Tag Archive for: HR

Engage Your Staff and Improve Your Bottom Line

Organisational leaders who exhibit a committed focus to people practices not only increase their chances of having a more engaged workforce but can also drive profit growth.

Recent studies by Real World Group and others have found that organisations with a highly engaged workforce have significantly better profit growth than those that do not.

There is no doubt that there is a high correlation between profit growth and employee engagement.

What do we mean by employee engagement?

Some people see it as being ‘job satisfaction’ but this can be a transactional relationship that is only as good as the organisation’s last round of perks or bonuses. Other people gauge employee engagement by employees’ emotional commitment to their organisation. While this is an important element it is only part of the engagement equation.

From our extensive experience in business consulting and human resource management, we take the view that employee engagement focuses on the:

  • Contribution of individuals to the organisation’s success
  • Personal satisfaction of individuals in their role.

We believe that aligning employees’ values, goals, and aspirations with those of the organisation is the best method for delivering the sustainable employee engagement required for an organisation to thrive and increase profits.

Full employee engagement represents an alignment of:

  • maximum job satisfaction – “I like my work and do it well”, with
  • maximum contribution – “I help achieve the goals of the organisation”.

Leadership commitment is one of the key features of organisations that rank highly in relation to employee engagement and effective human resource practices.

There is a very strong correlation between leadership commitment and employee engagement.

While the need to build employee engagement within a workforce may seem clearly obvious to many employers and HR managers, some businesses still fail to understand the importance of effective human resource practices to develop and engage your people.

While leadership commitment needs to come from the top of the organisation it is important to understand the key role played by line managers who are critical to the building and maintaining of high employee engagement.

Building employee engagement includes:

  • Recruiting staff who are aligned with the organisation’s values
  • Promoting flexible workplace options for employees
  • Creating succession plans for key staff
  • Providing opportunities for continued employee growth

It requires managers to build their leadership skills and not just focus on their management skills and theories of human resource management.

Practical steps you can take to help encourage higher levels of employee engagement:

  1. Set a positive tone of partnership. This is not a performance appraisal (not that we are suggesting performance appraisals should be adversarial).
  2. Talk about the importance of the employee’s job and how it fits with the organisation’s larger goals.
  3. Discuss your employee’s top priorities. Many managers find gaps in perception which can have a negative impact on engagement.
  4. Ask ‘What support do you need from me?’ and ‘What kind of feedback is most useful to you?’
  5. Talk about ways to use the employee’s talents (the ones that this person enjoys using).
  6. Ask about job conditions: What gets in the way of great accomplishments? What gets in the way of a great day at work? What does the employee enjoy most?
  7. Discuss how you work together. It is not enough to agree you should meet regularly. Clarify what that term means to you both.
  8. Agree to meet again. You can’t have one discussion and check off the box that you have addressed your employee’s engagement successfully. Engagement levels are dynamic. Things change. The conversation lays a foundation for specific HR-related discussions about performance, development, or career management. It also establishes a common language you can use to check in quickly – and regularly – about engagement issues.

Employee engagement is an integral part of managing the human resources in your business which can transform unknown ‘resources’ into people who will engage with their work, engage with your business and drive profit growth.


The Importance of Cultural Resilience in a Downturn

If there is one thing that companies learn in an economic downturn, it is the importance of resilience – the ability of an organisation to withstand shocks and remain sustainable under prolonged periods of duress.

The most resilient companies display the following characteristics:

  • A high level of staff engagement
  • A low level of cultural entropy
  • A vision of the future shared by all employees
  • A set of values shared by all employees
  • A focus on adaptability and innovation

Not only do these qualities create resilience, they also lead to internal cohesion, a key component in building a strong internal community that can drive the goals and performance of the organisation. The current economic climate shows us that organisations that are strong on the inside are also strong on the outside.

Being strong on the inside means having a values-driven culture, a highly aligned, cohesive and effective leadership team, a low level of cultural entropy, and a high level of staff engagement. It means effective human resource management practices / people management to develop your people and develop leadership.

Cultural entropy is the degree of dysfunction in an organisation. It is the amount of energy consumed in unproductive work and is therefore unavailable for useful work. Cultural entropy arises from the presence of limiting values such as bureaucracy, internal competition, blame and fire fighting rather than an environment of promoting positive values.

The experience of our business consultants shows that low levels of cultural entropy are accompanied by high levels of financial performance and high staff engagement. Companies with these attributes are able to grow their incomes significantly faster than companies with high entropy.

The following checklist of actions will help you to build your organisation’s resilience, support you in traversing economic downturns, and place you in a strong position for success when growth rates pick up.

This checklist is based on the core principles of a ‘values’ driven organisational culture. Each of the six items on the checklist represents a critical step in building a sustainable organisation.

How to build your organisation’s resilience:

Step One: Be clear on your direction. Re-energise your vision, mission and values to build internal cohesion.

Step Two: Communicate with staff and customers: confidence is important. Ensure everyone knows what you are doing to get through when times are tough.

Step Three: Focus on your core business. Get lean. Streamline your systems and processes to reduce costs and increase agility.

Step Four: Learn to adapt to a changing environment. Eliminate activities that don’t add value.

Step Five: Build strategic alliances. Align with your customers and suppliers to create mutually supportive and beneficial relationships.

Step Six: Keep the long term in mind. Ensure your short-term plans do not compromise your long-term viability.

It all sounds fairly basic, but remember that successful organisations – both in boom times and downturns – are generally those that harness positive energy to consistently do the basics well. That includes consistent and effective human resource practices that develop and support staff and leadership to build and maintain a culture of resilience in your business.