Talent and People

What is talent, and why is it important in business?

What comes to mind when we hear the word talent? We often think of musicians such as Paul McCartney or sports people like Rodger Federer. These people stand out from others who play the same game because they’re exceedingly good and raise the bar within their area of expertise.

It is a similar story when it comes to talent within our workforce. If your people are talented, they excel in all aspects of their role that is highly beneficial to your business. For example, talented sales employees will reach above target quotas for the month; and retain customers in the process. This isn’t to say that your whole workforce must be a team of elite salespeople whose salaries would cripple your small business.

Talent is important to SMEs as better operations, management, and sales will increase the profitability and success of your company.

The war for talent is a phrase coined that refers to the challenges of recruiting and retaining talent in the modern business landscape (we will cover this later in this article).

The evolving workforce landscape

Part-one of our four-part series; Issues affecting businesses in 2022, explored the importance of keeping your people motivated, and how the hybrid working model has become increasingly popular with employees since the lockdowns ended. According to a study by Sodexo, “79% of employees who experienced working from home because of the pandemic are seeking the option to continue working remotely.”

This demand for hybrid working has meant that talent has had to evolve due to the new way of the working world.


• Are the highly skilled managers of pre-covid just as motivational and organised from their homes?

• Are your top salespeople able to reach the same numbers they did before COVID over Zoom calls and Team meetings?

Additionally, talent recruitment has become significantly different for the same reason, due to remote working and new technology brought about through COVID. Is the talent you searched for previously still the same today?

The top employees who sit at the heart of your business should be able to adapt to technological advancements and a new way of working.

The Business Doctors top 10 talent challenges

1. How to achieve a good balance between the needs of the company and your employees

Entrepreneurs start their businesses for a variety of different reasons, from a basic need to make a living, a desire to be one’s own boss, personal rewards, for a sense of personal achievement, or a desire to innovate. Therefore, it’s understandable that most of the focus is solely on the owner and the needs of the business.

New management trends show us that the needs of employees are vital!

For example, these needs include

– A happy work-life balance

– Fair and competitive wages

– Health and well-being

– Responsibility

– Personal goals

Although you may already be doing most of these things, considering employee needs even further can be achieved by introducing these considerations into your HR and business strategy!

2. Prioritising employee mental health

Individuals all over the UK have felt the mental strain caused by issues such as inflation, rising fuel prices, and soaring energy costs. It’s problems like this that are rapidly making employee wellbeing one of the biggest management challenges of 2022.

If your employees are present, without being present, this can have a detrimental effect on both their happiness and your business. According to the Health and Safety Executivein 2018/19, an alarming 44% of all work-related ill health cases were stress, anxiety, and depression-related. With inflation and rising living costs the way they currently are, this figure isn’t likely to improve and may even get worse.

Issues stemming from outside the workplace aren’t something you can solve as an owner; however, you can reduce the strains that work may be having on someone’s mental health.

So, you can either be a passive owner, who is understanding, yet doesn’t quite understand the extent of poor mental health on employee wellbeing and productivity. Or, you can be an active manager, who is adopting new practices into their business to support those who are currently suffering and reduce the role that work may be playing on employee wellbeing.

The Feel-Good Factor Survey

Our experts believe it benefits SME owners to gain a full understanding of how their business and its people are feeling. In response, we developed the Feel-Good Factor: a handful of quick questions to help you assess where you, your team, and your business currently find themselves. After finishing, you’ll receive a free personalised feel-good score and analysis. This will explore how you and your staff are feeling. You’ll also get a variety of FREE complimentary resources to help you move forward towards a happier, feel-good future.

Get your feel good factor

3. Ability to retain and develop and re-engage talent

The Harvard Business Review found that nearly one-third of employee turnover in 2018 was attributed to “unsupportive management and a lack of development opportunities.” However, in 2022, the problem is more complex, with many more challenges facing businesses involving retaining and developing talent.

Talent management challenges 2022;

  • Keeping talent engaged with your business – interestingly, Gallup has found that only 36% of employees are actively engaged in their workplace: so it’s vital that SMEs keep in touch with talent engagement trends to keep up with rival competitors. Remember, the top employees will be up to scratch with what other businesses are doing and what is trending in company culture. One instance of keeping employee engagement with your business high, would be integrating a modernised training and self-development programme into your business strategy!

