My roles over the last 7 years have largely been focused on operating model design, whether that’s developing internal models or helping clients develop detailed target operating models and transition plans. So whenever I start a new job, I always analyse the existing operating model of the business I’m working for… nerdy I know, but its my way of understanding how a business ticks.

Having recently changed jobs, joining Simplify Consulting as Head of Frameworks, I am in that phase again. Being a “new starter” particularly in the current climate, it’s really made me consider some of the operating model challenges we and other businesses are facing to interview, onboard, retain and reward employees.

Is it a new mountain to climb?

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, a job for life was becoming increasingly rare and the “new norm” sees the average person changing jobs 5-7 times during their career. With an ever-increasing number of career choices, 30% of the workforce will now change career every 12 months…. By the age of 42 you could have had 10 jobs.

At the age of 36 (I know I look far far younger) I’m already at my 4th place of work, 5 if you count a near 3 year secondment, so by the time I retire I’m likely to be well into double digits.

So how do we navigate from one role to another and begin to add value as quickly as possible without feeling like its climbing Everest each time.

What can and what are employers doing?

Even with the most confident, seasoned, and knowledgeable professional there is a learning curve – there always will be. So how do we enable employees to hit the ground running, add value from day one and most importantly, make them feel that way?

In the same breath, how do companies mitigate the risk of staff turnover. What can they do to shorten the path to competency while aiming to retain the best and brightest?

It is safe to say there is no silver bullet, but let’s make the summit easier to reach.

Implementing a robust onboarding process with a detailed path to competency is a great first step. Making material readily available with access to subject matter experts, including a blend of internal and external training providers, setting clear milestones or review points, and making it an enjoyable experience are all things companies should be taking into consideration.

However, if that onboarding process is a tick box exercise to remain compliant or physically get them through the front door but doesn’t consider the employees path to competency and beyond, in combination with an employee value proposition then trouble could lie ahead. Even if companies get that part right, if processes are broken, standardisation, optimisation and documentation is poor then feeling like and adding value can be hard work and unnecessarily elongated.

Operating Models Shorten The Climb

It’s about the bigger picture.

No single solution will shorten the journey to competency, nor will it stop valued employees from leaving. We like to work with companies to help ensure they have target operating models that include:

  • Well documented, robust, optimised, scalable and simplified processes to reduce the path to competency, reduce the impact of high turnover and increase customer satisfaction
  • Understand and optimise their headcount, creating the right organisational structure
  • Work to define and embed a high-performance environment

All of which contribute to the environment where employees want to stay, and employers mitigate the risk of staff turnover.

The Simplify Way

I have been at Simplify for a short amount of time and it already feels far longer (in a good way). Part of that is due to a great workplace culture but another part is the way the business works – its operating model.

We certainly practice what we preach!

At Simplify we provide operating model consultancy services to help our clients develop detailed target operating models and transition plans. Please get in touch if we can help guide your operating model development or deliver process improvements.

Written by Nick Clarke – Head of Frameworks at Simplify Consulting