What are you really looking for from your Employees?
I am sure you have heard the saying that there are two things that keep business owners up at night: Cashflow and People. It’s said so often because it’s basically true. The financial viability of your business is, of course, critical; your business survival depends on it. But the source of virtually all of your potential for a growing, profitable and sustainable business, lies in your people.
As a team of skilled and experienced HR Consultants, Recruitment and Employee experts servicing Australia from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, Employee Matters exists to ensure your business is achieving the success it deserves, by tapping into the talent, drive and commitment of your people.
What Kind of Business Are You?
At Employee Matters we typically see four types of business:
Crisis business – This is a business that is in despair. Typically we see these businesses being unaware of the People risks they have. For example, breaches of employment laws such as the Fair Work Act, Modern Awards or Health and Safety rules. In many cases they may even be aware of breaches but they either don’t care or don’t feel they can do anything about it – “how can I afford to pay my people Award rates and run my business?” is a typical catchcry. Often their workforce is hostile and their business performance is best described as dysfunctional.
The key to moving out of this ‘Red Zone’ business space is to recognise that you are in this state, and to have the courage to spend time, money and effort in turning the business around. If you feel you are in this space and, importantly, if you are prepared to invest in the change, Employee Matters is here to help you.
Directionless Business – This is a business that is somewhat disillusioned. If your business is in this space you are typically unaware of your risk profile and what you need to do to meet your Employment Relations compliance requirements. You have a workforce that is disengaged; they turn up for work in body but with little spirit or motivation and business performance is inconsistent. There is a focus on the cheapest price possible for your business investments.
If you are in this ‘Amber Zone’ we can help, by first of all, assessing the state of your business with our ‘Employee Metrics’ HR diagnostic tool and then set out to build a program that ensures you manage your people-risk effectively and then move on to establishing some great practices across all nine stages of the Employee Life Cycle (more about the Life Cycle later).
Achieving Business – This is a good place to be! You have a people strategy underpinning your business plan and you are aware of your risks. Your employees perform well, are happy working for you and you have good business performance.
This ‘Green Zone’ is a good place to be, but the question is, is it good enough? We call the line between this level of business and the next the ‘Good Enough’ line. Things are good, but are they great? If you want a great business where ‘good enough’ really isn’t good enough and you really are striving for people who can take your business forward, where to from here?
Mastery Business – You have mastered your business, when you have your risk well managed and you have systems in place to ensure you are always on top of, and mitigating or eliminating, risk. You have a ‘Volunteer’ workforce who are fully engaged with your business and perform so well, that they can manage your business without you. This allows you to move out of the business and work on your business strategy, knowing the business will sustain itself, perform well and make great profits. More importantly, your business is now a highly ‘saleable’ asset.
This ‘Blue Zone’ is better than merely good enough; it’s the key to your business and personal dreams.
Finding the Right Support
So you have identified the type of business you have and, importantly, the type of business you want. You know you need some Human Resources support and expertise to help you achieve your business goals – but what should that HR support look like?
Should it be in-house; where you hire an HR Manager for your business? This is great, if your business is of a size that requires this, but if not you need more options. Even if you are at the size where HR support is becoming vital for your business, you should still consider the cost of hiring an HR person or team. What will you get in terms of skills and experience in the market and what about backup when this person is on leave, planned or unplanned? Will this person be willing and capable of completing the full range of HR activities from the filing to writing the HR Strategic Plan?
The other option is to look for HR support externally, either for all or for some of your HR needs. This is where it becomes critical to think about the type of external support you are looking for.
This support basically falls into three types:
HR Distance Model – This is generally a price-driven, commoditised external service. Typically these are delivered via a call centre or helpline, where you speak to a different person every time you make a call. Your issues are dealt with reactively, so there is no help with proactively planning your HR strategy. Often you have to sign up on an extended support contract which locks you into the service, as this gives the HR support business the certainty of revenue allowing them to control their margins. So while the advice and expertise may be OK, the model is volume-based and efficient from the supplier’s perspective, but the service capability is very limited.
HR Account Manager Model – Here at Employee Matters, this is our standard operating practice. We offer you a dedicated HR and/or Recruitment expert who works proactively with you, in your business. We are there to support you, coach or mentor you, in understanding the people in your business and how best to manage and lead them. Or, we can simply do the work for you, coming ‘in and out’ of the business as you need us. You have the support of a highly experienced expert, knowing that there is a wider team of experts behind them, also ready to support you. You speak to the same person all the time, so they know your business and your specific challenges and goals, and are part of your team, even if they are not ‘on the books’ of your business.
