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:
How to avoid discriminating during the recruitment process
How to structure a job description
Recruitment: How to recruit the right people
Do you have an onboarding strategy?
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.
Every business owner wants a more productive workforce and in these challenging times, it is vital that your team is working to it’s potential before you can even consider investing in further recruitment to grow your business. In order to maintain your position in the market, or overtake your competitors, a yearly increase in productivity is key. In most industries, productivity increases of between 10 and 25% are the order of the day. Can you honestly say that your team is delivering this year on year?
We could talk for hours on productivity factors as there are just so many things you should consider. As a starter for 10 here are our top 10 factors you should consider.
1. Great managers are worth their weight in gold
Managers play a vital role in delivering workforce productivity. They should be supported by HR to grow and develop to become great leaders. On the flip side, HR should endeavour to remove ineffective managers as they can be toxic to the morale and productivity of their teams. Managers must communicate goals and objectives clearly and hold employees to account. At the same time, coaching, mentoring and developing their teams is crucial to success.
2. Hire the right people
One of, if not THE most important factor you must consider is the people you hire. Work with your HR team to identify and employ high performers. People who will go the extra mile for both the business and to develop their own skill sets. Self-motivation is key and employees who are committed to personal development will be the key to driving your business forward. Even the best managers will struggle to motivate those who do not have personal drive.
3. Get your team bought in to the business strategy
Communicate the strategy of the business to your entire workforce and ensure that each team has defined and individual responsibilities in achieving this goal. Every employee should feel like a vital cog in the success of the business. The feeling of job satisfaction is often much more important to employees than financial reward. Share and celebrate successes and thank your workforce for the part they played. A simple thank you goes a very long way!
4. Control your control mechanisms
While it’s important for teams to be managed effectively, too much control can strangle decision making and employee development. It is a fine balance but one you must understand to create effective teams. Too little control can create waste and lack of focus. Too much can create blockages and hinder efficiency. Make sure you have the right balance.
5. Manage the working environment
There are so many parts of everyday office life that can have a real effect on the morale and productivity of the workforce. Get them wrong, especially if you have been informed of problems by employees, can quickly lead to a feeling of a lack of care and consideration. This in turn will have a knock on effect on morale and productivity. Take control of the simple things. Are there annoying lights flickering? Is it too hot or too cold? Are employees comfortable at their desks? Is it too loud or too quiet in the office? All these environmental factors play a part in daily productivity output.
6. The importance of goal and objective setting
Managers, teams and individuals should have goals and objectives that stretch them, but that can also be reasonably achieved with hard work. Employees should be coached to achieve them and praised for doing so. Goals should be measurable so progress can be easily communicated.
7. Prioritise objectives and tasks across the business
Throughout the business, tasks and objectives should be prioritised. This should filter down to teams and individuals so everyone is on the same page when it comes to the priorities they should make in their daily working lives. Many employees will spend hours on successfully completing a task. But if that task is of low priority to the business, then that time could be much better spent elsewhere.
8. Reward your employees
Monetary rewards have a big impact on performance and productivity. They should however, be tied to the achievement of goals and performance metrics. Monetary rewards on their own however are not effective at driving continual productivity growth. They should be used in conjunction with excitement factors and a team based company culture.
9. Encourage your teams to collaborate
Many processes and learnings can be shared between teams to improve efficiency. For example, if a team develops a solution to a problem it should be shared with others in the business that may also be suffering from the same challenges. Not sharing information and forcing each team to overcome the same obstacles by learning from their own mistakes is a sure fire way to lost productivity.
10. Ensure you resource effectively
Teams and individuals are often held back by resourcing issues. Perhaps they do not have an adequate budget to complete their tasks. Perhaps it is a lack of training or technology that is holding them back. Enable your employees to have the confidence to communicate these issues to their managers and empower your managers to provide solutions.
Contact us today to find out how you can boost your team’s productivity.
We have all seen it; the employee who slumps into their swivel chair, bags under their eyes as they gulp down a luke warm latte. Sleep deprivation is a huge problem in the UK with 1 in 5 people at any given time feeling fatigued and run down. A recent study conducted by the Rand Foundation with the University of Cambridge suggests that those who get less than 6 hours of sleep a night are far less productive than those who get 7 or 8 hours of sleep.
