In a year of opportunity, a shortage of critical talent has become one of the biggest threats to capturing what could be record revenue. The industry-wide challenge of recruiting and retention could not come at a worse time.
“The Great Resignation” has resulted in employees reevaluating their current companies for fit. Talent loss is not just a loss of an employee, but also productivity, knowledge, and skills. That knowledge capital is directly related to the value of the business and its performance. To succeed in this new world of work, businesses must pay attention to the value of their human capital—both maintaining and growing it.
Measuring the ROI in Our Employees
How do we measure the return on investment in our people? If we take the total revenue for the company and divide it by the total number of billable hours, we can begin to quantify the “contribution rate” of hourly staff.
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This rate can be expected to grow with efficiency as they can produce the same amount of work in less time with skill and experience. And as we invest more money in education and training, we can analyze the return through the contribution margin. In times of great opportunity, the answer is not to work the staff harder and longer, but to increase their quality of work. This is done through training programs and by focusing on staff retention.
Identify the Roles Impacting Revenue Most
Look at it this way: While it is easy to assume sales potential based on a salesperson’s quality, which roles are the key drivers of revenue? Often it is the less visible players who have the most impact on converting potential revenue into actual income. Just like bottlenecks in a pipeline, constraints in production prevent sales.
Nowadays, many designers sign retainers hand over fist but then find the design team unable to immediately produce the deliverables needed to sign the contract. If the assembly line in the factory slows down, the throughput rate of the whole system is compromised. Turnover in this key position is a threat to the overall flow. So we must look at who those key players are and what is important to them to keep the system moving and increase the throughput speed.
Throw Away Your Idea of a Corporate Ladder And Instead Consider The Corporate Lattice
Understanding the New Workforce
Millennials now make up the largest percentage of the workforce, and their representation in key roles continues to grow. The needs of this generation represent a monumental shift from the corporate culture of the past. While previous generations separated work from their mission in life, many Millennials seek a purpose over a paycheck.
Questions that Millennials ask include, “Does the organization value my strengths and my contribution? Does this organization give me the chance to do what I do best every day?” In response, there must be a shift in leadership style. Instead of command and control, swap in ongoing development conversations and mentoring; opportunities to learn and grow become the new currency rather than purely financial motivators.
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Goodbye to the Corporate Ladder
Professional growth does not necessarily mean a promotion or title change. The future is paths guided by learning, which result in opportunities for upward growth, not just a vertical climb. Throw away your idea of a corporate ladder and instead consider the corporate lattice. This integrated lattice of job growth focuses on personal development that ultimately benefits the company. It may look like a designer discovering a talent and interest in project management and staying with the company rather than leaving to explore it elsewhere.
Diagonal and horizontal moves break down silos and ultimately make the company stronger. A network of coaching and a growth mindset are keys to a thriving lattice environment. This culture will attract and retain high-value employees and allow the value of the company to grow along with them.
Mary Miksch's recent MBA capstone quantified ROI on employee investment at her company by using actual data and figures.