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How To Survive the Great Resignation and Build a Better Culture for Your Employees

 
Whether you want to attract talented candidates to your organisation, or simply want to retain your employees, it should go without saying that building an organisation where your employees feel valued is to everyone’s benefit. Not only are your employees happier, but they become permanent – and you will experience far less turnover in your organisation.
 
But how do you build this kind of culture?
 
If you’re the CEO of a small business or a large corporation, you’re already well aware that something is happening in the workforce. Whether we call it the “Great Resignation”, the “Great Realization” or another moniker, the facts remain the same: workers are re-evaluating their purpose and relationship with work, and we are seeing valuable workers leaving their jobs.
 
And they are leaving because of the culture.
 
Although it’s easy to blame employees for leaving, leaders need to address the cause behind the Great Resignation, which might indeed be multifaceted, but the truth is, that culture has overtaken remuneration as the top consideration of candidates when considering a new role.
 

How to build a better culture for your employees

We did a Q&A with Nick Price (CEO) and Kane Webster (Sales Director) about how Bright Purple survived the Great Resignation and built a better culture for its employees. They outline what candidates want from employers and provide retention strategies for navigating the current talent landscape.
 
 
 

How did you attract 3 former employees back to Bright Purple?

Talent attraction is tough, but how do you attract professionals back to your business, who you never wanted to leave in the first place?
 
The grass is always greener on the other side and many companies lose staff to competitors - Bright Purple is no different.
 
However, we are different because we have an open-door policy for ex-employees – those who can add value to our business. This was the case with three of the current leadership team, Chris Murphy, Gary Davenport-Owens, and Craig Fraser. All three were respected professionals at the firm, but all left for pastures new.
 
So how do you keep people interested – storytelling is key!
 
People need to see the company vision – see that your business is moving forward, and where possible, winning. They want to see the organisational culture– if you’re a fun organisation then make sure people can see it. It’s all part of a story, so make sure you tell it. Keeping an open dialogue with the three ex-Bright Purple employees as friends ensured they were good leavers and the possibility of having a conversation about their futures.
 
In the case of Chris, he spent 9 years away from Bright Purple, expanding his own skills and vertical business knowledge. During this period, Nick (CEO) kept in contact with Chris (who always believed there was unfinished business) and started a dialogue of “when are you coming back home”. In December 2021, Chris returned to the firm, but now as a director, and with an enhanced profile, skillset, and reputation that will prove invaluable to the firm. As a business, we are very proud that Chris, along with Gary and Craig decided to come home and all bring new-added value to our business.
 
So, while we face the challenges of the Great Resignation, like every other firm, we are also taking a dynamic view that talent is out there, but you must work hard to ensure that talent wants to join you, or in some cases, re-join you!
 

Why is culture important in an organisation?

The famous saying “Culture eats Strategy for Breakfast” couldn’t be truer in today’s world of work.
 
With the pressures of Covid and lockdowns, businesses are faced with the challenge of developing hybrid or remote working strategies, and some are brave enough to try and go back to the office full time, good luck with that!
 
At Bright Purple, we have always strived to develop a great culture based on being Bright Purple people. We haven’t always succeeded in getting it right. However, it’s about being honest, agile, and realising that you must work with everyone involved to both develop and enhance the workplace culture. This means ensuring we have the right working conditions, the right pay and benefits, reward structures, and in this hybrid world, making the most of being social together.
 

How did Bright Purple retain employees post-covid?

The pandemic was scary, to begin with, but also an opportunity to realign what Bright Purple was and wanted to be post-covid. We began to re-evaluate the skills base we had and realised that while some didn’t fit our future strategy, we could take time to focus on hiring people who not only fitted the values we strived to live by but also had the desire to win even in the toughest days. We appointed significant numbers of talented people to our team, either in the form of apprentices, as proven delivery professionals, and of course, growing our leadership team.
 
While many businesses during Covid were cutting costs, Bright Purple used it as an opportunity to invest and hire a Head of Learning and Development. We’ve spent many years and lots of money buying external training, hoping that some of it hit the spot, but we’re great at what we do and so why not build and deliver our own training courses, using the internal talent we have? So that is the journey we are on, and our Head of L&D is tasked with ensuring all Bright Purple staff is receiving continuous and relevant training, to allow them to keep moving their own careers forward within the business. And while the focus is on developing internal training, we are also still bringing in external specialist education, using our relationships with our partners APSCO or leadership development professionals, who can ensure our top team also keep moving forward. There are many reasons for people leaving a firm, but our focus is always on those people inside the firm today and how we can engage better together and work with them to help them grow professionally.
 

