It’s almost the end of another year. Can you believe it? Many of us will be starting to wind down for the Christmas break, or, more likely, desperately trying to complete to do lists. In terms of HR, your focus right now is probably managing the Christmas period in the office, or maybe, (though hopefully not), picking up the pieces after the office Christmas party. But before you wind up for the Christmas break, it is important to look ahead to next year and turn your attention to your 2017 HR strategy. Now’s the time to understand how HR will be required to support your 2017 business strategy, and also take stock, learn from experiences and make improvements for the year ahead.
Here’re are a few things to consider for your 2017 HR strategy.
Compensation and company benefits
The new year typically brings with it annual salary increments and bonus payments. Now’s the time to conduct a salary review to benchmark your company against the marketplace and understand the resourcing and retention budget required for your 2017 business plans.
You may wish to offer premium company benefits to be more competitive than other companies in the market. If you have benefits in place already, are you communicating them well enough? Make sure you have an efficient and regular communication strategy in place to improve benefit take up and inform employees of policies and guidelines.
Improve your hiring processes
It is likely that recruitment will be vital to your business growth strategy in 2017, and improving the recruitment process will help you increase efficiency and hire better quality candidates. Consider your current recruitment process. What are the successes? Where can you improve? Consider pre-screening tools, improving job descriptions and reviewing interview processes. For more information on recruitment, read our recent blog posts:
Onboarding strategies offer new employees a better insight into an organisation’s strategy and culture. They also help them quickly get up to speed with their job role. First impressions count. Getting them engaged from day one when they are feeling most positive, will help them bed in quickly, reflect the companies values and increase their confidence in fulfilling their role. Request open and honest feedback from new starters and use it to revamp processes, or improve your onboarding strategy for 2017.
Keep skills up to date
Do you need to invest in training to align the skills of your workforce with your organisation’s strategy for 2017? Training and development are vital to ensure the continued growth of organisations whilst demonstrating that you value, and are willing to develop your team. Training goes hand in hand with employee career progression. The cost of developing existing employees, (with the knock-on benefits to morale, engagement and loyalty) must be considered against the recruitment costs of hiring more experienced team members.
Training doesn’t necessarily need to be costly. You may have the skills in house, in more experienced team members, that can be harnessed to develop those that are less experienced.
Test out a new education initiative, measure the results and strategise for the rest of year.
Employee engagement and culture
Now’s the time to work on your employee engagement strategy. Employee engagement is a vital part of improving motivation, productivity, employee retention and well-being, as well as building a sense of pride and loyalty. Consider mentoring for newcomers, charity projects, celebrating achievement, recognition schemes, social events, feedback exercises, office decoration and team building exercises.
Poor communication is one of the biggest frustrations in many businesses, particularly when they reach a size where there are multiple departments, with competing objectives. Relationship building, however, is vital to productivity, efficiency, and workplace harmony. How can you improve communication processes between departments and team members? Consider the best ways to collect information and the best channels to use to share it, whilst at the same time, avoiding meeting overload!
Time is limited, and energy is often lacking in December, but getting ahead with your HR strategy for next year, will pay dividends. Creating the foundations now will help you hit the ground running in January.
St Patrick’s Day is once again upon us and this Thursday people around the world will be dressed in green and gold, Guinness in hand and post probably having a good’ol time. Whilst not a public holiday in most of the world should workers be given the day off anyway? Would this increase productivity?
A recent survey by the Chartered Management Institute suggests that a majority of workers are cancelling out their own statutory leave every year owing to the advent of handheld devices. Smartphones and tablets were responsible for 4 out of 5 of the 1,500 managers surveyed working an extra hour a day answering out-of-hours emails and going over documents. The extra hours equate to just over 29 days per year cancelling the 28 statutory days leave. The study also suggested that putting in too many hours leads to work related injury, both physical and mental, and may result in burnout.
