With labour and skills shortages magnifying the challenges of finding the right people, it’s more important than ever to focus on staff retention.
SoGlos spoke to Cheltenham-based Brave Human Capital Group, about managing staffing issues, finding and keeping the right team members – and why company culture is the key to all of it.
About the expert – James Fleming, managing director of Brave Human Capital Group
James Fleming is the founder and managing director of Cheltenham-headquartered Brave Human Capital Group – a human resources company serving the county and beyond.
Brave builds bespoke HR and resourcing solutions for businesses, focusing on a company’s strengths, people and vision. It believes passionately that people are at the heart of a business and makes it a priority to help them perform to their full potential – to make the business a success.
Those unfamiliar with HR might think the main focus is procedural, rule-based back-office functions. How do you see the role of HR?
In our view HR should be proactive, rather than just responsive. As a profession, we should be helping businesses get the right people, in the right roles, doing the right things to help them grow. A good HR consultancy or person should work proactively with their clients to identify potential problems and risks before they begin to come to fruition. This will reduce the demands on managers to have those tough, reactive, performance conversations.
Where does Brave Human Capital Group start when working with a business?
When people start talking to us, we guide them to focus on their goals and aspirations for their business, the type of workplace they want to be, what sort of leader they are and how they want their employees to feel and engage with each other.
Then we empower them to create a great workplace, where people want to stay and do the best work of their careers. This is about everything, from the roles they have, job descriptions, appraisals, talent and succession, to their handbook, policies and contracts of employment.
We work really closely with a business to help them to build high levels of employee engagement and advocacy. We do this from the bottom up, led by employees and teams rather than the top down by senior managers. We take the lessons we’ve learnt from partnering with big businesses and translate these into smaller, ambitious and growing organisations.
I have won awards from the likes of Gallup (established to help business leaders lead) and the CIPD for the work I have done in this area.
Of course, everyone is starting from a different place, but there are some common themes.
How does Brave help businesses with company culture, recruitment and retention?
We worked with one business which had about 30 staff when we started and has 60 now. We provided them with expert, benchmarked insight into the structures, roles and type of people they would need to help them grow. We then helped them to build a strong value set that they recruited and appraised against.
All candidates and employees were benchmarked and profiled against these values. This was particularly impactful when building their leadership function.
They are now one of the Top 100 Best Companies to Work For – and that helps them with recruitment and retention.
Once they and we understood the type of candidate that would be a success in their business, both now and in the future, we set about developing a recruitment strategy that helped them attract and recruit the high performing individuals they needed.
Once we knew the type of people the company was looking for we profiled where they worked, what they were interested and the important factors they looked for when considering their next employee. We then made sure our client was continually engaging with them on the areas that mattered most, all the time, not just when then had a vacancy. This approach helped them reduce their cost and time per hire significantly.
In short, we get to know a business, build a profile of the type of people a business wants and find them before they are needed.
We have done work like this for top financial services institutions, tech-firms and marketing businesses. We have helped map all their sales-force, technical experts and HR people, making sure we are engaging with them all the time so if a vacancy does arise we can act quickly and in a targeted way.
Why is company culture and this kind of forward thinking so important for businesses?
If you have a great place to work, are retaining talent and people are motivated, they will be much more likely to perform to their maximum potential every day, and less likely to leave your business.
At the moment, key factors for motivating staff are the quality of their management team, job security, flexibility, and career development. Only a little bit is pay and terms and conditions. If you can help a business develop the right culture you can help them deliver the answers to all these.
The result will not just be a happier, healthier place to work with high performing teams, there will also be better staff retention, less absence and reduced employment and recruitment challenges. Get these things right and the potential benefits to a business’ financial performance and customer satisfaction will be exceptional.
This is the big difference a good HR partner can make.