It’s been a great year at Kingston Human Capital.
Now that is possibly the most cliché way to start an end of year article… But it’s true for a number of reasons, mainly because of all that I’ve learnt about changes in the human resourcing industry and what I can utilise in 2019.
On the client side we’ve been fortunate to partner with a number of great organisations, who have engaged our bespoke executive recruitment services. They include Cross River Rail, Container Exchange, Queensland Government, Fringe World and Queensland Music Festival – to name a few.
But rather than go on about us, I thought I’d share some key learnings that I’m personally taking into the new year that might also be insightful for you.
Key lesson 1 – Leadership: Learning continues forever
I know I keep talking about this, but in any company the strength of the leadership team is a key impacter to the outcomes they produce.
Now more than ever, top talent ask about the leadership style of a potential employer. And not just that, they are asking what leadership learnings/training/investment/their future leaders are undertaking. A good question, right? It is because we all want to work for great leaders.
So, how much leadership capability have you trained into your leaders?
Or are you leaving them to just learn on the job?
Some leaders will incorrectly assume that throwing someone in the deep end to figure it out themselves is conducive to a “proactive, self-motivated” type of person, and that person is the right person for the job. In time that may be the case, but your candidates and new starters still want to know what leadership style you are working with to best perform in their roles and how they can work collaboratively with you.
It’s common practice in industry to promote high achievers into leadership roles. They were good at what they did, so they’ll be a great leader right? Sure, for some. But not in my case. When I received my very first promotion, I was crap. And I probably still am crap in some ways. Now is probably the right time to apologise (again) to my first ever team – thank you for graciously standing by me while I was fumbling my way through learning to lead.
Too often we promote a high performer, and then fail to furnish them with leadership skills.
We do this because we often forget that leadership is a subject matter area all unto its own.
It is a combination of
- Leadership skills
- Communication strategy
- Engagement theory,
- Strategy, planning
- Operational execution
As leaders if we are promoted and we are not provided formal leadership training (and a fair bit of it) – who’s to blame? Nope it’s not your employer. It is you. Now wait a moment, hear me out (please).
You’ve become the leader, the accountability now lies with you because you are the leader.
So, if our organisations are not able to provide us with loads of leadership training, it’s up to us to source it for ourselves. And in the highly connected world that we live in today there are so few barriers to accessing great information pertaining to leadership!
The best CEOs, Directors, Managers and Leaders that I have interviewed spend time developing and investing in their leadership skills every single year. This is the cohort that doesn’t hit the “leadership plateau”, they grow as their team grows, and they change as the organisational and businesses environments change around them. And they nail it.
And there are a billion way we can follow their lead. Whether it be;
– Mainlining as many leadership books as you can get your hands on
– Hitting up audible and listening to some of their great reads
– Attending leadership training courses
– Hitting up Udemy
– Watching webinars, podcasts, whatever!
I’ve resolved that continuing to learn and enhance my knowledge about how to lead, and embracing the ever-changing tides of leadership is my obligation, for the rest of my life.
Key lesson 2: Show Me (More Than) The Money!
Top talent is still hard to find. It will always be hard to find. And because it is so hard to find, if you don’t have a solid set of non-financial and financial offerings that benefit your employees you are going to find your job offers being rejected.
This year, we’ve seen some of Australia’s employers of choice introduce incredible and real benefits for their teams. From flexible work from home options to ‘Doona Days’, to the allocation of a personal L & D budget for each team member. So many companies are innovating in this space and yielding great results. Not only is it helping them attract incredible talent, its ensuring loyalty (and increased productivity) in their existing work force.
We’ve been watching some of the best employer’s experiment in this space, and I’m pleased to say that we’ve ‘borrowed their brilliance’ and introduced simple things that are delivering great results:
Doona Days. The reality is, that each year your team get a set number of sick days but what happens if your team member is just run down or perhaps experiencing mental fatigue…. A doona day can help this. It’s a small amount of leave that they can take when they need to recharge. And why not, if it helps them to work at their fastest pace.
A Personal L & D Budget. This year we experimented with allocating a personal L & D budget to each team member. It was their choice on what they could spend it on (subject to approval of course). And this delivered bigger results than I expected.
Our team loved that the decision was theirs. They were 100% committed. The only criteria was that it must receive the manager’s approval. Secondly, the employee must present their learnings to their team within 30 days of completing their training of choice
Sure, if you implement this in your company, you are going to have a few curly conversations such as:
“Thank you for submitting that request Jane, help me understand, how does learning the base guitar cross over to what we do in Accounting?” and “Thank you for asking, but no, you can’t have your L & D budget paid out in cash”.
But, when set up right, this initiative can be remarkable, and is a learning curve across every platform. By the way, this was not our idea, we ‘borrowed’ this one from Basecamp.
‘Since introducing this we’ve seen incredible employee engagement and great skill advancement from our people.’
Key lesson 3. Your Human Capital, (your people) are still your most valuable asset
You can have the best technology and the most amazing strategic plan, but if you don’t have the right human capital to deliver it, your results will be vanilla at best.
Your team, and how you lead them, is the difference between amazing and average outcomes. It is up to us as leaders to attract, develop, retain and grow great teams.
I hope you’ve learnt just as much as I have this past year and are armed with all the right tools to excel your business in 2019! I’d like to personally thank you for all of your support in 2018. As a Queensland owned and operated business, we wouldn’t be where we are today without you. Thank you!
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