Editors Note: This is a guest post written by Trudy MacDonald – Managing Director of Talent Code. Her opinions are her own.
“Imagine where my business would be today (and what my life would be like) if I got this right 10 years ago!”
This was this statement from a customer that really got me thinking about the broader impact of getting the people side of business right.
Increased profits? More time to work on the business? More time with my family? More time for me?
Now I was starting to see the picture.
We all know people are our most important asset but we also know that people are the most difficult part of business to run. Whilst there is certainly no silver bullet to fix all, there are a few practical secrets to maximising the performance of your people that can really make a difference to business performance and to the lives of business leaders.
Fact: If we can improve the engagement of our people, we are much more likely to get discretionary effort (that’s your magic 10-20% more) and our people are more likely to stay with the business.
This starts at the top with a clearly articulated vision for your business.
Paint a picture of the future that your people can get excited about. Then we get to the important bit – work with your teams to define what “Great” looks like for every person in your business.
If you can effectively engage your people with this concept you have an effective “blue print” for all other people initiatives that will serve to maximise the performance of your people.
Now that you have defined ‘Great’ you can start to hold your people accountable for being great at their jobs. This is where your performance review and feedback mechanisms are critical.
A few key considerations to make this work well (and not a “tick box” exercise) are:
Whether you have a bonus scheme or not, the way you financially reward your people must be aligned to your definition of “Great” if you want a return on investment from your people costs.
Some important design tips that will make a measurable difference are:
Many of your people will be highly engaged by the prospect of developing their current skills or the skills needed to progress their careers.
However, in an attempt to meet this need many businesses will send their staff to generic leadership or management courses. If you have done this, ask yourself: what has changed since your people attended this course? Have you received a measurable return on investment? I have seen the best results from adopting the following approach:
It is critical that we recognise and reinforce “Great” when we see it. This has as much to do with the behaviours people exhibit as the results that they achieve. Consider tweaking the following approaches to suit the motivators of people in your business:
Many HR departments are perceived as cost centres, focused predominately on compliance and employee relations. With the right strategic focus, HR can be transformed into a profit driver through mobilising your people to maximise their performance (and have a great time while doing it).
Trudy Macdonald is the Managing Director and Founder of Talent Code Pty Ltd, helping businesses become “Great” by improving the quality and performance of their people.
Best Companies To Work For