To attract staff, some employers have increased wages at potentially unsustainable rates, impacting profitability and sustainable growth. In the strata industry, for example, research shows wages have increased from 29% of total revenues in 2005 to 49% in 2022, with profit margin shrinking from 33% in 2005 to 23% in 20226.
While wages do play an important role, Head of People, Culture and Client Experience at Macquarie’s Banking and Financial Services division, Rosalind Coffey, cautions that workers are looking for more than just competitive salaries.
"You want your people to be highly engaged, which means they’re providing greater discretionary effort and recommending your company as a great place to work,” she says.
“People want to have belief in the leadership of the organisation, pride in the organisation, and feel that leaders have genuine care for employees – these are important considerations for employees.”
“Building a positive workplace culture requires a shift to thinking about the employment value proposition, or, 'why would people come to work with your company?'"
“Finding that 'why' can be done by asking your best people what they value about coming to work each day, and using ‘human-centred design’ (HCD) to understand the perspectives of others,” says Coffey.
HCD is a methodology to help you focus on the experience people have working for you as employees, or working with you as clients. It involves genuinely engaging with staff and clients, understanding their current experience of achieving their goals, listening to their concerns as well as what’s going well and finding ways to improve their experience.
That could mean anything from rolling out new technology to simplify a task, to reducing the number of steps a person takes to log onto a system, or rewording instruction manuals. Businesses of any size can use this methodology to create better experiences for their people and clients.
Coffey points to an example within Macquarie Bank where the experience of taking out a home loan was mapped. Macquarie Bank mapped the journeys taken by clients, brokers and employees from application to settlement, recording the actions each party took to apply for a loan and how parties felt at each step of the process.
Mapping the experience of all parties end-to-end created a deep understanding of not only how people undertook a loan, but where opportunities existed to make that experience better for the different parties involved. Those solutions ranged from larger investments in technology and communication, to simple solutions of locating teams closer to each other to allow for seamless handover of processes.
“It was important that we understood that the client experience was essentially grounded in the experience we give to our employees, so if we made their jobs easier, that in turn simplified and improved both the broker and customer experiences,” explains Coffey.
“Essentially, it means starting by understanding the problem end users are trying to solve and grounding solutions in that, rather than starting with what we each think is the most important action to take."