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Blog : The Gap on the High Street


The Gap on the High Street

By Todd Bridgland,  Support Coordinator - talent toolbox

Thursday 8th September was a momentous day for learnpurple as it was not only our 10th birthday; we also launched our new book, Purple your People, written by CEO, Jane Sunley. To celebrate these special occasions we headed to the fantastic Haymarket Hotel where we took the opportunity to thank those who had supported us during our ten years in business.

As one of the newer ‘Purple People’ I quickly became aware of the strong relationships we have with our clients and how this, amongst many other reasons, makes working for learnpurple great. I then thought back to the experience I had in one of my first jobs and realised I felt completely the opposite in every single way.

After my A-Levels I took a gap year where I worked for a famous high street chain to fund an around the world trip.  This store has since gone into administration; however to this day I have not forgotten my experience of working there – sadly for the wrong reasons.

One of this organisation’s biggest issues was that  it didn’t pay enough attention to the individuals it employed. People make or break a business and therefore, combined with investment and ideas, are a key component of business success. We strongly believe that organisations should practice a people-centric approach. This is placing their people and development at the centre of the business, considering them in every strategy which is formed.  For this high street store, taking this sort of approach and adopting a few small and simple steps could have made a significant improvement on the way it was viewed by it employees as well as to the bottom line:

1. Appreciate your people

Your people are the heart of the organisation and therefore should be made to feel so. This isn’t all about money, although they should be paid fairly for the job they are carrying out, it’s also about recognition and development opportunities. Make your people feel valued and they will be more committed to doing what it takes to help the business succeed.

2. Be proud about your business

During my time at the high street store, I never felt proud to work there. Part of the reason for this there was no combined sense of ‘where are we going’ or ‘what are we here’ for. All businesses should have clear values and a vision which is communicated regularly and all employees encouraged to live and breathe them in everything that they do. Leaders should also ‘walk the talk’. By doing so morale and spirits will be boosted and people will be proud to talk about what a great place 'X' is to work for.

3. Recognise good work

One of the key contributors of employee engagement is recognition of a job well done. Some people think this means incentives or monetary rewards, however it is often much more simple than that. A thank you card or even a thanks by e-mail, can go a long way and make an individual feel that they and their work are valued by their employer. Consider individual likes / dislikes when offering praise – an external person will be happy for a stand around, everyone clap kind of thank you, whereas a more internal person may be happier with a less flamboyant method of expressing gratitiude.
4. Develop your people for the future

Our original research discovered that learning and development is one of the top five motivators of employees. If you are not meeting that need then it is highly likely retention levels are low and engagement could be vastly improved. Find out what your people aspire to and what skills they need to get there -this can even be done through automated talent software such as our talent toolbox system. Then you can clearly identify what each individual development need is and do your utmost to satisfy.

By taking this approach you encourage individuals to drive their own progress whilst also showing that you, as their employer, care about their future and development.

It also puts you firmly on the path to being people-centric.

Do you have a people strategy? Do you aspire to be people-centric?

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