Have you started customising careers yet?

by Alan Hosking: Publisher of HR Future, South Africa's human strategy magazine, and a Leadership Renewal Coach for senior executives.
With increasing changes happening at an increasingly rapid rate, you can be forgiven for not keeping up with them all. One practical approach to try to keep up is to, as it were, pick the changes you’re going to adapt to.

This might sound a bit defeatist but it’s a lot more realistic than trying to adapt to every change and ending up not adapting to any.

It’s best, therefore, to identify changes that are affecting you, your company and your market the most and then look at ways to accommodate those, adapt to them and, indeed, conquer them.

One such change that might be worth considering is the rapidly spinning revolving door through which bright young talent comes into your company … only to leave through that same door before the company has been able to enjoy the benefit of having them on board.

Wouldn’t it be great to hire bright young talent, onboard the talent, train and develop it and enjoy the investment you’ve made in them for a number of years?

Sound too good to be true?

Maybe. But it IS indeed possible … if you start customising careers for that talent.

Before you start foaming at the mouth, let me explain!

Everything, yes, everything is moving towards personalising and customising. While there’s still a lot of mass production, just about everything is being affected by customisation. Take food, for example. In the past, we all bought food on a “take it or leave it” basis. It was on the shelves and in the fridges in our local supermarkets and we simply bought what was there.

Today, however, you can buy vegan options and gluten free options of bread, biscuits and other foodstuffs.

Does customisation require extra effort? Absolutely.

So it is it worth it? You bet, it is.

If, therefore, you want to stop that spinning revolving door and keep your talent for a lot longer, one of the strategies you can embark on (and I call it a strategy intentionally as it’s not a quick fix), is to start customising careers in your company.

“Why?” You ask.

Because people are no longer loyal to a company. They’re loyal to a career – their own career. So, if you can give them a career to which they can be loyal, they’ll stay for a lot longer than they would have.

How, then can you go about this customisation?

Take a look at the benefits you’re offering them. A car servicing company wouldn’t try to sell a BMW owner Audi parts. They wouldn’t be interested in them. In the same way, a 50 something year old woman wouldn’t be interested ion your wonderful maternity benefits. But … if you built into her contract a ton of “Granny benefits” (I just made that up) … now you’re talking!

What about customised working hours/days, working location/s, pay package and benefits, working conditions (if possible and practical, think about giving them exposure to other divisions, an overseas assignment, etc.)? Also, what about letting them bring their dog to work?

True story – that was actually an offer a certain bank made to a candidate they had headhunted and REALLY wanted to hire. The irony of that story is that the candidate turned down the job offer. Do you know why? Because the company he was currently working for had created a customised career just for him and he was not prepared to give that up.

I rest my case!

Useful resources:
HR Future
HR Future is South Africa's only independent, most forward thinking human resource magazine with the richest content wealth of HR related issues on the continent of Africa to help executives recruit, manage, train, reward and retain the best talent.
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