This situation of course puts the manager into a difficult position; how do you deal with a tired employee? It is difficult to handle given that sleep isn’t usually the problem but rather what is causing the lack of sleep and is it the managers place to know? Understandably the new father will be tired getting up to feed baby, the employee who is going through a divorce may be having sleepless nights, none the employees fault but still leaves productivity lacking. We have been looking at the top ways companies and managers deal with tired employees and have come up with a handy guide;
Spot the signs
Depending on the management style of an organisation it can be easy to miss that an employee’s fall in productivity is owing to them not getting enough sleep. Being able to spot that an employee is lacking in sleep will change your view of the negative effects of it, failing to do this may just leave you disappointed at the employee which will only add to their problems. Common signs include:
- Mistakes the employee wouldn’t usually make such as spelling.
- Forgetting things they usually remember such as meetings, appointments or details such as email addresses and phone numbers.
- Increased caffeine intake, they constantly have a coffee on their desk or have more coffee breaks than they usually would.
- The employee becomes noticeably clumsy.
- Emotional or angry outbursts.
- Increased sickness and/or sickness absence.
- The employee keeps falling asleep! If you keep seeing the employee dozing off at their desk.
Of course we all have days when we would rather be in bed and the trick is to spot those who have a problem with sleep generally rather than those who just have the odd day of fatigue. Spotting the signs is the first step to understanding why an employee is tired which is what the problem is rather than the sleep deprivation itself.
Wellness and Health Oriented
A healthy employee is a productive one and it is within the employers interests to foster a culture of mindfulness at work. Educating employees on healthy practices, especially in relation to sleep, helps not only to prevent sickness absence but also builds a happier and more productive workforce. Having a health culture doesn’t mean a short seminar or sticking up some posters around the office, it means having a clear and structured way of encouraging healthy practices in the workplace. You can be as creative as you like in finding ways to help your staff be healthy from workplace sports teams to providing fresh fruit. Here are just some ways we have heard about;
Wellness charters – a visible set of wellness principles that employees and employers agree to, this could include a culture of openness in which employees agree to come to their managers when they feel their health is affecting their work or their work is affecting their health. Charters should always include how the employer will resolve, or attempt to address issues.
Active workplaces – as mentioned above a sports team is a great way of getting employees active whilst at the same time building on team work. Activity days are also a great way of getting employees out and pulling them out of their routines and comfort zones. Having a regular activity day on work time doing something that is a bit out of everyone’s box will help employees to discover the fun in being active.
Whatever it is you come with the most important thing to put across to your employees is that you genuinely care about their health and have made a commitment to make your workforce healthy. A healthy culture in the workplace is not something that can be achieved quickly, however the benefits of a workforce mindful of it’s health will ultimately benefit the bottom line.
Tighten up overtime
Whilst for many employers overtime is essential it is also a way for already tired employees to become exhausted. This problem is pertinent amount tired employees with money troubles, to fix the very problem keeping them awake at night take on extra hours which only makes them more tired. It is a good idea to take a look at your over-time policies to be on approval only and cap hours.
If you see a pattern of sleep deprivation then the quickest way to resolve the situation is to ask. It is important that asking is done in a caring and concerned way rather than disappointed and angry. Again the most likely scenario is that the employee’s lack of sleep is owing to something in their personal life or their lifestyle, being angry at either won’t help to solve the problem. Asking the employee about sleep will help you to understand their attitude towards it and at the very least open a dialogue for them to talk about it and realise it is a problem.
In order to help the employee you might suggest referring them to your Occupational Health provider who will provide you as the employer guidance on managing the issue, but you need to get the employee’s consent before you refer.
If you have an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) in place then you could think about mentioning it to the employee. Most EAP providers operate a confidential helpline and advice service to employees who might be having debt, emotional or any other worries.
Annual leave and time off
Make sure your employees take their contracted annual leave during the leave year. Also monitor their working hours and patterns to ensure they are taking enough time off to recharge. It could be as simple as needing a week away to take charge again and recharge those tired old batteries.
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 ………………………………….
186 Pavilion Road, SW3 (across from Peter Jones)