106 Communications

6th Sense

Inclusive growth: taking your employees with you.

March 2013 | Diversity, Employee Engagement, Employer Brand

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In Indonesia at the moment, a number of workers are going on strike to protest about pay.  But this isn’t simply about being lowly paid.  It’s more complex than that.  They are now part of successful and growing businesses – and it’s clear that they aren’t sharing in the success.

The challenge for many of the employers, though, is what made them successful is what holds down workers’ pay.  With a low cost base, they can compete well in the market.  Grow their cost base, and the business suddenly seems less viable.  Or is it?  Some of these businesses will only be sustainable in the longer term by keeping their staff happy and motivated; and surely that’s a small price to pay, especially in a region of terrible poverty.

Inclusive growth is an interesting topic even for businesses in more developed economies and for bigger organisations.  High-growth businesses invariably recruit to fill a need and drive growth; but then the business grows and some individuals can get left behind.  Equally, as a business matures, what was once an attractor for that business can disappear.  I’m currently working with a high-growth business where a gap is emerging in some quarters between the capability of what was hired and now what is needed.  Obviously clearer and more defined talent management strategies will help to build capability and develop potential.  But equally it shows that any growing business shouldn’t simply be hiring for today, but also thinking about tomorrow.

Of course, that is difficult when you’re just trying to bring in the dollars now…and it’s easier said than done.  Because what kind of capability will you need in the future?  But perhaps this is where the values of the business come into their own.  AKQA are currently hiring 100 people – and on their careers page, it simply says:

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They make it quite explicit that anyone joining must share their values – and so, they are in essence trying to future-proof their hiring.  Or hopefully, they are.  Quite how they assess that commitment to their founding values, I’ve yet to discover.

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