Keeping people in difficult times

Darell Oakley wrote the following introduction to people management for Fast Media Magazine.

Managing and leading one’s business and people is difficult at the best of times and even more stressful during times of financial pressure. The old adage of digging one’s well before you are thirsty is never truer and those businesses that have con­sistently focussed on their people tend to be better placed for not only the immediate difficult times, but for when the business environ­ment improves. So how do they do it?

How are they able to retain and at­tract staff? And how do they remain focussed on delivering profitable results? What follows is an abbreviated health checklist for managers and leaders of organizations to assess the key people processes they need to focus on in order to increase the robustness of their people strategy. Thereby ensure their businesses are better placed to deliver result.

Resourcing talent

Assess your business’s current and future human resources needs. Don’t simply think about today, difficult times pass and there will come a time when you will need to resource additional or different types of human resources .

Identify and pursue future talent which may be internal or external to the business which you may need to currently retain or engage.

Develop a clear basis for development and succession planning in order for people to feel you will continually invest in them.

Ensure your recruitment processes are robust, provide consistency and correlate to successful job perfor­mance.

Performance and Reward

Develop a business culture based on results and activities which drive the “what we want to achieve” and “how do we want to do it”.

Align business systems and em­ployee performance around your strategy. Be sure you are rewarding effective performance and effectively deal with under performance in a timely and consistent manner.

Focus on total reward. Money in itself does not ensure motivation. Although times are tough, punishing staff by removing other benefits, such as training, significantly damages loyalty and employee morale in the long run. You will pay the price if not now then certainly later when the economic climate improves and people have the opportunity to apply their talents more readily elsewhere

Employee engagement

Focus everyone on the culture and strategy of the business.

Engage employees in leadership issues you are facing. This may not always help the decision making but will certainly provide an opportunity for others to grow and feel involved.

Coach others to be solution driven and find their own solutions to problems. Greater autonomy provided with support encourages independence but ensures security.

Allow others to lead should the sit­uation allow. Giving someone else the opportunity to lead is a sure way to engage and develop them.

Consistently establish a culture of feedback as this is the key driver to innovation and openness within any organization..

Businesses that consistently thrive and grow no matter what the economic climate are those that not only look after their people in the here and now but pro actively plan and think about how they would best deploy those talents in the future.

Name: Darell Oakley at Infinitely people

Bio: Infinitely people is a strategic human resource consultancy, specialising in assisting businesses enhance their performance and results through actively developing and engaging their people.