As part of FIDI 39 Club’s action on sustainability, the group is planning to address the issue of sustainable employment with a new series of events focused on coaching and mentoring the next generation of movers. Jackie Stouffer explains the rationale behind the launch
Sustainability is quite clearly the buzzword of the day. Environmental sustainability, economic sustainability, social sustainability… but what about sustainable talent? What does this mean, how does a company work towards this – and is it really necessary?
How about another buzz-phrase – succession planning. What does it look like in each of our companies, how do you build it, and are we already too late?
For many companies, these are tough questions – and sometimes, tough questions tend to be swept aside, put at the bottom of the to-do list to ‘deal with later when we have time’ (or the industry favourite, ‘after peak season’).
Here are another couple of tough questions: how many peak seasons does an average move coordinator in your company make it through before they burn out; and how much time does your firm spend trying to attract and train new hires to replace this talent?
At what point will we all decide to address the urgent need to not only retain the skilled employees that we all have, but also to attract fresh talent to the industry?
The FIDI 39 Club has decided that there is no better time than the present to confront these topics head on. Over the coming months and years, it will place a heavy emphasis on career planning, succession planning, and mentorship – not only with its members, but within FIDI as a whole.
To propose solutions to help companies with talent retention and succession planning, you first have to ask what made your current employees join the company in the first place. Chances are, you will be able to categorise the answers into one of two groups:
1. Those who ‘just fell into this industry’.
We should all be honest enough to admit that none of us woke up one day and decided to be a mover. Most of us didn’t necessarily seek it out – at least not specifically. We stumbled upon it one way or another, and for some odd reason we ended up liking it. It gets into your blood, and then you are hooked.
2.Those who were born with the industry in their blood
Family-owned and run companies are incredibly common in this sector, and the business stays within the family over generations.
In both of the above cases, new employees and fresh talent typically comes from the younger generation. So, the next question is: how do you ensure you retain young hires long enough to build a skilled and talented workforce?
To answer this, the industry must look beyond mere salary requirements, and dig deeper. What can we offer the young generation in terms of growth – both personally and professionally? Can they see a future for themselves within the company? If they cannot see a clear path forward for themselves, this greatly increases the chances of them departing.
The FIDI 39 Club Board illustrates this point perfectly. We have a Vice-President, a Country Manager, a Partner Relations Manager, a Director, and a CEO – all under the age of 40. These roles take years, decades even, to build experience – starting from the ground up. We come from a variety of backgrounds: Isabelle and Andrew work in their family businesses; Michael’s father worked in an industry related to moving; and Jess and I fell into it.
What has kept us all here is the ability for us to grow within our careers. The path to growth may not have been clear-cut from the start in each individual case, but it was carved, nonetheless.
The FIDI 39 Club’s goal is to help clear that path for others, not only by engaging 39 Club members and communicating about these topics, but also by engaging the senior membership of the FIDI community in a mentorship capacity.
Mentorship and succession planning are key to talent retention. An organisation that is successful in mentoring young talent – giving them the knowledge and tools to succeed, while simultaneously providing a safe space to fail as they grow – is an organisation that is much more likely to keep its staff. At the same time, the organisation must demonstrate an accessible career path, giving new and/or young hires something to work towards.
Succession planning is vital to sustaining a talented workforce in any given company. If the opportunities are not provided, they will be sought out elsewhere in another company.
Throughout the remainder of 2022 and into 2023, the FIDI 39 Club plans to begin to roll out a series of mentorship events focused on engaging, coaching and advising the up-and-coming generations of the industry. We will start slow and build momentum.
We are calling on the FIDI community to assist in the launch of this initiative, and ask for your participation in online surveys that will be sent to both Club and general FIDI members to gauge interest in the events, as well as the information to be covered.
Specifically, we are calling on the industry veterans out there who have experienced and witnessed what the failure to retain good talent can lead to.
With your combined knowledge, mentorship and guidance, we can create an initiative from which the entire FIDI community can benefit and learn, with the ultimate goal of addressing and improving sustainable talent and growth across FIDI Affiliates.
There is no better way to ensure the future success and legacy of your own company – and of the FIDI Association as a whole – than by focusing on your successors.
The FIDI 39 Club is excited to begin this next phase of growth and is looking forward to the year ahead.
If you are interested in learning more about the FIDI 39 Club’s activities, contact the FIDI 39 Club Board members, or Lydia Cope at firstname.lastname@example.org