Evolving business by putting people first

Evolving business by putting people first

Investing in a business model that puts your employees first means that you are more likely to retain talent. This involves building a culture and workplace that attracts and retains the workforce, including corporate social responsibility initiatives (CSR) − which includes diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) − volunteering and sustainability work, as well as other investment in employees. Eric Olmo, Senior Vice President for People and Spaces at BMC, explains what companies can do to keep talent.

Among the many global challenges brought on by the pandemic, one that has triggered a lasting shift for employers is the mass exodus of the workforce from many companies, dubbed among other names, the Great Reshuffle. This Great Reshuffle has resulted in a record number of workers making choices about their futures and seeking opportunities that better match what they want from their lives. In fact, according to research from Statista, Q2 2022 saw the highest number of UK resignations taking place in a single quarter since 2001. This, in combination with the current economic climate, means employers must evolve how they attract and retain talent.

The importance of DEI

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, which includes diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), volunteering and sustainability work, have gained significant importance in recent years. In fact, a survey from Culture Amp has found that 81% of companies believe that engaging in DEI initiatives is beneficial for their business, with 85% already building a diverse and inclusive culture. Not only is DEI important for innovation and collaboration, but it also has the potential to increase sales revenue, customer base and overall profits for the business. According to a study from McKinsey, highly diverse businesses were 36% more profitable than competitors with low diversity.

As organisations across the globe commit to becoming an employer of choice more than ever before, there is an increasing focus on initiatives and recognitions that amplify their on-going efforts to build a culture and workplace that attracts and retains a broader workforce. An example of this is the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index, which is a benchmarking tool on corporate policies, practices and benefits pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) employees.

Becoming an employer of choice

One of the ways organisations can attract and retain talent is by establishing employee resource groups. These groups provide community and promote a more equitable and inclusive workplace. Initiatives such as these give employees the opportunity to share their insights and help expand cultural awareness throughout the organisation. Ultimately, the impact is to advance a more inclusive company culture where all employees – regardless of gender identity, ethnicity or background – feel welcomed and accepted.

Another way for enterprises to become more appealing is by establishing volunteer programmes which contribute to communities in meaningful ways, by advancing digital literacy, digital interventions and technological equity. With McKinsey noting that many employees are seeking a sense of purpose amid the Great Reshuffle, companies supporting employees to positively impact the communities that matter to them are increasingly attractive to talent.

Taking care of employees is another essential component for any successful business. Doing this involves targeting various areas, such as comprehensive physical, emotional and financial well-being benefits, short-term financial assistance for employees who have been impacted by a natural disaster, family emergency or an unexpected event, and resources to help their people continue their personal and professional development. Building a better workforce in a post pandemic world means investing in learning resources which provide free, virtual, on-demand coursework to help grow needed and desired skillsets.

Prioritising sustainability

Sustainability is defined across three dimensions: social, economic and environmental. As businesses continue to adapt their operational models for post-pandemic planning, stakeholders are looking for commitments to environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives. This is becoming more important for all stakeholders, from customers to present and future employees.

Sustainability is a growing focus area for business leaders to continue dedicating resources. In fact, according to research from Deloitte, approximately two-thirds of executives agree that their companies are very concerned about climate change and 79% see the world at a climate change tipping point. Business leaders are addressing the environmental impact of their aspect of their organisation more than ever before, often in the form of partnerships and internal sustainability policies. For example, environmental organisations such as Reforest’Action, One Tree Planted, as well as initiatives such as Ocean Conservancy to remove debris from the world’s waterways. Companies are increasingly looking outwards and embracing such partnerships to demonstrate an additional, proactive commitment to sustainability.

As the world continues to undergo societal change with the on-going economic uncertainties and skills shortages, businesses in the UK and beyond must not lose sight of the importance of their people. To become an employer of choice which attracts and retains the best talent available, companies must take the necessary steps.

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