Traditional reskilling programmes are now deemed as insufficient and outdated as self-development has become more important to the modern employee. Why not bring this new wave of talent management into your process and enable your employee skillsets to widen?

  • The desire for remote working – Flexjobs has reported that 58% of workers would “absolutely” look for a new job if they cannot continue remote work”. If you can, it is more desirable to talent that your offering includes the choice to work under the hybrid or remote models.
  • Opportunity to progress into management roles – can you promise your current and potential people that they could progress in your company? Retaining talent will involve your business guaranteeing the opportunity for promotion if earned.

4. Trust and visibility

Building strong relationships between manager and employee is an essential component when building trust in your business. If you are the sole management for your business, can you confidently say that you are a trustworthy leader? Trust between management and your team is evident when they freely tell you how they feel regarding their work, share their ideas, and communicate their concerns.

However, if you wish to improve trust within your business, you can invest into new management training, conduct anonymous surveys, or increase communications between you and your team.

5. Winning the Talent War

In stride refers to a “global talent shortage”, which is enhancing the battle between companies to employ and keep talented individuals. There are certain assets that belong to the most sought-after talent in 2022. Most businesses are looking for these traits when employing and retaining their workforce. This is down to the evolving nature of the business-customer relationship, new technology and the demand for growth within businesses.

  • Adaptability: not all potential employees have an innate ability to adapt. It’s this that makes attracting and retaining this rare talent quite challenging; adaptability is valuable, profitable, and therefore chased by many other companies. But this isn’t to say that adaptability cannot be developed by a more junior employee under your management team’s guidance. This is another reason for investing in talent management.
  • IT: In an age of ever-growing digitalisation, those with a vast knowledge of the necessary business tech must-haves are desired by most. Niche IT specialists include those in the fields of cyber security, computer science, and analytics.

How can you win the war for talent?

  • Create a thriving business environment that employees don’t want to leave – Existing talent may be looking for something new, but why would they if they currently work in an exciting fast paced environment…
  • Changes to recruitment strategy – Take a more active approach when it comes to your recruitment strategy. Using recruitment agencies and platforms such as LinkedIn recruiter enables you to sort through talent and personally engage with the people you want. Additionally, you could also take the hedge hunting approach, which makes people feel desired and wanted.
  • Social and sustainability commitments – In 2022, many people care about what your company is doing to support social issues. Pledging your business to environmental initiatives such as sustainability can really help to make your business an attractive company to work for.
  • Offer incentives – Whether people like to admit it or not, perks to the job really do matter. Can your business afford to offer a higher salary for an in-demand role? If not, maybe you could make changes to your business to accommodate a higher salary.

Other incentives include:

  • Early finishes on a Friday
  • Opportunities to progress within your business
  • Gym memberships
  • Employee discounts
  • Travel expenses covered
  • Bring your dog to work day (what’s the worst that could happen?)

6. How to provide great employee experiences

According to Forbes, employees are “evolving their view of what a positive workplace should feel like”. Now, for some people this may involve beanbag chairs, a ping-pong table and ‘bring your dog into workday’. However, this isn’t practical for many SMEs who don’t have the funds or space that larger companies have. It also may have adverse effects and create distractions that may upset productivity levels. However, there are things you can do to create new and engaging employee experiences.

  • Consider new business trends that could further your business in 2022 –

KornFerry has established seven for you as an owner to consider. They include:

  • Reinvention – Digital Transformation
  • Scarcity – Retain and Reskill
  • Vitality – Employee Wellbeing
  • Sustainability – Path to net-zero
  • Individuality – Work-life balance
  • Inclusivity – The power of all
  • Accountability – Trust

To read the full report, you can download the free PDF here

  • Dedicate a space for informal conversation

– Informal chit-chat is a perk of working alongside other people. It helps to break up the working day and develop much needed friendships within the workplace. Creating a WhatsApp chat that’s strictly ‘weekend antics’ related is a great way to create a great employee experience.

