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talentsmoothie ‘Best of British Business’ 2021

talentsmoothie recognised as Best of British Business
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We are delighted to announce that we have been recognised as a ‘Best of British Business’ 2021 by Business Reporter.

Justine James, our Founding Director, was interviewed by Alastair Greener on the topic ‘Future-proof your business – put people first’ to highlight why Business Reporter chose to celebrate our expertise in organisational development, HR, and employee experience and engagement with this award.

Visit Business Reporter’s talentsmoothie page to watch the interview and read the accompanying article by Justine. Or scroll down for the highlights of Alastair and Justine’s conversation.

Justine James being interviewed by Alastair Greener for Business Reporter's 'Best of British Business' campaign 2021
Alastair Greener and Justine James, ‘Best of British Business’ campaign 2021

Conversation between Justine and Alastair for Business Reporter, in association with the Independent:

Future-proof your business – put people first

Employees have a contract and a salary; they may have bonuses, perks, and pension contributions. As long as these are given, why should any boardroom think about extras?

It’s about motivation. You want your people to go the extra mile. Just think about the Covid vaccine which took ten months not ten years – how did they achieve that? It was motivated people with a shared purpose and a common goal. They achieved something we never thought possible. Wouldn’t any organisation want that kind of productivity?

Yes, but the vaccine development could be seen as a one-off, extraordinary event. Why should every organisation think more holistically about the employee experience?

What people want from the workplace is changing – money isn’t everything. People are putting ethics, innovation and values that align with their own, over money. This is good news for many organisations who can’t afford to pay top salaries. Find out what motivates your employees and provide it. It’s how you’ll attract and retain the talent you need.

Can all companies, regardless of their trade and status, follow this ‘people first’ model?

Yes 100%. – they can… and more importantly they should  – putting people first is good for business. Let’s talk about coffee. It doesn’t matter whether you are a global brand or a local independent – you want the best Baristas serving your customers, so they keep coming back. How do you keep the best Baristas? Understand what’s important to them… and offer it. If you don’t, you’ll lose them –  most likely along with some of your customers!

If you asked 100 CEOs if they have put purpose and inspiration at the top of their agenda, how many of them would raise a hand?

Great question! I’d say about 10% are future-focused and ready for the next five years. That means 90% are missing out on an opportunity. We know the employee agenda is changing. The customer agenda is changing. The business agenda has to change. The opportunity is to act now and get ahead of the curve.

For those who don’t seize the opportunity, what are the most common reasons?

Two main reasons, pressure on the numbers, and time. We need to shift our perspective and change our business behaviours.

Naturally, businesses are numbers driven. Staff meetings usually start with how we are doing against our forecast.  It’s demoralising if we’re not doing well… Wouldn’t it be refreshing to switch it up and start with an inspirational people story? Instead of focusing on the numbers, focus on the people who deliver the numbers, it’s way more motivating. One of our clients upped their employee engagement levels from 72% to 86% by focusing on what was important to people. We always think we don’t have time for change – but engaged and motivated people deliver better results, and that saves time.

Let’s imagine I am a CEO of a small manufacturing company. You have won me over. I want my organisation to put people first. What are the first steps?

We’d begin with a conversation to understand the risks to your business from a people perspective, whether skill-related, behavioural or something else. We want to discover what’s great that you want to keep, but also those things which you might want to change, to enable you to continue to develop and grow in the right way. Then we can work out a ‘deal’ (known as an Employee Value Proposition or EVP) that works brilliantly for your people and for the business.

You talk about the solution as if it were universal. But today a company may be multi-generational, so how does it work in that sense?

It’s important to carry out thorough research to understand what each segment of your workforce wants –  to understand the differences, and the similarities.  A segment could be a generation – but it could also be about geography and culture, skill set, diversity, or length of service. You may discover things you don’t expect.

Take flexible working, for example. You might be surprised to know that the youngest generation wants to spend more time in the office not less. Our research reveals the differences and similarities – essential to know before you decide on your strategy. You want to get it right… for everyone.

What does talentsmoothie bring to the table?

We help organisations create motivated workforces. The insights from our primary research, along with our 20 years of experience, brings fresh perspective to the clients we work with. The bottom line is… we know what to ask and we know how to ask it. We hone in fast, and we get to the nub of what will make the most difference.

What do you think the future workplace will look like in five years, what are the key changes we should be looking out for?

As a business leader myself, I’m looking to my business and thinking I want to build a business that works holistically for people, so I’m able to attract and retain great talent. I’m focusing on five things:

  1. flexibility – where and when people want to work
  2. people’s wellbeing – their whole health and wellbeing – physical, mental, financial
  3. inclusion – people need to feel accepted but also that they really belong
  4. technology – not only how it enables us to work and can support us wherever we work, but also, what is the optimal combination of people and machines?
  5. business consciousness – being clear on the organisation’s purpose and what the business stands for, and communicating it well

Putting all these things first isn’t just the right thing to do from a people perspective, it makes great business sense.

Future-proof your business – put people first!

Talk to us today. We’re ready to support you.

Make even better connections with your people. We are talentsmoothie, organisational development consultants and the employee experience experts. We can help.

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