Stephen Edwards, CEO of the Edwards Group, talks about how they have developed a team of young future leaders.
The average age of workers in the Edwards Groups head office is 28, with the oldest being 32. We wanted a young and dynamic office to challenge the traditional (and sometime entrenched) ways that our parks have been run and to push them to develop. To attract and retain younger people, we had to make many changes to the way we worked in our office. Here’s two examples:
Flexible Working Environments
To us, a flexible working environment is not just about what time you start and finish work, but how you best achieve what you set out to do. We found that our people want to be given the freedom to work in different ways at different times to achieve their goals in the best way they know how. For some people this does mean starting work later and then finishing later. For others, it’s being physically comfortable when they are working (you may find people with no shoes on or with blankets in our office). For many of us, it means being able to use our headphones while working. As a result of providing a flexible working environment, our business has become more outcome focused and we are getting the best out of our people.
Constant and Continual Communication
We found that keeping everyone in our office informed about what is happening across the entire business is important. This means that we hold regular, informal meetings where we give everyone the opportunity to update the group on their major projects. We also share the strategic direction of the entire business. Everyone can see what others in the business are doing and they have an opportunity to provide assistance or input where they can. This has fostered a strong team environment and importantly we know that we are all working on to move the business forward.
These are just two examples of changes that we made to help attract and retain younger people. We found that younger workers want to know that they are part of the bigger picture and want their workplaces to be flexible regarding how they go about their work.
Side note: This article was written on a public holiday while sitting on a couch in our office and listening to music (I also took my shoes off).
CEO, Edwards Group