Recruitment giant Reed.co.uk found that 54% of workers forgo an average of 3 days leave a year and a quarter of Brits would rather forfeit the occasional day of than leave work unfinished or fall behind. There are many reasons workers choose not to take annual leave days and often this is attached to company ethos around the matter; many employees feel guilty about taking statutory leave, further they dread returning to an overflowing inbox and an intensified workload. Studies also suggest that staff who don’t want to take their statutory leave, rolling it into the next year, end up taking sick days which balances the figure out in any case.
The average French worker clocks 1,500 hours per year and can expect to receive 30 days paid vacation. Traditionally the french working week equals 35 hours and any hours worked after this are be considered overtime. The Office of National Statistics released a report in 2013 showing that on average the British worker is 27-31% less productive per hour than their French and German counterparts. Whilst this cannot be attributed to annual leave alone the figures certainly suggest a less is more approach has been paying off on the continent. French companies spend more on labour saving practices rather than recruiting meaning they get more for their money out of their workers per hour.
Some firms have started to adopt unlimited holiday policies which allow employees to take off as much time as they want provided their work gets done. Global giant Virgin is one such company, CEO and magnate Richard Branson notes in his book ‘The Virgin Way’;
“It is left to the employee to decide if and when he or she feels like taking a few hours, a day, a week or a month off, the assumption being that they are only going to do it when they feel a hundred percent comfortable … that their absence will not in any way damage the business — or, for that matter, their careers!”
The model is results focused and companies who also adopt a similar system, such as Netflix, expect employees to be high performing rewarding performance with holiday. At Netflix nobody tracks employee’s time; instead of micromanaging how employees do their work the employee is given autonomy over how they manage their time, this is said to promote a more efficient and responsible workforce. A focus is placed on results and managers are kept in the loop though effective communication and accountability policies. It is believed that unlimited holiday attracts talent and pays off in terms of retention and reduced sickness.
However there has been growing concern that this does more harm than good as the lack of a clearly defined annual leave policy makes employees question; how much is too much holiday? Employees are reluctant to take up leave as they feel their asking for leave will have an impact on their career prospects. The lack of clear guidance can lead to employee’s over working themselves which can have the opposite effect on their health and well-being that unlimited holiday is supposed to promote.
Annual leave policies are extremely important for any business given the potentially damaging effects of getting it wrong. It seems that company culture towards leave can have a real impact on employee wellbeing and of course productivity and sickness.
CrosseHR provides consultancy services to businesses and can help address policy issues, managing leave and sickness as well as improving employee relations. Call 0330 555 1139 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, you can also follow us on twitter for HR highlights, insights and updates.
I’m rather taken with this new notion of Holacracy first coined by Brian J Robertson, so in my earlier post I just provided an overview. After a bit more research I am able to provide you with a more in depth view of how it works which is described below.
To say there’s no hierarchy in a holacracy is inaccurate. There is, but it’s much less rigid than a traditional structure. Its constitution is made up of semi-autonomous circles, with each circle having its own goals and responsibilities. Every circle has a ‘lead link’ that designates people certain roles. Each circle exists within the context of a higher-level circle, but no circle is fully autonomous.
With holacracy, governance meetings structure how the work gets done, making it clear who is responsible for what and with how much authority. Each employee has complete control over the roles they’ve been assigned or elected to. However, they are still accountable, so if there’s a problem or they have an issue with a colleague, it’s their responsibility to sort it out.
Hiring and firing
In a typical top-down management structure, the power to hire and fire is usually in the hands of managers. With holacracy, it’s less personal, making it more about who is the best fit for each role. But because there are no managers, who actually does the hiring and firing you might ask?
As with any business, employees can be removed, but the process needs to be decided upon by governance, a committee sometimes referred to as an anchor circle. A circle’s lead link can remove someone from a role and find a better fit from the talent pool available if necessary. An employee may also be removed if they can’t find enough roles to do within the company.
Is holacracy right for you?
