As a part of my personal development I have recently joined a group of like minded business owners on a 12 month mastermind programme which has taken me and my business, HR Elite from strength to strength. Not only have I been learning from my colleagues on this course as we share our many business experiences but we have also had the opportunity to hear from experts who have presented to us on some of our sessions.
One expert, Hannah Power, has opened my eyes to the importance of finding my niche. What is it that I am specifically good at? What am I the expert in? What is it that I can really home in on that makes me exceptional? Being a generalist HR practitioner is not my niche. Yes, I can advise on all things HR but what is it that I am particularly good at. This led me to really look at what specific aspects of HR I am the best at and after a lot of ‘peeling the onion’ I believe I have found my niche… Assisting professional service SME’s to get the best performance out of their staff.
This then led me to survey a number of current and past clients, current and past colleagues and friends who were business owners to establish what exactly they want from me and my HR Consultancy business. And surprise, surprise the results found that they want from me and my business exactly what we are the best at – getting increased performance out of their staff.
The results actually drilled down into this a little further where the top three priorities for these professionals was improved employee performance, greater employee productivity and a better workplace culture, one where staff are prepared to naturally go the extra mile.
This got me thinking about work we are already doing with some of our current clients on culture and employee performance where we have been seeing fantastic results.
I’m personally working very closely with three different Companies at the moment on these exact areas and over the last 18 months we have seen a massive shift in employee performance and a culture that not only the business owners are extremely happy with but one where the staff have told us through their staff survey that they actually enjoy coming to work a whole lot more than they have ever done before. So, I hear you ask… How have we done this?
Company Vision and Values
My first port of call was to look at how each of these companies communicates it vision and values. Some were doing it a bit, others hadn’t. I therefore took some time to work with the management team on their company vision and values. Where the Company already had these in place it was about promoting and communicating these to staff so that everyone knew where the Company wanted to go which meant that each staff member could see what role they had to play in assisting the Company in getting there. For Companies who didn’t know what their vision and values were we worked on what the vision was and what values the company held and wanted each of their staff members to live and breath on a daily basis. It was a lot of hard work but also fun working with the managers and staff on what they believed their values to be and how these would support the achievement of the vision.
Recruitment, Selection and Induction
Another major part of work that was investigated at the beginning was the recruitment and selection processes in use and the induction process when staff were coming through the on boarding process. Typically the companies were using traditional face to face interview techniques for selection and then finding once the new appointee started they weren’t actually the ideal candidate the recruiting manager thought they were. I questioned with them the validity of the face to face interview and we then stared to look at other selection techniques ranging from aptitude tests, personality tests right the way through to assessment centres. Having implemented some more rigorous selection methods these companies began to find that they were recruiting the best candidates for the role and new appointees they were happy with. However, they were also mindful that once they had taken these new absolutely suitable recruits on that they needed to make sure they would stay with the Company. This was achieved through looking at the company induction process ensuring that the new appointees transition from one company to another was smooth and that they were happy, supported and well informed about their new employer when they started in their new post.
The words ‘performance management’ often come with negative connotations of managing under performing staff, however, this term actually comes from a positive standpoint of managing performance to get the best out of staff. With each of the companies I have worked with we have identified a performance management system that works for them and this doesn’t necessarily involve appraisal meetings. Yes, some do still use a traditional appraisal process but we have really worked hard at making sure this fits with what the company wants to achieve to meet its corporate targets and to meet the needs of the staff. Others have taken a more modern approach to performance and are not using an appraisal process at all but have focused on effective feedback and the setting and achievement of objectives.
Through 360 degree feedback questionnaires and staff surveys the feedback we are getting from the workforces is very positive and I have absolute confidence that we have taken each company to even greater heights with its culture and employee performance which has then naturally led to increased productivity.
If you are interested in changing your company culture and getting greater performance out of your staff please do not hesitate to contact us at the HR Elite offices on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01206 700690. We are here to help take the headache of employee performance problems from you to allow you to focus on your core business.