Investing In Your Workforce For Long-Term Results
Some investments made within an organisation won’t show their value as a direct monetary return. In a modern setting, investing in your workforce must be done to create a currency of knowledge. Done effectively, this will show an increasing momentum and growth-oriented attitude in the people who ultimately create success for your organisation.
And this is a huge opportunity too. Your workforce’s effectiveness in 10 or even 20 years greatly depends on how you invest in their knowledge and provide them with growing responsibility. Fulfilment plays a significant part in this. It is what differentiates going to work and wanting to work. Ideally, you are fostering great talent as much as you attract and retain it.
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The price of knowledge
Hendry believes in keeping our practitioners’ knowledge current. Therefore, their approach to work involves continued learning. This agile practice evolves with the changing nature of our buildings, cities and communities.
There are several ways you can make a difference by fostering greater competency in your junior building practitioners. Equally, consider using their knowledge of emerging ideas and agile working approaches to give back to senior practitioners. No profession is immune to innovation and modernisation.
Mentorship and reverse mentorship
Incorporating new and emerging employees into an organisation requires the support of colleagues and a supportive structure to be successful. A 2015 study in the Harvard Business Review surveyed that 84% of employees who undergo formal mentoring become proficient in their roles faster. Further, almost 70% of mentored employees make ‘more effective’ decisions.
Experience is considered the main currency in many workplaces. Still, sometimes this comes at the expense of new ideas from emerging professionals. Additionally, traditional hierarchies often fail to provide room for ‘field level’ talent to provide input. Resulting in an inability to impact the team and the organisation more broadly.
You must directly encourage opportunities to pass on experience and accelerate the development of new staff. But equally, you should let them educate you on subjects in their domain. The expertise of young professionals is frequently overlooked or forgotten.
Experience doesn’t trump all. New cadets and graduates bring a deep knowledge of technologies and digital systems integrated into their learning and daily lives. As a result, young knowledge provides significant ‘reverse mentoring’ and opportunities to influence overall business operations.
It’s a new step in maintaining modern literacy in our organisation as we continue to update the way we work and deliver new services. For example, Hendry’s transition to an end-to-end digital service required that we complete a digital overhaul of internal processes. An area in which the knowledge of younger practitioners was immediately valuable. The results have been clear. The currency of skills and knowledge has been the deciding factor in successfully delivering this change and creating new solutions for our clients through one channel.
Looking at this transition, Hendry’s Head of Operations Craig Humphries commented, ‘As we were incorporating digital technologies to replace old practices, many of the younger employees became involved as both a sort of tech support for their more senior peers and input advisors, providing their views on integration and which technologies are most suitable for our applications. They’ve very much grown up with this in their hands, so it was invaluable to have them involved.’
Every workplace has inescapable and repeated tasks. But we owe it to the development of our cadets to provide equal attention to developing their practical skills in both on-site and internal project work. To employ their knowledge and provide further development. In short, to invest in our workforce.
A 2016 study into workplace trends observed that 56% of workplaces invest more in training as 90% anticipate a growing competition for talent. This data stresses the need to attract and retain talent through continued and supportive development.
Cadet surveyors, for example, may accompany senior surveyors to site visits and inspections, as they will be expected to do in future. Site visits and inspections expose them directly to the complexities of work in the field and greatly enhances their attention to crucial details.
‘With opportunities to attend site inspections, I have been equipped with the ability to identify issues in a practical sense on-site in a way that I otherwise would not have been equipped to do. This process is also providing the responsibility of liaising frequently with clients face to face, an area in which I will become more involved in future.’ – Joel Markovic: Cadet Building Surveyor
Making an impact
How would you show an employee their value to the organisation? First, give them the agency to voice their ideas. Agency might mean inclusion in a meeting or discussing a task or project. Then, if you arrive at a promising idea, allow them to pursue it and detail what it will take to complete it.
Involve other experts within your team to take the core idea and apply their expertise. Next, evaluate the feasibility of the concept and the likelihood of success. Finally, if you press forward with their vision, encourage them and show them how valuable their involvement is to the team.
‘Hendry has provided me with valuable and quality learning experiences that has hugely contributed to my career development. With their resources and mentorship program, I have had the opportunity to work on interesting projects both in the office and out on-site. I feel challenged every day and look forward to coming to work.’ – Linh Hoang: Cadet Building Surveyor
Enabling this diversity of thought ensures your organisation can outperform less diverse organisations by 35%. And as a result, enjoying up to 19% higher revenue, according to McKinsey and the Boston Consulting Group.
Every employee needs a certain time to get up to speed and fully flesh out their competencies in their role. But it is healthy to introduce new challenges to give them autonomy and create, through their discovery, the way a practitioner must think and give attention to their work.
Our structure provides every individual with a mentor above them. No matter where they sit in the organisation. It has been the key to enabling a whole of business transformation and a successful shift towards providing an end-to-end digital service platform for Hendry. This means everyone is responsible for mentoring, which provides terrific working and operational benefits and helps build relationships and strong rapport.
We create smarter, safer, and more sustainable buildings, cities, and communities. Therefore, we must ensure this responsibility doesn’t lie in the hands of the few. Or worse, lose this knowledge of practice and structure once they move on – it’s why we make developing the next generation of practitioners a key priority, as anyone must.