A company without managers might sound like a recipe for chaos, but supporters of holacracy say it actually has the opposite effect because a workplace free from office politics results in fewer tensions and empowers employees. Ultimately, it gives everyone a voice, which fuels more ideas and opportunities, and is extremely flexible, which is paramount for success in a modern workforce.
However, it isn’t for everyone, and shouldn’t be undertaken without due consideration. Without any one person truly in charge, it’s not always clear where the buck stops when it comes to issues such as company under performance and finance. Also, because staff aren’t promoted or given a clear career path, they may be tempted by more lucrative offers elsewhere. It might also be difficult for current managers to relinquish power.
This video by Mike Derheim CEO of The Nerdery explains the concept of holacracy , “What if everyone at your company was a co-president”
I went on holidays recently and for lack of something better to do, I started reading the BA business magazine. I came across an article by Brian J Robertson on a new concept he has invented for leadership and management called Holacracy. In short holacracy is designed to ensure that good ideas that may come to benefit the organisation overall don’t get stymied by the boss at the top or worse someone else en route.
The old traditional hierarchical management and leadership structures that we are all used to are deisgned to control and that sometimes is no bad thing after all it has worked for centuries at least since the Romans, but the worry with this recently is that it really is controlled at the top and that could well stifle innovation and creativity, whilst it works brilliantly in traditional organisations, it will not work in newer, innovative start ups and creative, which is when the new economy or thought economy is headed.
So how does Holacracy work then, well according to Mr Robertson like this….
Holacracy is a management structure based on the tasks that a company needs to accomplish, not the people within it. This means you have no traditional hierarchy, managers or job titles. Everyone is their own boss within self-organised teams, responsible for influencing the company’s success and vision. Holacracy is a new way of running an organization that removes power from a management hierarchy and distributes it across clear roles, which can then be executed autonomously, without a micromanaging boss. The work is actually more structured than in a conventional company, just differently so. With Holacracy, there is a clear set of rules and processes for how a team breaks up its work, and defines its roles with clear responsibilities and expectations.
Holacracy also allows employees to do other things so they don’t get stuck in a rut. For example, if you’re an IT specialist you can spend some of your time pursuing another interest that will benefit the company, such as helping to run events or social media campaigns.
My experience of customer service pretty much goes like this, at best being treated like a mild inconvenience to be tolerated or pure and utter disdain akin to something scraped off one’s shoe.
So not expecting anything more than the usual poor customer service experience, I popped into the newly revamped Prestat coffee shop recently off Sloane Sq, for a chat with my friend Dawn. Being used to being ignored or barked at I did get quite a fright when the staff in Prestat smiled at me, greeted me, and actually made a bit of a fuss of me – were we actually experiencing that rare thing – decent customer service?.
So we all got talking (me, Dawn and the staff that is, the manager in particular) about the newly revamped coffee shop, chocolate (salted caramel truffles in fact), himself – Antonio from Italy, customer service (It had to be said), customers (good bad and the ugly).
Antonio praised the company, the product, he clearly loved his job and it was genuine, you cannot fake that level of enthusiasm.
Antonio and his team could not do enough for us and it showed, it showed in the atmosphere, in the conversations people in the shop were having, it was relaxing, convivial and made me want to go back, which I will and often. The Prestat team made us feel special, now that is one heck of a customer service experience.
Doing what I do, where a lot of time, effort and money is spent on a) recruiting staff b) then dealing with bad behaviour c) trying to motivate employees to do their job and provide good customer service regardless of the profession d) train them to do a good job.
I tried to figure out that pesky Holy Grail question that Prestat seems to have managed, is it pure good luck, is it recruitment, training, good product, good company, autonomy or a combination of all of the above, Prestat appears to have a good sense of itself, has been going for over a 100 years (started as a coffee shop in Oxford St before moving into chocolate) and has a royal warrant so if its good enough for her Majesty and all that.
I’m going back this week to find out more ………………………………….