Commitment to staff learning key for business success in digital age

Using her own experience as director of digital recruitment consultant Futureheads, Rachel Murray explains why imbedding a culture of constant re-education creates an attractive environment for current and future hires.

When you read the profiles of those companies voted ‘best place to work’, one point stands out very clearly: they have a strong commitment to employees to create a positive and enjoyable workplace.

These companies strive to make their organisation a place where everyone is able to have an impact doing what they enjoy most in their working environment.

Supporting from below rather than ruling from above, ensuring everyone’s work/life balance meets their requirements, is a common theme. Many believe, however, that large organisations are at a disadvantage in comparison with SMEs, but this is not the case. Companies as diverse as social media giant Facebook and global management consultants McKinsey & Co have regularly been top recipients of a best place to work award.

Size has very little to do with it. Key workplace factors such as work-life balance, culture and corporate values, alongside mentoring, career opportunities, compensation and benefits are, together, fundamental to creating a great place to work.

Each company is unique and there is no ‘one strategy fits all’ approach. But a recent Gallup poll that found that only 13 per cent of employees feel truly engaged at work suggests that many companies simply pay lip service to attracting and retaining top talent. The level of remuneration and the types of perks on offer are certainly important to new recruits, but they are only part of a much bigger equation. Recruiting managers need to fully understand other attributes that are attractive to existing employees as well as new recruits.
In the current digital era, people will go to great lengths to obtain information about a potential company in order to make better career decisions. The recruitment industry is no different to any other industry when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent. When we go into the market to find people to work for us, it’s not unusual for individuals to tell us things they have found out about Futureheads before we have even had a chance to discuss possible opportunities with them.

At Facebook, employees openly state that they value the opportunity to make a positive impact on more than a billion people. At Futureheads, our staff tell us that they greatly value the opportunity to make a fundamental impact on the career advancement of numerous digital recruits. But people learn in different ways and in different timeframes, so in order to get our staff to where they can make a difference to people’s careers, one of my roles is to help unlock methods that play to their strengths and let them flourish.

More on staff training:

In every industry, particularly in this digital age, a commitment to ongoing learning has never been more important. Technology is changing so rapidly and having such a significant impact on how companies stay in business that those who don’t commit to ongoing employee learning and development will be left far behind the rest. Not only do we discuss this issue in some depth with our clients – because our candidates tell us this in one of the key factors that influences where they will work – we also practice what we preach.
In meeting our commitment to ongoing learning, we run a series of internal meetings called ‘Futurebrain’, where individuals and teams commit to learning about a key digital trend or topic and present these to the business. This keeps them passionate about digital and sharpens their communication and presentation skills. Likewise we bring in experts from the digital sector to talk to our employees about their digital expertise. This helps us all to better understand the digital world and apply that to our recruitment practice.

The social media network is alive and well, and word spreads very quickly about good companies to work for and those to avoid. It’s vital, therefore, that executives read, ask questions, listen and learn, then make a commitment to creating a positive and enjoyable place to work.

Collaborative team approaches, commitment to learning and sharing success are all important factors to creating a great place to work, but it is also the ‘human touch’ that keeps companies growing, keeps staff motivated and ensures that the organisation is the best it can be in its industry.

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter was the Editor for from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.