Over the past several weeks, we’ve been having a lot of conversations with business owners who are struggling with employee recruitment, retention, management talent, and the impacts of these on growth and scalability.
Building a strong foundation has never been more critical than in these economic times of rapid change, a pandemic that never ends, supply chain shortages, increasing costs across all goods and services, and work force shortages.
A quote I recently read from Simon Sinek states, “Average companies give their people something to work on. Great companies give their people something to work toward.”
During our bi-weekly huddle, I asked our team how they thought we are doing in this area. It opened some great discussion of both positive momentum and areas to work on. To share some of that feedback, our team feels we have a clear vision and goals, along with a clear purpose. An area of focus is ensuring we are creating more of those consistent opportunities for our consultants to drive impact with our clients, and within our own organization to build depth and scalability. As an owner, I felt good knowing that our purpose is clear, and our values solidly drive our actions. But we’re not perfect!
As a leader in your organization, you set the tone and determine the cadence around culture and values. Not by what you say, but by what you do. In my opinion, this is the most difficult job of a leader and business owner.
Some consistent themes that are coming up regularly in conversations with clients and prospective clients include:
With the labor shortages, the availability of experienced talent that can come in and hit the ground running is limited and/or non-existent.
Many organizations don’t have a clear vision, purpose, and values that are the foundation with which people are hired, expectations are set, and accountabilities are adhered to.
Leadership is a skill that needs to be developed and nurtured. Having a strong skill set in the work you do doesn’t equate to being a good leader.
An expectation that because you told an employee how to do something “once,” they should know how to do it.
The training and development are weak, and we need to accelerate this curve.
These themes are foundational to culture and values. Understanding your current culture is a starting point to creating the culture you want moving forward.
Do you know the skill sets of your team?
Do you have clear values with stated behavioral expectations that you hire, develop, and fire based on?
Are you investing in your team to develop the skill sets needed to lead?
Have you created clear strategy, processes, and rhythm to your business so that everyone knows what is expected, how work gets done, and how communication flows?
Back to my earlier statement, culture is hard! It’s not a one and done! It’s not someone else’s job! It’s an investment of time, energy, and dollars to consistently create an environment that not only attracts people to your organization but also develops them and engages them to grow, build, and drive your results.
Because culture can feel intangible, and changing or impacting a culture takes time, many business owners go after the symptom not the root cause of their issues because it appears easier. However, there are millions of dollars spent on those symptoms without any results. Some statistics that justify the “why” focus on culture:
Attract and keep top talent – Some studies show it costs six to nine months’ salary on average every time a business replaces a salaried employee. High staff turnover is not only expensive, but it lowers staff morale and can make the job harder on those who remain.
Improved productivity – Statistics show that companies with engaged employees outperform those without by 202%.
Employees become advocates – According to the National Business Research Institute, a 12% increase in brand advocacy generates a 2x increase in revenue growth.
You differentiate yourself in the marketplace – Creating a strong, winning culture leads to better branding. A positive, thriving company culture can become a key point of differentiation for your business.
Healthy team – A study shows that workplace stress was responsible for up to $190 billion dollars in U.S. healthcare costs. Happy, healthy employees make for a happy and healthy business.
Opportunities exist to grow your business! Focusing on your people, culture, and values will not only support that growth, but allow you to have fun in the process!
Jayne McQuillan, CPA, MBA, Certified Exit Planning Advisor (CEPA) is the owner of Journey Consulting, LLC
Our firm is focused on providing business owners and their businesses with strategic planning, exit planning, financial expertise, and organizational improvement. We use a holistic approach within all of our services by aligning leadership with business strategy and outcomes.
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