  • Introduce a happy hour

– even if your workplace is ranked highly in the eyes of your team, it’s a guarantee that they still look forward to Friday (and who can blame them?). So, how’s about giving them that weekend feeling an hour early? After all, the productivity culture you’ve instilled within your company (keep reading for more information) means that they have given their all throughout the week. You could bring in a beer or two for your team members, or even visit the pub. Trust us, this will go down a treat!

  • Monthly Quiz/Team Games
  • Nothing quite brings people together like a quiz. Bonding, playful rivalry, and plenty of laughs all help to make team games a hugely popular morale-boosting activity.

7. Mandating an all-in-one HR system

One of the top HR challenges in 2022 for SMEs is effectively keeping on top of human resources, especially if you have adopted the remote or hybrid working models. This means continually monitoring who’s working; who’s on holiday; and who is absent.

Large corporations usually have an HR department or designated person, as they have much more employees to keep track of. As an SME, you most likely don’t require a separate human resources department or need to pay someone a yearly salary to do so; however, it is still wise to invest in an affordable platform where you can manage your staff efficiently.

You could try our online HR hub, where you can manage staff absences, sanction holidays, and view how many days each employee has available to book off. It’s that simple and efficient.

To enquire about our digital HR platform, please click here or get in touch with us for more information.

8. Creating a more productive workforce

If you step back and look at your people, can you honestly say that they are all on the same page when it comes to the growth and success of your business? Do they all share your passion towards making your business the best it can be? If you are working from home, can you count on your team to be working to the highest level to achieve your business’s goals? If the answer is yes to all the above, then great (you can always reach new heights when it comes to workforce productivity!). However, if you feel that your staff need that extra push, here are some useful ways that you can increase productivity levels in your business.

  • Create a culture of productivity and high standards – lead by example and strive for the best when it comes to your own role. By setting the standard for productivity and not tolerating lazy or incompetent employees, your team are likely to follow suit. Point out areas for more growth, encourage your team with praise (when earnt) and inspire your team to never settle for the bare minimum. Not only will this help your business, but it will enhance your skills as a strong leader and allows personal growth amongst your employees. In doing so, you have successfully managed to address one of the challenges in talent development within your company!
  • Promote a culture of communication – Communication is key when it comes to high productivity levels. Regular correspondence between your team keeps them on the same page and always with something to do during working hours. Communication also allows for individuals within your business to share their ideas and develop into a more complete employee who is always looking for new ways to better your company. So, it may be beneficial to you to set up regular meetings to ensure this culture develops without leaving anybody behind.
  • Set benchmarks and long-term goals – give your team a target to aim for! Assessing where you are, where you are heading and where you want to be is vital when it comes to encouraging higher productivity levels. Be sure to include your team in your vision and emphasise that the long-term goals set out for the business can only be achieved with their help and dedication.

9. Equipping future management – can your business survive without you?

One of the top talent management trends 2022 is future proofing your business by effectively equipping your future management. After all, the definition of a valuable company is one that can run without you. So, ask yourself;

Can your business survive without you?

We have partnered with the creators of the unique Value Builder System™, so we can help you easily evaluate your business. By filling out this quick and free survey, you can see where your business currently sits in terms of value and see whether your current management is ensuring profitability.

Click here for more information

10. Embracing change

As mentioned earlier, change is happening in all aspects of businesses. Making sure that your businesses can accommodate and accept change is very important to its success and expansion. A company stuck in its old ways is likely to repel talent rather than retain it!

How to develop and manage your people

Developing and managing talent in the workplace can be tough, especially if you’re a new or expanding business. Having a business advisor will help you find solutions and grasp new management trends.

Getting tailored support from seasoned professionals who have been there themselves can also help to give you peace of mind when it comes to the next steps for your business.

These experts can help by:

  • Helping you to review your current employee management style and identify additional opportunities
  • Support you in raising the necessary funds to make your business goals a reality
  • Help you with your business’s procurement and supply chain issues you may be struggling with
  • Assist in implementing a brand-new business strategy or improving your current model.

Get your free business growth roadmap

Click here to download your FREE copy of our Strategic workbook, to see where your business is heading

If you would like more information, talk to us we have a team of experts on hand ready to listen and offer advice.