How can businesses get more involved with the community, one that aligns with employees’ personal values?

Bright Purple has always been community aware and involved in developing relationships with many communities for over 27 years, including homeless charities and mental health organisations, and of course, the tech community. However, our actions, while well-meaning, have always been ad-hoc, and more often, when we are approached to get involved.
 
As we headed into 2022 and a return to normality following the pandemic, Bright Purple decided to change this, to both formalise and get proactive in 3 key areas of interest to us, as both employers and a group of citizens. We intend to use the opportunity of change to give responsibility to some of our young people, to help us positively shape our interactions moving forward, allowing them to also grow and shine.
 
Three Ambassadors have been assigned to the following:
  1. Community Engagement
  2. Diversity and Inclusion
  3. Sustainability

And now we are looking forward to 2022 and beyond, watch this space!

 
 
 
 

How did Bright Purple build a culture of belonging – a culture that embraces individuals’ values and worth?

The line in the sand was Covid and we quickly accepted the ‘new normal’ and embraced flexible and remote working. Pre-covid we were trapped by the norm of 9-5 office-based dogma and struggled to get different results year on year both commercially and culturally. The definition of insanity is trying the same thing and expecting a different result and that is the trap we had fallen into.
 
Covid and the restrictions that followed forced us to live and breathe flexibility and remote working. Something unexpected happened…the team produced excellent results, and this gave us the confidence to downsize the office and hence invest more money in quarterly events, like white water rafting, where we could enjoy each other’s company way more.
 
The flexibility allowed people to build their jobs around their life and retain that individuality that makes them special. This has resulted in greater attraction and retention and the culture has flourished with a more stable staff base along with commercial results which again adds to the positivity for all.
 

How did Bright Purple build a great culture when high turnover is the new normal during the Great Resignation?

We are perfectly placed as recruiters to learn lessons from the ‘Great Resignation’.
 
Understanding why candidates are leaving jobs by talking to them daily is helping us see in real time the pressure being put on employers by fixed hours, office working, decreasing living standards based on inflation, lack of investment in upgrading IT systems etc.
 
On top of daily candidate feedback, we also conducted surveys with our staff and implemented where possible changes to tackle issues. We carry these out regularly and although the results can be unexpected or dent our ego we do listen and try to adapt where we can. A recent example was making birthdays an additional holiday for free or committing to quarterly events as a team to keep morale high.
 
Increasing cost is a problem, so we are trying to not let this run away but also look for investments that can save time and increase revenue such as Sourcebreaker which aggregates our job boards. Reducing cost is sometimes harder than increasing revenue, so for now we are finding the best form of defence is attack and we are being bullish based on recent successes and the quality of our existing team.
 

How do you create the right team to execute the company vision?

This is the reality of Bright Purples’ success. We have many small and agile teams, and all have quality leaders who buy into their team and the company vision.
 
I spent most of my early days as Sales Director - being a Sales Manager with a different title. However, with some key hires (Gary Davenport-Owens, Craig Fraser, Chris Murphy, Henry Leathem) and existing staff really stepping into bigger leadership roles with aplomb (Jamie Rose, Magnus Wikström, Renate Hansen) I was slowly able to think bigger picture. I can honestly say for the first year as Sales Director I was working very hard but not empowering my team as I did not know how. Once I understood what my role was and gave my leaders room to flourish, they really blossomed and now, I think more about the vision mentioned and the trust is two-way which is a great feeling.
 
 

Key Takeaway:

The pandemic disrupted the global economy. But with disruption comes opportunity.
 
The Great Resignation is a chance for your business to champion a healthy workplace culture. Use this disruption as an opportunity to change, re-evaluate and rebuild your organisation’s culture, and make it more welcoming and productive – a place where people want to work.
 
A team that feels empowered by the culture has a sense of belonging within the company, therefore helping you retain talented people. Instead of losing talent, you can attract it away from your competitors.

 

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Comments

Excellent blog! It is good to see an organisation listening to their employees and re-evaluating their company culture and seeing where they can make changes.
Posted on July 20, 2022 by LinkedIn

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