A good strategy for your business is nothing without the people to put it into action. From yourself as a leader through your direct reports and onto the rest of an organisation, everyone contributes to the execution of strategy.
Often, recruitment and human resources demands will inform an integral part of a company’s strategy, so it’s important for leaders to understand where their talent gaps may be and how they can remain attractive for future employees.
Understand your recruiting demands in advance
Ideally, you’ll be able to look at the strategy that’s guiding your business and know which positions you’ll need to start lining up candidates for. You need consider how your business might look in one, two and three years time and compare it with your current staff. Especially consider who has the potential to grow.
Building a succession plan to fill prospective gaps doesn’t just mean focusing on who you’ll have to hire. Take a look at which employees in your current staff can be developed to fill future roles as well. This will give you a better idea of which talent will come from internal sources and which you’ll need to recruit.
Build a bench of possible candidates
Just like sports teams have a bench of substitutes ready to enter the fray if someone drops out, businesses can also benefit from having a list of possible candidates or other people in the industry they can tap on the shoulder when a vacancy opens up.
You can create a list yourself. Remember to also pick the brains of your team. But this is where a recruitment company can also be valuable, helping you to tap into a network of passive candidates and nurture them before you’re even exactly sure when you might have space for them. You will probably go broke if you use a recruiter to fill every position in your company, but recruiters see people you don’t and have good industry connections and candidate networks.
Make your business attractive to candidates
Every part of your business has to be attractive to the talent you’re trying to appeal to. If you’re searching for people in areas with known skills shortages, any weak links will have an even greater impact.
It’s especially important to boost your digital presence, as the growth in online job advertisements means that people will be Googling you whilst applying for jobs. If your site looks out-of-date or is hard to navigate, it will send a strong message – and not a positive one.
You can also be active on social media to give a stronger impression of your role in the market. Many of the larger tech companies are masters of this. For example, a quick scroll through SAP’s Twitter feed makes it clear they’re an industry leader. This doesn’t mean you have to post about job opportunities all the time, simply communicating about your actions and achievements in your chosen industry can have a significant effect on how you’re perceived.
Find out what current and future staff think about the business
You need varied and honest feedback to truly understand how other people – whether they’re former, current or potential employees – perceive your business. When people leave your business, it’s essential to use an “exit interview” to understand why. However, to get a more truthful answer, you may need to follow up a few months after they’ve departed, as this is generally when they’re more honest and open about their real motivations.
I also suggest that you get feedback on your current recruitment efforts. Ask people what they think about your website, your social media presence and anything else that could impact the way people think about your organisation.
By: TEC Chair, CEO mentor and coach Graham Jenkins
This is a great time of year for you to either come up with or review you professional objectives or personal goals and how they fit with some of the grander strategic goals for the business. It’s a chance for you work out which of your priorities are really critical for yourself and for the organisation.
Planning for an organisation’s future involves not just creating a strategy but also managing the human resources necessary to actually implement it. However, you also need to take responsibility for yourself.
Sit, reflect and be still
When asked what the first thing he will do when he leaves office, Barack Obama simply said he wanted to be still and reflect, and I think that’s something we need to do as well. From time to time, we should give ourselves the chance to reflect and think about priority goals for us and our businesses.
That includes – although it may sound cliched – thinking about things like what we need to do to stay innovative, what could disrupt us and how could we disrupt our own industry? Consider the steps you could take to prepare for these concerns and work out what you would have to do to start achieving them.
Coach your direct reports
It’s all well and good for you to be across your strategy, but communicating that to your direct reports so it can cascade throughout the rest of the organisation is an ongoing discussion, not a one-off meeting or presentation.
Each month, you should sit down with these people for a coaching session where you’re not just telling them what to do, but actually providing guidance, listening to their concerns and helping them meet their goals. It’s an approach that links personal and professional goals, helping your team understand the options open to them and which ones are worth focusing on moving forward.
Understand that there’s a deficit of trust in the world
Without getting too political, a few events over the past year heavily publicised an issue that’s affecting people at all levels: There’s a shortage of trust between people and their leaders.
I think the thing that’s really going to separate regular organisations from great ones over the next year or two will be the sense of trust they can cultivate. Employees and customers have lost trust in leaders on all fronts, from those in their place of work through to politicians and media leaders as well.
Each company will have to investigate its own unique concerns, but in general business leaders should be asking how they can ensure their employees trust them and what they need to do to grow and maintain that. The days of people listening to you purely because you are the boss are over, so you’ve really got to work to overcome that trust deficit that’s out in the world at the moment.
What did you overlook last year?
Creating, communicating and implementing a strategy demands a significant personal investment. Not only have you got to manage your own personal productivity, you need to be on top of how the rest of the organisation is engaging with your strategic plans.
Consequently, it’s easy to let thing fall by the wayside. One of the first things that’s often neglected is communication because it seems like it’s just easier to do everything yourself. That’s an unwinnable game, because you just can’t take on that amount of work, you have to delegate to people you know can dissipate the message throughout the organisation.
The more you overload yourself and forget to communicate, the quicker it all spirals down to impact the rest of the people you rely on, consequently eroding that trust that’s so difficult to create in the first place.
By: TEC Chair, CEO mentor and coach Jerry Kleeman