By Sarra Bejaoui, SmartPA Founder
If you’re a regular browser of social media like me, you’ll see lots of familiar quotes appear in your timeline. Like this one, which I saw again last week, and which a poster attributed to Sir Richard Branson:
“Customers don’t come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the customers.”
Although I’d seen it many times before, it did stop me scrolling and set me thinking. “I wonder,” I thought, “did he actually say that?” And then I compared it to the mantra we hold dear at SmartPA:
“Happy People = Happy Clients”
I like to think our line is a bit snappier (sorry, Sir Richard), but the sentiments are undeniably similar.
“But,” I hear you say, “talk is cheap. What do you do actually do to make your people happy? More importantly, are they actually happy?”
Fair questions. So let me briefly explain what we do at SmartPA to ‘walk the walk’ when it comes to creating and maintaining a happy people culture.
Firstly, we’re grown up enough to understand that a positive people culture doesn’t just magically happen. It needs clear plans, regular feedback and meaningful reviews. At SmartPA, we have a clear employee experience strategy that’s evaluated regularly to ensure it’s fit for purpose. Part of it reads as follows:
“To create workplace pride, you need your team to have: pride in work; pride in team; and pride in organisation.”
As leaders, that means we have to ensure our people are excited about our organisational purpose, thrive in our culture, and live and breathe our values. And that can only happen if we lead by example. So here are a few of the ways we do just that at SmartPA:
Every member of our leadership team receives our SmartPA leadership training, ‘Bossing-It’, which supports them to nurture effective leadership styles and create authentic and successful leaders within our teams. One thing I’m always keen to emphasise is that we don’t look to impose leadership styles on anyone. Instead, I’m a firm believer that leaders need to optimise their own natural, unique strengths to become the workplace energisers and role models that any successful company needs. This then makes them ideally placed to unlock the energy, opinions, ideas and performance in others that we need to succeed as a business and deliver value to our customers and stakeholders.
At SmartPA, we recruit to attitude. What I mean by that, is that our priority is to hire people that align with our vision and values, and then work with them to build on what they already have.
3. Learning and development:
Our Centre for Excellence supports our people with an accredited training programme that delivers a recognised qualification. We also make sure every SmartPA team member has an individual growth plan (their own path to success if you like) and has clarity on the purpose and impact of their individual role.
As well as providing support and learning, it’s just as important to reward talent, commitment and hard work. Team members who exemplify our values can be nominated for monthly Kudos awards. And, at the end of each year, we celebrate with awards for stand-out employees.
We’re passionate about our people’s wellbeing and about understanding what makes them tick as individuals (and I do mean genuinely passionate). The way I see it, we can’t light you up without understanding what feeds your flame – in other words, can we do more to support you in doing the things that make you happy? (After all, what makes you happy supports your performance.) All these things are included in the personal wellbeing plan each team member has in place.
6. Doing good with our business:
We engage with our team in maintaining and updating a clear Corporate Social Responsibly (CSR) plan. And we hold ourselves accountable to that.
And how do I know that it’s working? Well, the great thing about SmartPA is there’s no place to hide. Our people are out there working as part of our clients’ teams, every day of the week for 52 weeks of the year. We can only be successful if our people really are aligned to our organisational purpose and living our values.