Well, first things first; sorry for no article in the Winter edition. At the time I was supposed to be writing it, my office was 2 feet under water, with the ducks paddling around dodging computer cables while having a joyous frolic. Mind you, as I write this article, Sydney has again just been belted with more torrential rain and is under evacuation warning across most of the West. My little water issues are nothing compared to what the Sydneysiders are contending with, and my sympathy goes out to all who are, or have had difficulties.

Today, apart from the above, we have other significant challenges facing us at the moment … staffing being my main focus. In the Autumn edition of BuiltView (for those of you who have good memories) I wrote about, what the world is calling ‘the great resignation’ and how that is impacting on staff retention and stability generally. This article extends further into that topic but is developed more from a strategic perspective on what can be done now, in the short-term and then, our longer-term vision. This of course, is my take on the McKinsey 3 Horizon Growth Strategy and I am applying some of those fundamentals to our staffing issues, which I have termed, quite nicely I might add as ‘3 Horizon Staffing’.

To further set the scene of why a staff retention strategy needs to be developed, supported and is a critical success factor for any business, here are some key points from the Hay’s Salary Forum I attended in June 2022.

Five keys walk aways that I documented were:

  • 94% of businesses have a skill gap they cannot fill right now.
  • 83% of businesses see the skills gap as a major hurdle in delivering sustainable growth and profitability.
  • 61% of businesses not only want to fill that skill gap, but also want to increase their staff footprint.
  • An uncompetitive salary is now the number 1 retention issue facing employers.
  • Up to 25% of employees are looking for better conditions (salary aside) and a more flexible working environment.

Pretty sobering reading, given we are, at the time of writing, experiencing one of the most buoyant markets we have seen for quite some time. So, let’s explore

in more detail the 3 Horizons and how developing a strategy will significantly assist your businesses staffing aspirations.

A 3 Horizon philosophy is designed to keep the focus on what is important, both from a retention and growth strategy. In the words of McKinsey. ‘This strategic framework requires you to categorise your goals into 3 the different horizons’. Let’s look at how to do that:


This horizon is closely aligned with your current staff. It encompasses understanding the challenges faced by each individual and how you and the business can assist with delivering better outcomes for all. In this stage, you

need to get a deep understanding of the key staff you have, their strengths and their opportunities for growth. You need to view them like they are your biggest assets … because they are!

Now take some time to imagine your business without them (be nice) and how you would cope … if at all. What are the critical gaps and what would you do in the unlikely event they exited the building? Then think, well I don’t want that to happen, so how can I improve their conditions, either physically or within their benefits package. What short-term strategies, goals or excitement can I conjure up that will keep staff motivated, engaged, and how can I generally lift the culture within the business to be positive, outgoing and success focussed … while all the time having some fun … yes fun!


Who is the next up and coming executive in your business or department that has the potential to take over the reins if you want to go fishing or play golf … permanently?

Have you started the process, or are you even thinking about succession planning across all functions of your business landscape? It is not just your replacement (although, I am sure you are thinking your role is the most critical, because we are all indispensable … aren’t we!), but also the replacement of key staff within other departments … yes, they too are important! What development framework do I require to get ‘Billy’ from where he is today to where I need him to be … and more realistically, does he have the aptitude and personal skills to adapt. We can all relate to the star employee who is promoted into a role that they just do not have the skills to be successful in, and then look dumbfounded when they either fail, resign or both. A simple method of check and balance is a skills assessment measured against the current role and the proposed position, which identifies clearly what needs to be done if ‘Billy’ is to be a success. My only other comment is ‘If Billy fails … look to his manager … don’t blame Billy’.


This aspect is the most important, but often the one that is neglected or just forgotten. Ask yourself, how do I create an environment that staff love working in; in which they deliver above expectation and are happy to do so. Their work environment is supportive, collaborative and welcomes everyone’s input; while providing workplace flexibility, agility, and focusses on common outcomes. Does that sound like your establishment? If so, call me and I will come out and bottle some of your company DNA and share it with the rest of the industry … we all, at times, need a stiff shot of something. But seriously, question what your staff will be looking for in 3-5 years’ time from an employer and how can you get ahead of the curve. The tech businesses do it every day … yeah, I hear you … they are not in window and door manufacturing or glazing, but we too can be creative and offer employees something different. I now challenge you to come up with your own EVP—Employee Value Proposition— Question yourself, why do my staff stay with us now and what will make them stay with us long into the future? If you want to understand your EVP better, give me a call to discuss your thinking and how your EVP can be developed.

We are all in this fast paced, high-energy environment and often do not have (or make) time to build foundations for the future. If you are serious about being successful, start with your people; develop them; support them; train them; respect them …