Chris Buchanan, Director Client Solutions, Dell South Africa, asks: “What does it take to keep good people?” Back in 2003, Rudy Giuliani wrote in his seminal book Leadership that “one quality every effective performer shared was a sense that their job was more than a simple transaction of time for money”.
Giuliani was explaining that high-level performers want to feel part of something larger and significant, or they don’t feel challenged to the levels their skills demand.
Today many business leaders are still trying to tap that magic vein. Skills are scarce and keeping talent on-board is not easy. The worst is when you try to ply talent with money, creating an arms race with your competitors. But the catalyst of talent acquisition and retention has become the workplace itself.
Modern user technologies have put that goal within reach, but it’s still far from a guarantee. This is my wheelhouse – I spend a lot of time with Dell Technologies’ clients who want to use modern advances to ensure fulfilled and loyal employees, particularly those who are a handsome catch for rivals. Most get it wrong because they focus on technology.
The focus should be on employees and the roles they play. Can there be easier ways to help them express their potential? After looking at this extensively, Dell Technologies started to change its offices and a lot of attention was given to different types of collaborative environments as well as areas suited to specific types of work. The changes included designs that respectively offered privacy and positive eavesdropping, ad hoc meetings and deep focus sessions.
But those changes weren’t effective just because of their function. They served their purposes because that’s what employees asked for through polls as well as their own behaviour. It is the factor most businesses overlook when they want to court talent: look at what the talent needs.
This became abundantly clear to me a few years ago and it’s an example that still sticks with me. We renovated our company cafeteria to give employees a much nicer experience. That they had, but it didn’t exactly set the world on fire. When I probed more closely, it appeared the real changes they wanted concerned productivity tools: Extra screens, more accommodation for remote working, and the right devices for the job.
Our salespeople wanted devices that supported their constant movements, such as better battery life and faster connectivity. Our roaming hallway warriors wanted touchscreens, our dedicated desk jockeys wanted multiple monitors and nice headphones for reducing distractions.
These sound frivolous but don’t confuse it with employees just asking for the best gadgets they could get. Our own research shows that the right device and workplace design choices, soberly matched to the requirements of employees, deliver fantastic results. We’ve saved money for many Dell Technology clients by helping match the right devices with the right workplace personas.
It’s knowledge we are happy to share. If you want to learn more about enticing talent to stay and perform, come talk to myself and my colleagues at Dell Technologies Forum, a free event held on 27th June 2019 at the Sandton Convention Centre. There will be presentations and other opportunities to dig into this fascinating topic.
If all your people do is work for money and not to express their abilities, you will struggle to keep them with you. But today’s user devices and workplace insights offer great opportunities to create a virtuous cycle with your employees, where the more you support them, the more they are willing to give.
Register here and book your space now at the Dell Technologies Forum.