Behind Employsure’s values-based performance equation

Edward Mallet, managing director of Employsure

Replicating other values-based organisations and even sporting teams such as the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team has been critical to the growth and success of workplace relations firm, Employsure, according to its managing director, Edward Mallet.

Values are central to the effective acquisition, management, development and retention of the right talent in the business, said Mallet.

“There is a common thread between our values-based recruitment and evaluating our people against these values in an ongoing fashion,” he said.

“The unique performance equation that forms the basis of our interviews prioritises values ahead of capability and ensures cultural alignment.”

Employsure works to a unique equation of performance = capabilities x values², which helps ensure staff are constantly empowered and company values remain central to business.

“By removing the focus of performance from being centred on capabilities, Employsure has seen an increase in staff satisfaction, retention and ultimately, an increase in overall business results,” said Mallet.

The firm’s quarterly check-ins (performance reviews) also focus heavily on these identified values, said Mallet, who added that emulating the likes of the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team’s values has been an important focus for him.

“While a sporting team may seem very different to a corporate team, there is a lot that can be learnt from the success they achieve by working together,” he said.

The firm’s HR team has acted as the gatekeeper to the company’s culture and success, Mallet  explained.

“They are responsible for driving and governing values based recruitment for us, ensuring that we only take on people who are culturally aligned, and then invest in the leading, learning and development to cultivate high levels of capability,” he explained.

“We have established a culture where individualistic tendencies and pure capability do not thrive”

Employsure entered the Australian market in 2011 with a unique business model aimed at providing workplace relations support to small businesses.

With 90 per cent of the Australian business landscape made up by SMBs, Mallet observed that this was an important sector to provide support to in order to continue shape Australia’s positive economic growth.

The firm now receives more than 2800 client advice calls per week from a client base in excess of 10,500.

“Our biggest challenge has been managing growth,” he said.

“Going from zero to over 400 staff in the space of five years, thereby becoming the biggest employer in our industry, creates unique people challenges.

“We are also bringing in a variety of professionals and asking them to work together in a very different way to what they are accustomed.

“It starts with finding the right people to establish a culture that we are proud of and contributes to success. This is a culture of openness.

“We have made some errors, but with a focus on training and values-based recruitment, we have managed to create an excellent workplace of which we are very proud.”

“We have established a culture where individualistic tendencies and pure capability do not thrive”

Employsure was recently recognised in the 2016 Best Places to Work awards (number 21 among Australian companies with more than 100 employees) by Great Places to Work.

The firm’s engagement score was well over 90 per cent, according to Mallet, who added that its Glassdoor reviews show a 4.6 star rating and a 91 per cent recommendation rate.

This is directly connected to the firm’s focus on values, he said.

“We have established a culture where individualistic tendencies and pure capability do not thrive,” he said.

“This has helped build a strong team ethos in a short space of time.

“Introducing this at such an early stage of the company, despite the demands of rapid growth, has been crucial to our success.”

The firm was also recognised in BRW’s 50 most innovative companies list, and Mallet said a “cookie cutter approach” to work and culture simply will not cut it in the age of innovation and start-ups.

“By embedding innovation at the core of our work, we are able to create a unique work environment for our team along with personalised and tailored solutions to suit each client,” he said.

Mallet explained that Employsure has also been successful thanks to “a determination to challenge the way things have always been done” with the aim of helping clients to achieve success, said Mallet.

“Firstly, we look at other industries and business models to understand what can be adapted and applied across all our business processes, from sales to service delivery,” he said.

“For example, we have analysed the behaviours of world class customer service companies, such as Salesforce, to change the way people engage with and perceive professional services companies.”

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