Employees no longer serve the company. The company serves them.
Employees no longer serve the company. The company serves them.I am old enough to remember a time when jobs were thin on the ground and if youwanted a career in design, you either hired yourself or travelled abroad in search of work.
I chose the former and naively set up as a ‘design management’ consultancy. Now there’s a mouthful! Nearly 30 years on, while I still work for myself, and have build up team of 15 individuals all with backgrounds in either marketing or design, and all who have theirown needs and ambitions. As the owner of the company I see it as my responsibility to ensure everyone’s individual needs are met and the company does it best to accommodate their different lifestyle choices.
To this end, the company tries to serve the employees. The company serves our needs practically, as it pays our wages and gives us aplace to work. But it also serves us intellectually as we seek to work on assignments that challenge us, inspire us and motivate us. Companies that don’t challenge themind are in danger of losing talent as it search for a more rewarding workingenvironment elsewhere.Increasingly the company serves our social conscience too and our sense ofcommunity. We want to work for companies that have values and believes, ideally collectively arrived at and not just those of the owner. We want to use our skillsproductively, in our case creative problem solving, for good causes and the localcommunity initiatives where we can see we have made a difference. We currently have two pro-bono clients we chose as a team to work with. Yes the client will always be king.
They pay the wages. The creative work we deliverfor them each day demands everyone’s attention. But with our busy and pressurised lifestyles, it means we can’t be all together all of the time. We have had to become smart at how work and more importantly how we communicate. In a professionalservice business, communication within the company is critical.
To this end, we protect Monday as our day to meet, to catch up and to plan the week. For the rest ofthe week we’re mobile, meeting clients, chasing new ones and getting in harms way! Without the developments in mobile technology this would still be possible but not asnearly as productive!To attract and retain talent, at any level in the company, you need to recognise thateveryone has different needs.
From starting early to finishing late, from five day tothree day weeks, from last minute days off to be with visiting friends to half days to watch kids matches, the modern company needs to cater for all sorts and allsituations. To refuse to adapt you run the risk of loosing an emotional connectionwith your team and encouraging them to seek work elsewhere.
As any small business owner will tell you, staff retention is everything. Reducing thechurn in staff turnover and maintaining a consistent presence in the business is soimportant to retaining customer loyalty and moral within the business itself. While technology has enabled our business to be more efficient in how we express ourcreativity, it has also created time pressure for us to deliver more speedily. If we don’t someone else will.
To buy more time, I find myself asking clients “do you want our first idea or our best idea? I can guarantee they will be the same! You decide what isgood enough for you now…” If managing everyone personal expectations wasn’t enough now add into the mixthat we are multicultural team drawn from Europe, South America, North America,Africa and Asia! How did that happen?!
And we represent all sectors of society namely single, married, LGBT, baby boomers, millennials and generation X!
But wewouldn’t have it any other way and this diversity runs as a rich vein throughly ourcreative work.To work in the creative sector is a vocation and is not for everyone. Putting yourcreative ideas up for acceptance or rejection is a daily practice and not for the fainthearted. To nurture talent on this emotional rollercoaster you need to understandeveryone’s needs to insure they keep striving to achieve for they betterment and thatof the company too. In this demanding emotional environment the least a companycan do is to seek to serve its employees.