Don’t lose your most valuable hires

Who are your company’s most valuable hires? They may not be exactly who you think.

Specialties like software developers may grab all the headlines, but there’s another subset of employee quietly competing for the title.

These would be your functional employees: the claims processors, the payroll people, the IT support, customer service employees, administrative assistants, finance, sales, marketing….the unheralded people who keep your company moving. The good ones have critical skills, vast company knowledge bases, and key jobs.

And they’re also some of the most likely to be poached.

Most valuable hires; most transferrable skills

Why? Employees in these roles provide vital services, says Horizons Workforce Consulting’s Lucy English. How vital? “Ever tried to do business with a difficult customer service agent?” she asks. Exactly. Further cementing their value is the fact that it can take ten positive customer interactions to make up for a single lousy one. “So you want to keep the good ones at all costs,” says Lucy.

Trouble is, she adds, those skills are easily transferable from your company to the competitor across the street. So those ace customer-service skills or super-human IT smarts are constantly at risk. “These people can take their great work ethic and their great performances,” says Lucy, “and go do the same job someplace else whenever they feel like it.”

At-risk employees: a familiar HR problem

And apparently, they often do. Lucy regularly presents around the country about Dream Companies – places that have cracked the code on what engages people — and says she gets the most nods of recognition from HR people when she gets to the part about these transferrable skills and the constant rotation of the people who have them. “They recognise the revolving door,” she says.

That the above titles don’t exactly connote a list of dream jobs is kind of the point, she says, further proving the value of the Dream Company. What Lucy’s Dream research unearthed is that where people work edges out job in order of importance. In other words, dream jobs are all well and good; but Dream Companies (places that support the trifecta of employee priorities: well-being, work/life balance, and career development) are better, multiplying things like retention rates considerably.

That matters a lot for any valuable employee you want to hang on to. But it’s especially valuable for employees with those highly transferable skills. For a star customer service agent who can work successfully anywhere, where they work isn’t a thing – it’s everything. And dream companies deliver.

All that said, being in both a dream job and a dream company, says Lucy, would probably be best of all. But if you have to choose one or the other, she knows where she’d put her money.

“If you want to bottle engagement, and you can’t give employees a job that they dream of,” she says, “your best bet is to give them a company that they do.”

With the majority of working families highlighting that family and relationships remain their greatest priority, finding the right balance between work and family life has never been more important.

National Work-Life Week, established by Working Families, is a week dedicated to helping people find a better balance between work and life. The week aims to promote the importance of wellbeing and work-life balance, and the business benefits for organisations in getting it right.

At Bright Horizons, we believe a successful work-life balance is boundless in its benefits for both our people and our organisation. We’re all looking forward to celebrating the week and we have themed activities and events planned. We have included our plans below to give you a few ideas and if you’re celebrating the week too, we’d love to hear more about it!

Happy National Work-Life Week!

Join in the conversation: #WorkLifeWeek

  • Work-Life Balance

If we think back to our school days, when the school bell rang at 3:15pm (home time) it was rare to find anyone still roaming the grounds later than 3:30pm and yet, when 5:00pm strikes now we find ourselves still sat at our desks. When we do leave, it’s quite often we find ourselves checking emails or planning our next project.

Leaving work on time, taking regular breaks and switching our phones off after work can make a great difference in helping to draw a clear line between work and life and enable us to switch off at the end of the day and enjoy a little time to ourselves. We know from time to time, we might need to spend a few more minutes finishing a project or waiting to receive an email but Tuesday is our day to make sure we’re heading home and switching off on time.

  • Taking care of Me

When we’re looking after other people, we can often find ourselves forgetting one important thing: looking after ourselves. When we’re fit and healthy, we’re better able to care for others and feel more confident in juggling multiple responsibilities.

Our diet can play a key role in how we look after ourselves and during National Work-Life Week, we’ll be focussing on how we can get more fruit and vegetables into our diet. We’ll also be exploring how we can look after ourselves mentally, with meditation and mindfulness activities which we can do in work.

  • Reducing stress at Work

When our work-life scales tip unfavourably, we can find ourselves placed under undue stress and anxiety. Whilst stress is a natural reaction and most of us will experience a little stress at some point in our lives, excessive quantities can have a significant impact on our health and wellbeing. It can also impact our work and ability to care for others and in extreme circumstances, it can leave us burned out and having to make a difficult decision about which to prioritise.

Working parents often find that they have less time to spend with their children as the pressure of work can take over. Join our webinar on September 25th for tips on how you can Halve Your Stress and Double Your Energy.

  • Juggling work and family

Whilst there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach or a helpful manual to balancing work and family life, there is an abundance of tried and tested guides and many helpful resources and benefits which can provide vital support for our people.

If you have any employee benefits, such as childcare and resources for your carers and people make sure your guides and resources are easily accessible by your people. Quite often, an organisation has made a great decision to offer a particular benefit or item for their people but the knowledge of where this item is can be lost in translation.