrinking talent pool. It’s an ongoing problem and one that market research agencies such as ours know only too well. As data-driven strategies take hold, 80 percent of enterprises are deploying big data projects in 2015, and individuals with the right research and analytical abilities to make sense of all that data are increasingly difficult to find, and even harder to keep. A basic talent management strategy will no longer suffice to attract and retain talent; companies need to create a culture where employee needs come first and inspiration drives exceptional results.
The key is to cultivate an environment of support and encouragement that is infectious — transmitting from management to their teams, and from existing staff to new hires. When a workforce sets its own bar of excellence and strives to achieve it out of personal dedication, success is almost guaranteed. Though it may sound too good to be true, kick-starting a sustainable talent cycle is not as complicated as it may seem. By maintaining the three pillars of workforce fulfilment, companies can foster a self-perpetuating culture of achievement and self-worth.
1. Equal opportunities:
I’m not just talking about gender equality here. Every member of staff must be treated equally, regardless of race, religion, age, disability, or any other barrier or prejudice. We all know this, but how many employees still suffer silently or struggle in a regime that simply doesn’t account for their personal situation? Championing initiatives such as flexible working to assist staff at all levels in balancing their work and personal commitments imbues a sense of equal opportunity. And research indicates that companies scoring highly in gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to outdo industry benchmarks for performance. If all employees are encouraged, and given the opportunity, to move outside of their comfort zone and develop their skillset, anyone can progress. Consequently, there will be more balance in the workplace, and employees across the board will find a role model to aspire to be like.
2. Recognition and development:
For a highly skilled and enthusiastic workforce to flourish, investment and recognition are essential. By identifying skills gaps and offering relevant training or allocating experienced mentors to provide support, staff feel valued and able to achieve more. Taking this one step further, offering secondments gives employees the chance to try out different roles, expand their experience, and have the freedom to grow.
Acknowledging achievement is also crucial to inspire employees to have high standards. An internal system of recognition where employees can nominate each other for accolades creates a unifying sense of accomplishment that satisfies and fuels ambition. And encouraging and enabling employees to apply for industry awards – with the backing and support of their team – is another great motivator for everyone involved.
3. Humanity in the workplace – and beyond:
Employees who are empowered to fulfill their potential will be keen to share their knowledge and energy — and providing them with the means to do so is the final link in the sustainable talent cycle. Sharing their experience and aspirations by taking part in apprenticeship schemes or industry networking groups not only nurtures the next wave of talent, but it galvanises the achievements of the individual.
Fully embracing the human approach to management also requires a flexible attitude to everything from association with industry bodies to community projects. Allowing employees the time they need to make the world a better place by driving industry innovation – or even volunteering as a reserve firefighter – fosters a collaborative team spirit that keeps motivation high and attrition rates low.
By putting these three pillars firmly in place, businesses benefit from a constantly renewing cycle of support, development, and achievement. An environment that enables employees to achieve their professional and personal ambitions is one where talent thrives. A workplace where enthusiasm is palpable also attracts interest from potential new recruits, enhancing the talent pool further with a rich array of ability. The rewards – financial and intrinsic – generated by this sustainable talent cycle are often significant and undoubtedly benefit the individual, the business, the industry, and the wider community. A business that can drive progression, excellence, and accomplishment is an inspiration to all – and cannot fail to succeed.
About Crispin Beale
As joint Chair of the Market Research Society and UK ESOMAR representative, Crispin Beale is a leader in his field. His team at Chime Insight & Engagement Group is actively involved in industry and community activities, and has achieved a wide range of awards in the past year – from industry awards such as Best Field Force, to bronze and silver Stevie Awards for Women in Business. Beale plays an active part in setting the research industry agenda, and is passionate about encouraging young researchers and providing them with vital support. His people-first approach has brought further achievements for Chime — which for the past seven years has enjoyed consecutive year-on-year double-digit growth.