What advice do you have for middle market companies looking to retain and develop their employees?
“Oh Won’t You Stay Just a Little Bit Longer?”
It’s a cliché: “People are our most valuable asset.” But they are. Talent is a scarce, valuable, and hard to replace resource in our low unemployment economy. One where frequent job change is the norm, particularly among Millennials and Gen X. However finding and keeping great talent is hard. This challenge is among managers’ most daunting tasks and one that studies show they don’t give themselves high marks for.
At Aloysius Butler and Clark, where we have a division devoted to recruitment marketing, we focus a lot on the importance of the employer brand. What’s the employer brand? It’s the DNA that makes a company uniquely who it is – leadership, culture, values, attitude, etc. Ours is smarts, creativity, and opportunity combined with transparency and collegiality, and a “be kind not crazy” way of treating each other atypical in the “Mad Men” world of ad agency life.
What does this mean in the context of finding, motivating and keeping talent? Businesses often do a great job of positioning their brand externally, particularly with customers. They forge strong and personal connections, have a deep understanding of customers’ wants and needs, and clearly demonstrate how they can satisfy them.
Unfortunately, this approach often does not translate to internal actions and behaviors. And, it’s ironic because if “people are our most valuable asset” this audience is arguably the most important one to a company’s success.
So how does a business change this paradigm? Commit to two behaviors that on paper sound easy but may necessitate organizational change:
- Synchronize Your Brand
Synchronize your external brand and your employer brand so that they are virtually identical. Bring your best outside strategies “in-house” for the benefit of the culture, morale, and employee engagement and retention.
- Treat Employees Like Your Best Customers
We often ask: “How can I delight my customer?” But how often do we ask: “How can I delight my employee?” Again, change the equation. Make employees’ ambitions, goals, and dreams a top priority. Then develop actionable plans to help them get there. And trumpet this commitment loudly and often.
At AB&C, by embracing this approach we enjoy substantially longer employee retention then is the norm in our industry. And, perhaps not coincidentally, longer client retention. In addition, ABCers are highly invested in the company’s success because they know that theirs and ours are one and the same.
Steve Rosen is a member of the Chamber’s Middle Market Action Team (MMAT), a consortium of leaders driving rapid growth in companies with annual revenues between $10M & $1B through targeted programs and strategies.
One of MMAT’s top priorities is to focus on increased proactive talent planning strategies and visibility of job opportunities within middle market organizations. Learn more at ChamberPHL.com/middlemarket.
Save the Date
Middle Market Networking
Tuesday, June 25 | Yards Brewing Company
Meet middle market decision makers over beers and hors d’oeuvres. This gathering is intended for C-suite employees at middle market companies to build new middle market relationships and strengthen established ones.