Focus on employee growth can result in business growth

The world of work is shifting its focus from the organisation to the individual. Those organisations that keep their talent are those that pay as much attention to the employee value proposition as they do to their customer value propositions.
They recognise that empowering, guiding and nurturing their employees enables them to improve productivity and performance.

In the past, engagement with the employee was usually on the enterprise’s terms. Today that dynamic has fundamentally changed and it is the talented employee who is increasingly gaining control of their career and who they may want to work for. If organisations want to acquire, engage and retain employees with the skills they need to succeed, they have to create more flexible and empowering people practices that encourage employees to take charge of their own productivity and career growth.

Lifelong employment following an organisation’s predetermined career path is long gone. A manager is no longer the only person who drives the career of those who work for them. Now, employees are making the choices and they have the power to choose which organisation they want to work for (or with) based on the best opportunities and pathways to growth on offer.

The employee thus determines the course of their career and can walk away from the manager and business that doesn’t recognise or support their unique needs. Organisations can benefit from this change by relinquishing control-focused practices and making the tools employees need to make informed decisions about their performance, development and growth easily available.

Addressing the challenges

The biggest challenge in today’s labour market is not only a lack of job opportunities but there is a critical lack of the skills and experience that most organisations require for sustainable success. This is not exclusive to South Africa, a country with marked unemployment issues. Battling to find people with the right skill sets is a global phenomenon.

If your business is not paying attention to the unique needs of employees who have the limited skill sets your business needs, you won’t attract, retain and engage the best talent. The organisation that wants to fill critical positions and hold on to its top performing talent has to appreciate each and every employee as an individual and provide effective solutions for their engagement and growth.

Reward professionals can play an important role in an organisation’s efforts to empower its talent. Developing and implementing flexible reward offerings that include current and future focused development, recognition for great achievements and flexible work arrangements that fit the unique profile and personality of different employees is important. This means reward practices and career paths should be designed to empower employees through choice and variety whilst being compliant with the different labour regulations that apply. Communicating these options and delivering on the promised employee value proposition is critical in ensuring that this value is experienced and optimised to drive employee engagement and productivity.

Lindiwe Sebesho is the President and Marie-Claire Mclachlan is the Executive Committee Member at South African Reward Association (SARA).

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