The dynamic between employee and employer has shifted. People are now more selective about who they work for, placing greater importance on purpose and culture. To attract and retain talent, organisations need to be clear about why they exist, and live those values in everything they do.
Employment has changed a lot in the past decade: from the explosion of outsourcing and the demand for flexible working, to the rise of the gig economy and the ‘side hustle’. The traditional concept of an ‘employee’ has become fragmented.
Younger workers with less inclination to settle down place high importance on meaning, purpose and value. They want to find the right ‘cultural fit’, and are willing to move jobs regularly until they find it.
Put your purpose first
As organisations, we therefore have a notably different challenge when it comes to attracting and keeping the best people. We need to show prospective employees what it is we stand for, and make sure those values are visible in the workplace every day.
It’s no longer enough to have a cursory ‘tick-in-the-box’ approach to issues like corporate social responsibility (CSR) and diversity and inclusion (D&I). We need to view them holistically, and live and breathe our values far more transparently to earn people’s trust and loyalty.
Energy attracts talent
Humans have an ingrained desire to be part of something bigger than themselves. We derive satisfaction from being part of a team and working together towards shared goals. It gives us purpose.
Therefore, a working environment where everyone is encouraged to contribute will create energy and enthusiasm. Talented people will be drawn to that energy, and they’ll want to be part of it, day after day.
There’s no quick solution to creating that atmosphere though. It requires an ongoing effort to make teamwork, cohesion and empathy part of the everyday culture. Here are some guiding principles we follow at NTT DATA:
1. Agree a shared goal. Without it, you won’t harness the best of your people. For example, one of our principal values is to put clients first, which acts as an anchor for all of our activities. It’s important to regularly reinforce shared goals like these across the whole business.
2. Embrace difficulty. The best teams are diverse in every sense, actively seeking out a range of opinions. Collaborative working should be challenging and provocative, and allow people to contribute their unique ideas rather than just going along with the majority.
3. Prioritise people, not technology. People work best when they have the devices, tools and software that allow for maximum progress and collaboration. Embrace this ‘bottom-up’ adoption of technology, and ensure any major new systems or platforms are informed by your programme of cultural change.
4. Build clear communication channels. Embrace email and chat streams, but also physical forums where people can interact with peers across the business and with senior leaders. These forums should promote a culture where everyone, regardless of status, is encouraged to share ideas and feedback.
At NTT DATA UK, every member of our leadership team is actively involved in promoting CSR and D&I. Here are some of the initiatives we support in celebration of our diverse workforce:
- International Women’s Day
- The Girl’s Network
- Pride In The City
- World Day for Cultural Diversity
- Japanese Autumn Festival
- Mental Health Awareness Week
Be clear, be consistent
Happy and productive teams are still the engines of growth. But people’s motivations have changed. They want more purpose and meaning from their work, a culture of inclusiveness and an environment with high energy and enthusiasm.
As organisations, we must work hard to be transparent about our values and promote them consistently in everything we do. This will create a workplace where people arrive every day with renewed energy and ambition.
For more on how values and culture contribute to the employee experience, read our whitepaper – and feel free to get in touch with me directly.
Kim Gray, Head of Insurance and Diversity & Inclusion Lead, NTT DATA UK Kim.Gray@nttdata.com