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Lisa Winnard: How to keep your best advisers happy

As HR director, a significant proportion of my job is focused on ensuring we have the right culture with the right people in the right roles. This helps us to deliver our business objectives and ensure it is always fit and ready for the future.

Analytics experts Gallup tracks a range of employment, leadership, performance and wellbeing issues across the globe. A recent report on the state of work highlighted how company culture and professional growth are left wanting, with just 13 per cent of the current workforce worldwide fully engaged. Getting company culture right is critical to the performance of a business.

These are challenging times for HR teams, with a candidate-led market that means new talent is hard to find. It is far easier to focus on keeping the people you have.

This means looking at innovative ways to retain and sharpen the skills of your people. For any leadership and HR team, retention activity is key to ensuring a business is able to keep employees motivated and focused to contribute to productivity and overall performance. However, having an effective retention and talent development strategy is not always straightforward. Trying to ensure you provide a culture and environment for all your employees to thrive takes a great deal of thought and planning to get right.

It means having strategies in place which engage all your people, who all have different wants, needs and ideas of what it means to them.

It is also about looking at the different cultures that may exist within your business. Take, for example, our team in India, whose views and wants need to be met so they can thrive within our broader culture.

A business’ engagement and development agenda should always be busy, because this important work never stops. In our company, this includes hosting roundtables, which we call Think Benches, to obtain people’s views on important topics and business challenges.

It also extends to running management development programmes and setting regular challenges for our talent groups and leaders to think and do things differently. The output helps over 90 per cent of our people to feel fully engaged in their work.

So here are my top five tips for leaders to consider:

  • Provide your employees with an environment in which they can grow, whether it is on the job, space to develop or initiatives which stretch them by broadening their thinking and activity
  • Ensure your employees have the right tools to do their job efficiently and the tools to enable them to initiate change
  • Create a learning culture, where everyone is encouraged to learn from mistakes. Encourage a feedback culture where employees use this to continuously improve and do things differently, or not, if something works well
  • Celebrate success, recognise the great work your people do, encourage peer to peer recognition and ensure your rewards and benefits are aligned to success
  • Ask your employees, measure engagement and continually act on feedback to improve their working life.

 Lisa Winnard is HR and business services director at Sesame Bankhall Group

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