The bigger strategic picture: Creating a cultural vision in business
With a new year upon us, businesses can now focus on new beginnings and progression from the year just passed.
The technology Channel industry is no different, with lessons learned from 2021 and post-COVID life influencing how it approaches its next chapter, viewing things from a people perspective and supporting business growth coming out on top. In this article, Chief People Officer at Agilitas, Bev Markland reflects on what businesses should be doing to ensure best practice in 2022 and beyond.
Bev Markland, Chief People Officer, Agilitas
Recruitment has been a challenge across many sectors, with new demands and expectations meaning that Channel businesses need to be more flexible, diverse and innovative than ever to both attract and retain people.
Having a people strategy in place is about taking companies forward with a more sophisticated people-driven focus, removing some of the historical factors that don’t fit into today’s culture and implementing other benefits that people now expect from their work life, which is very different from how it was even two years ago pre-pandemic.
Hiring and retaining talent
To maximise diversity, Channel businesses are now seeking new talent through visiting universities, looking extensively at apprenticeships, and promoting from within as part of succession planning. This means supporting those usually aged 18 to 25 to progress to more senior roles so that they become part of the company’s future. Recruiting is now done very differently, so onboarding, internal training and learning and development all need to reflect this shift. By working this way, Channel businesses are welcoming people outside of the pool of usual interviewees that would have been targeted two to three years ago.
It’s important to ensure all these benefits also apply to the current team to make sure that companies are doing all they can to retain future talent. In addition to this, reviewing company benefits is also an expectation, with examples including family-friendly benefits, the formal hybrid model of working and, in some cases, increased annual leave. By feeling valued and part of the organisation’s journey, employees understand what the bigger picture is and how a future in the industry could look. The new landscape also has people attracted to what a company stands for in terms of its behaviour and beliefs. This alignment is going to become increasingly important when reviewing retention and loyalty influencers.
The cultural vision
Channel businesses, like many others, are expected to provide a cultural vision that is in line with the ethos they preach. This means incorporating core values, the size of the company, where they want to be in two, three and five years and recognising their locations.
Employees in different roles all want and need different things. For example, warehouse staff rely on being on-site, while there will be other team members that might never set foot in the office. What has been learned in the wake of the pandemic is that there has been a need to go back in order to move forward, with the employee now having more of a voice than they ever did. To find a balance, the industry needs to find a way to accommodate that voice and to what level.
After so much time in isolation, it’s important to prevent companies from operating in silos. It’s become very easy, especially when working remotely, to overlook the different needs team members will have. This can be helped by bringing together team leaders and supervisors who have never met before in order to upskill, coach and develop them and make sure they feel heard and supported. The workplace has evolved, and employees today won’t stay in a business if they feel unappreciated or unaligned. Other advancements include offering mental health services, such as mental health first aiders, while continuously looking at new initiatives that align with the changing landscape of tomorrow’s business.
By taking on new talent who can provide fresh eyes in a Channel business, the company can look to implement innovative ways of working, different experiences and new perspectives for more solutions-based ideas.
2021 saw the Channel industry advance on what it learned in 2020, with a more diverse range of people from the ages of 16 up to 65 now bringing a wealth of perspectives to the fore. Encouragingly, we are also seeing more women join the tech industry than ever before, dispelling gender stereotypes and creating more diversity and inclusion at both a senior and grass-roots level. The average age within a business has now fallen from 40 to 29, which provides a huge opportunity for the industry to develop and grow.
Retention is a big challenge, and employees will no longer stay where they are not valued. Through being supported, understood and welcomed, Channel businesses have the opportunity to bolster their workforces with diverse and talented individuals who bring with them fresh ideas and experience. Making time for team members either via HR or their manager ensures loyalty and relationships are built, not only on a professional level but on a personal one, which leads to happiness, productivity and ambition in the years to come.
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