New Challenges are the Perk Your Best Employees Want Most

Good employees flee jobs that stop interesting them.

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By Manish Dudharejia

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Building an internal culture that craves a challenge is not just a good thing for businesses to do -- it is essential if that company is going to grow. It is no less important to your team. Employees who are never pushed or challenged grow bored and begin looking elsewhere. A Korn Ferry survey found that a stagnant work environment is the number one reason workers look elsewhere.

Creating a positive culture has lots of benefits, both to the business and to the people working there. Making a change in an organization's culture is difficult but necessary for an organization wants to grow and succeed. Whether your business is just starting out, or the current culture has been established for a while now, it is never too early or too late to make a change.

1. Get good, then focus on better.

A company that wants to improve must continually look for ways to improve their current results. This is done by constantly the current standards and "ways of doing things" to find better alternatives.

Embracing an entirely different mindset may be the best way to challenge an organization towards improvement. PwC's Agile Project Delivery Confidence report found that success rates improved by 28 percent for businesses taking an Agile approach to team projects.

The Agile approach is a unique take on the process of working together both independently and as a group, suitable for both small and large businesses. It even has its own vocabulary and variations within the mindset so that it can be tweaked and modified to fit every team's needs. There is no hierarchy within an Agile team, allowing everyone to share their opinions and encourage self-management and teamwork.

When making such a big change it is wise to provide your team with the proper tools to make the transition as easy as possible. A lot of project management systems today support an Agile workflow. Teams can communicate and organize projects through the connected dashboards to define team roles and keep everyone on track to hit deadlines.

There is nothing more limiting than sticking to the status quo because that is the way that things have always been done. Therefore, a truly innovative and challenge embracing culture must seek and try out new ideas that push for growth and progress. Setting and resetting workflows throughout the organization can help teams to find the systems that work best for them. But, it is also important that each change is implemented correctly with the systems and tools that support the new way of doing things.

Related: 6 Ways to Keep Your Startup Agile While Growing

2. Get your team talking about their industry.

If your team is going to challenge itself and push for innovation and growth, it is necessary that they stay knowledgeable about their business and industry. Being the first to know when big changes occur can also mean that your organization is the first to find a new solution. However, it is not up to company leaders alone to stay up to date with the latest changes. Everyone in the organization should do their best to stay aware of the conversations and trends that are going on related to the business.

Setting up an alert system that tracks company mentions and industry related content is very helpful for keeping everyone engaged with industry news. Social listening tools can be programmed to send out alerts whenever specific keywords (like your company name) or general information (industry related news) is posted online. It not only monitors social media mentions, but blog posts and online articles as well. Take the next steps to measure the impact of specific stories on various audiences so your team is prepared to address issues and answer questions that customers may have.

Creating a company-wide network such as a Slack thread or a private Facebook page that makes it easy to share stories and industry updates is a good starting point. Encourage employees to share their opinions, ideas and thoughts on the matter. Cultivating a culture of learning will help everyone stay on the top of their game.

Related: 12 Ways to (Legally) Spy on Your Competitors

3. Hire based on people analytics.

Company culture is shaped by every single person who is a part of the organization. Therefore, hiring decisions must be made very carefully to ensure no one undermines the dynamic of the internal environment.

Incorporating "people analytics" into the recruiting process is the best way to ensure that every new hire is a good one. People analytics is essentially a way to put a person's soft skills, aptitudes and even their personality traits into defined metrics to see if they qualify as an ideal fit, in order to prevent employee-HR goal conflicts.

Recruiting tools powered by AI can actually "learn" what qualities a good candidate needs in order to mesh with the company culture. Data-driven recruiting systems screen applicants and use people analytics to identify skills and personality traits that signal a strong fit. The analytical reports from these systems measure each applicant's skill levels and aptitudes against historical data to help recruiters make more informed decisions from the get-go.

The secret to hiring top talent is to have a recruiting strategy in place that will make it easy to determine who the ideal candidate will be. So, before you go looking for new employees, ensure that your hiring team understands the qualities that are necessary for building a challenge-driven culture. Out of the box thinking skills, creativity, and ambition are all qualities that may not be listed out right on a resume, but they are nevertheless important to possess if a candidate is going to fit the mold.

Related: 'People Analytics' Can Save You From Costly H.R. Mistakes

It is impossible to grow if you are not challenged, so maintaining a culture that embraces challenges rather than avoid them is essential for innovation. Coasting by on auto-pilot is simply not an option for a company that wants to succeed. It is up to leaders to create a work environment that faces challenges head-on by building a strong culture from the very beginning with great talent who will push the status quo. From there, teams should take it upon themselves to push for innovation and improvement by testing various workflows and finding a system that works for everyone.

Manish Dudharejia

Founder and president of E2M Solutions Inc.

Manish Dudharejia is the founder and president of E2M Solutions, a full service digital agency specialized in website design and development, ecommerce, SEO and content marketing. Dudharejia is passionate about technology, marketing and startups.

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