How strong is your bench?
Today we’re talking Proactive, Strategic Human Resource Management For Maintaining Momentum.
Welcome back to another ADDA blog! I hope you’re finding these informative and interesting reading. We really love producing them for you and want to know what topics you would like to see covered next! If you have anything you’d like us to talk about, please comment below or write to us via our ‘Contact Us’ page.
Why are we talking about strategic human resource management and what do we mean?
Well let’s start by stating the obvious: you and your company have a goal that you’re all moving towards, yes? I hope so anyway! You’re like a pro football team, in that you all want to forge forward together and win the day (in that case by literally scoring goals).
That’s great! You want all of your teams and departments working together cohesively in pursuit of that end. No doubt your hiring strategy has been based, at least in part, around the best ‘team players’.
All well and good, but how can you maintain your momentum in the event of your A-team being taken down? As we’ve seen over the last year and counting: many companies just weren’t prepared for staff illness of this scale.
Now ok – global pandemic are (mercifully) rare. I’m not saying that you should have an entire company’s-worth of staff waiting in the wings at all times. Nevertheless; as a broader concern, reserve staff are really important when it comes to ensuring that you have you bases covered.
I’m not necessarily saying that you need two people for every role here. You could consider adopting more of an ‘understudy’ philosophy for existing staff, for instance. However you do it though, you want someone waiting in the wings, ready to pick up the mantle should someone be taken out of the game (to horribly mix my metaphors). More on this later.
All too often, we think of Human Resources as being a reactive service.
We think of it as being there to solve staffing issues as they arise, not acting proactively as a preventative. This can often lead to weeks on end of disruption and reduced productivity, while solutions are found.
At ADDA Infusion, we encourage our clients (and non-clients alike) to think of HR more as a strategic, proactive force within their company. They’re not just a ‘necessary evil’ or ‘non-profit generating department’. Your HR team can absolutely be brought into alignment with your business goals and objectives. Proactive, strategic Human Resource Management will help you to maintain your forward momentum, by ensuring that you have all the staff you need.
Here are some strategic human resource management tips, to get you started:
- Figure out exactly what you goal is – what do you want to achieve?! And be precise.
- Take stock of who you have & do a ‘skills gap analysis’!
- Figure out the cost effectiveness of training existing staff vs hiring new ones, in order to fill your skill gap.
- NB – Training and development is typically the best approach here, but it depends on your timescales and pressures. Hiring in the skills you need is usually more time-efficient, giving you a competitive edge. You’ll probably find that a mixture of both is optimal.
Remember: a team is greater than just its starting lineup!
You need a great bench and support staff behind your core team, in order for them to realise their maximum potential. I can promise you that this really will give you the competitive edge, whatever market you’re in.
Torturing the sports team analogy yet further – do you really think that a top sports team could wait four-to-six weeks for a replacement team member?! Of course not! And nor can your business. Imagine losing a key staff member for six weeks (and that’s a short period by the way, most recruitment can take a lot longer). How would that impact your teams ability to keep up with demand?
This is of course even more acute, the more specialised the skillset required. Data scientists or pharmaceutical experts, for example. You don’t want to be putting your business on hold for that long, especially if it relies on those kinds of skills for R&D in order to remain competitive!
It’s important to ask yourself: who are your future leaders?
If you were to lose someone right now, for whatever reason, who would step up to the plate and continue to lead? As a business owner, it’s vital that you have this in mind as you look at your human resource management.
I’m not talking about ‘succession planning’ or anything quite so grandiose as that. You’re not the royal family, waiting for a sovereign to die before the next person ascends the thrown. This is about business evolution planning!
You’re always going to have retirements, terminations, expansions, changing markets etc… You need to be looking at the world around you and the environment that you operate in. Are the people that you have and the skills they bring, suitable?
People are your most valuable asset. Having the right people to help you thrive in the environment that you operate in, is what will ultimately make or break your business.
People are also your most expensive asset, so you really want to be picking the right people, at the right time; in order to help you achieve your aims.
Don’t get caught over a barrel!
We’ve all been there, haven’t we? Some leaves your company, unexpectedly and completely out the blue. You have a massive panic on to get hiring and fill the gap as soon as possible. Compromises inevitably get made, in order to just get someone in the seat and doing the job. You’re on the back foot because you didn’t have contingencies in place.
You also might get caught in a situation where, you want to release some people because they’re just not right for your company and where it’s headed; but you can’t because there’s nobody else.
I actually came across this very scenario the other week:
A client had someone in place who was toxic, completely wrong for the job and causing big issues. Because they just could not find someone else in the required timeframe, with the necessary skillset: they had to put up with them.
This hurt them in the long run though (and it wasn’t even that much of a long run). Within the first year of that project team coming online, they had over 75% turnover of staff, all because of that one person. That’s huge! Imagine how much of an impact that had on their productivity.
- Your leaders are your management team
- Your ‘bench’ is your whole company!
- Investing in them will pay huge dividends over time
It’s also prudent to take a ‘bite-sized’ or ‘little and often’ approach to your investment in staff training and progression. Rather than constantly facing the expenses associated with having to be reactive to circumstance and constantly ‘fire fighting’.
With a work force that is resourced and able to deal with change as it presents itself, you’ll have a much stronger continuity of momentum and growth.
I would urge you to really take this approach when conducting your learning, development and skills analysis.
So how do you start implementing strategic human resource management?
- Firstly: focus on your employer brand. You have to be more attractive to the right employees, by having a reputation for being a good employer! You want your company to be the one that the best and brightest are campaigning to join.
- Secondly: get your training & development nailed down. This has a two-fold effect of not only up-skilling your workforce, but also impressing upon the more junior ranks that your company is somewhere to grow. You will cultivate a company-wide atmosphere of good will, that will translate into better retention and productivity.
- Thirdly: (perhaps in contravention of that last point) don’t be afraid of turnover! This is not the same as firing people with a Trump-like enthusiasm, and keeping everyone on edge. This is about having clearly defined goals for your staff and letting them know that you will hold them to account.
- Lastly: communicate your goals to everyone! Let your team know that they all play a vital role in the company’s success. With a clearly defined target to aim for, they will be able to self-manage a lot better as well. There will be no room for misunderstanding, and therefore far less wasted time.
Ultimately, you want a highly motivated team. With clearly defined jobs to do and goals to aim for. Within that clear structure; you will much more quickly get a picture of who are your star-players, who needs help and the areas they need help in, and who it’s time to let go.
One of the key responses from employees that we see, when we conduct our company surveys; is that employees want to feel involved. Think about it; you’d feel far more motivated too, if you felt a level of ownership and a stake in what you were helping to achieve.
Just like a top sports team, or retirement planning: you want to start your strategic human resource management early! This is not a six or even twelve-month plan. I’d suggesting thinking more along the lines of two years, with a view to drip feeding this renewed approach to your teams until it simply becomes how you operate anyway.
If you can reevaluate the way you view every one of your employees, from attracting the right ones to begin with, how you cultivate their talent, skills and ultimately; which of them can progress to leadership roles, in the future.
If you would like any help or advice with how you can better implement you strategic human resource management; please don’t be shy! Reach out to us here at ADDA Infusion and we will be happy to help.
Watch Adam’s video on this subject for more great insight!!