The 21st Century Employee

Feb 19
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At the heart of every great business is a great culture and a group of passionate people – the employees. Employee engagement is proving crucial to success in business in the 21st century. Engaging employees goes beyond pay. Today there is a demand for attractive benefits, flexibility and non-traditional career paths that allow individuals to grow and develop within their role.

The Criterion Conferences Team asked Nick Rodrigues, People & Culture Manager How Showpo manage their employee experience.

Here is what he had to say:

What are the programs that are currently in place at Showpo for professional and personal growth?

Our company is growing so rapidly. We don’t have the luxury of being a big brand with thousands of employees and hundreds of teams. Our teams and structures are always changing so we can’t really build tailored career paths to get from point A to B.

We also want to make sure we aren’t making promises that we can’t keep! So we focus on frequent catch ups asking “where do you want your career to go?”

We know that this doesn’t always mean that their next step is in Showpo, and that’s okay. Our team members have a focus on preparing themselves for their next role, wherever that may be.

Sometimes managers aren’t able to provide career advice, as people have different aspirations.

For example, if someone in our finance team wants to eventually be a UX designer, who better to have that discussion with them than our award winning UX team?

So our career progression follows a few simple rules

  1. You are in charge of your own development. Tell your leader early and tell them often.
  2. Your leader will pair you up and give you time to develop the experience to apply for  that next role. Note that you only get this time if you have completed all other work you planned to achieve.
  3. When that role becomes available, you should apply. And remember, it’s okay if it’s not at Showpo! You should never allow your career development to be dictated or limited by the company you work for.

This approach works well for us because employees know that their managers only want the best for them, irrespective of how long they have been, or plan to be with Showpo.

And leaders are happy because for however long, or short they have that team member, they produce stellar work and remain engaged. And as a business, you couldn’t ask for more in an employee.

Tips & tricks for identifying skills your organisation could benefit from?

Always think ahead. What you got here, might not get you there. Sometimes it’s hard to look at people who have poured their heart and soul to get your business to where it is today, and then struggle to get it where it needs to be tomorrow. Open lines of communication are key.

When hiring, pick a smaller amount of KEY skills. And when interviewing ask for examples where they have demonstrated those. Work history, tenure, and fancy acronyms don’t carry nearly as much weight as achievements with great stories behind them.

When you look at your overall strategy, have a mindset of “why aren’t we there yet?” – Instead of “we should make it if everyone performs well”. The answer to this question will usually give you a vast array of roadblocks. Then ask “what type of skills would remove these roadblocks and do we have these in our teams?”

How do you determine the best growth pathways for individuals?

Find the winning combination of what people like, and what they are good at. But don’t compromise the integrity of your overall objective just to get (or keep) someone in the business.

Sometimes the best growth pathway for someone is to leave, join another business, flourish there. And then come back an even stronger contributor.

What strategies do Showpo use to embed growth and learning opportunities through every stage of the employee life cycle?

Full day training sessions are possible, but in our experience just very hard to coordinate. It’s far easier to drip feed information through bite sized session that people can absorb.

Frequent catch ups are important. Today you might want to work in marketing, but tomorrow it could be Product. It’s okay for the goalposts to change, but our teams always update this with their leaders so they best serve them.

We also run mini sessions (not during lunch breaks) inviting anyone from the office to join. Sessions such as “what is A/B testing and how does it work?”, “creating good creative”, “being better at google sheets”, “managing up and setting goals” are all great sessions that people can drop into to take their skill set to the next level.

Don’t Miss Nick’s session on ‘Designing & implementing realistic programs for professional & personal growth’ at the Employee Experience Conference, 16th & 17th April 2019, Sydney.

Submitted by Nick Rodrigues

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