Are you the founder of a successful SME or family business? Do you have children just starting out in the world of work, who’ve grown up with smartphones, social media and Amazon levels of personalised service? Would they consider working for your company?

If your ways of working are dated, you’re going to struggle to attract and retain new talent. If you can’t convince your own flesh and blood to join your company, then something needs to change…

You have an established business with loyal employees

Many of your employees have been with you for years – some since the very beginning. Your business is like a family and this tightness and loyalty has been a real strength over the years. 

As your business has grown, your people have grown with it. One of the things you’re proudest of is seeing people develop. Sally started out as an account executive processing orders and now she heads up your sales function, managing a team of 10 who are responsible for winning new business and managing all your customer accounts. 

You don’t know where you’d be without the dedication of your longstanding employees.

But recently you’ve been struggling to attract and retain new talent… 

People are attracted to your history and your story. They like the family feel in the company and you work hard to convey the exciting new business opportunities that you’re pursuing. 

Sometimes this is enough to convince someone new to join your team. And when they do, things usually start well – people are friendly and welcoming and make them feel part of the family. However, it doesn’t take long before they start airing frustrations with the way things work.

Generation Z (those born after 1995) are used to a fast pace, taking action, learning through doing, finding answers quickly and getting constant feedback. They’re self-directed, entrepreneurial-minded and resourceful – a product of the world they’ve grown up in. 

Faced with a workplace that runs on email and long term relationships, and where answers to their questions reside in the heads of a few key colleagues rather than being available at the click of a button – these new employees struggle to know how to make their mark. They have ideas they want to test, they want to contribute and bring value into the business… but they’re finding it difficult to navigate an alien world that feels stuck in the past.

And it’s not just Gen Z whose expectations of work have changed. Where once businesses looked to their senior leaders with the most experience to solve their most complex challenges, now they’re agile. They gather insight from their customers to explore what products and services they should develop and to learn what’s working. They’re data driven, regularly inspecting and reviewing what they’ve delivered so they can adjust the path forward if necessary. They work in cross-functional teams, drawing on a broad range of skills and expertise to come up with the most innovative solutions.

If you’ve been paying attention you’ll have noticed that the future of work is already here… it’s just not evenly distributed. If you’re not creating a culture that can attract and retain new talent, don’t be surprised when your people start to leave you. 

So ask yourself – would your kid come to work for your company?

The future of work is already here… it’s just not evenly distributed. Your culture should be a source of competitive advantage. If you ignore it, don’t be surprised when you can’t attract and retain new talent.

What if you could become the place where everyone wants to work…

Imagine a workplace that’s vibrant, where people are happy and enjoy spending time together. 

While big companies may have the resources to pay for fancy office space, to offer gym membership for all and to hire the hottest new band to perform at the staff Christmas party, you have the opportunity to create employee experiences that are personal.

Imagine creating a culture where everyone feels listened to, where anyone can share an idea and has the autonomy to see it through. Rather than laying out people’s career path for them, you support people to curate their own journey and provide an environment in which learning and growth are celebrated and where everyone can do their best work. 

You don’t have to be big to be innovative. Whatever your size you can create an amazing culture and employee experience. You can pioneer new management practices and ways of working that set you apart from your bigger rivals.

You don’t have to be big to be innovative and to create an amazing culture and employee experience.

Then you need to change your company culture

When it comes to culture the things we tend to notice are the showy aspects – the funky offices, the free drinks and snacks, the state of the art technology. But don’t be tempted to copy the obvious examples of ‘culture’ in bigger companies. It’s easy to ruin a business by introducing the wrong new idea or by doing it poorly. 

To create a culture that can become a source of competitive advantage you need to approach it through the lens of your people operating system (peopleOS). And if you really want to be a pioneer, have the confidence to create a culture that’s authentic and that reflects the personality of your brand.

A peopleOS is the system a company creates to manage its people effectively. It provides a route to designing and building culture in a way that makes your people happier, delivers better customer experiences and improves your business performance. 

As you look to change your culture, rather than introducing a series of individual initiatives copied from bigger companies who’ve invested in culture ‘stuff’, you want to design and build a peopleOS that flows. You want to find a way of engaging people in your business that’s coherent with the ways of working that enable you to execute on your strategy and deliver for your customers. These should also align with how you explore where your next wave of growth will come from. 

If you think you need to change the culture of your business, start by taking our diagnostic survey to understand which areas of your peopleOS need your attention most. 

Click here to take our peopleOS diagnostic survey.