Now, this is a great service; but you can go further than this:
Employee Asset Model – What if you wanted to attain Mastery in your business, moving it into the ‘Blue Zone’ we talked about above? Where your people treasure your business as much as you do, so much so that a Bank would lend you money based on your Employee Assets, just as easily as they would on your physical assets or your Balance Sheet. Where you can step out of working in your business; allowing you to:
- Work on your business, setting the strategic direction and focussing on the bigger picture, allowing you to grow the business to new heights
- Take time out of your business and enjoy the other aspects of your life; family, travel, study
- Create a business that does not require you, and so has a high saleable value for when it comes time to exit the business, passing it on to your kids or realising the value of this great asset upon sale
We can use the Employee Asset Model to define the role your people play in creating this level of value in your business.
Employee Asset Model
We have had so much interaction with so many clients over the years, that we’ve come to see that, at the centre of this kind of Business Mastery, is your ‘Treasury of People’ – building a business where your employees treasure your business as much as you do and, ultimately, that you are building a business treasure trove of motivated, engaged, skilled and experienced Employee Assets, that can drive your business forward, even when you are not around.
This happens because of the effect your Employee Assets have on the three key goals for your business:
Profit – What makes your business viable
Growth – The key value driver for your business
Sustainability – This is critical to survival in the long term, but also key to your ability to scale your business, ‘give back’ in whatever way motivates you and, importantly, makes your business a valuable saleable asset
So let’s look at How your treasure trove of Employee Assets drives your goal for a profitable, growing and sustainable business.
There are Three Levers by which your Employee Assets greatly impact the profitability, growth and sustainability of your business:
- Risk Management
Why these three levers?
Performance – High performing teams of great people are what drive your profitability and the growth of your company. To really press the accelerator on your business, you cannot rely on your skill, drive and resilience alone; this is a recipe for burnout. Having people on board who are motivated, skilled and crazy for success, creates a momentum in your business making greater performance and growth a certainty.
Culture – A lot of businesses struggle with ‘Culture’ in terms of what it means and, importantly, what it means for them. Don’t let your difficulties in defining it, or getting comfortable with what it means for you, blind you to the power of Culture. How things get done in your business and, importantly, people’s attitude to seeing that they are done – and done really, really well – are key drivers of your profitability. This is where people are interested in working smarter rather than just harder. Just as importantly however, is the potential for sustainable profitability. While it is true that aggressive, winner-takes-all cultures can produce great profits, they can’t do this for very long. It is these cultures where, eventually, we see corners being cut, rules bent and ultimately broken, and increasingly dysfunctional workplaces where everyone is trying to beat their colleagues, as well as the competition.
Risk Management – We can hear the yawns already! Who wants to talk about risk management; it’s not as ‘exciting’ as performance and not as ‘interesting’ as Culture, but when it comes to the success of your business it is just as important. It’s managing your risks, that allows you to plan your growth and keep your plans on track. It is also vital to ensure you have a long-term, valuable business. Managing risks keeps you in business, so you can eventually see the growth take hold and then manage that growth for the long-term.
In order to manage the impacts of your team in these areas, we have developed the Employee Life Cycle Model to explain how we can take these three levers of Performance, Culture and Risk Management and introduce systems for each that accelerate your success and that of your business: yes, this is where we come in to help you make the most of these bankable Employee Assets.
Employee Life Cycle
Taking each of the three levers (Performance, Culture, Risk Management) we now have three accelerators for each lever – creating the Nine Step Employee Life Cycle – to ensure you are getting every last drop of value from your Employee Assets:
Performance – you need to
- hire the best people you can possibly afford
- Attracting the right people with your Employee Value Proposition
- Finding them through advanced candidate search techniques
- Ensuring you are hiring the best possible fit for the role
- Onboarding new people, so you realise the value of your new asset quickly and effectively
- manage and optimise their input by having the systems in place to clearly identify what needs to be done and how your employees can contribute to this
- measure your, and their, progress against targets by having processes to accurately identify everyone’s contribution, what this looks like over time and what they need to change to take that contribution to new heights
Culture – you need to
- train your team for optimal performance
- Having a framework so you are clear on what competencies are needed for every role
- Identifying what development needs everyone has, for their current and future roles
- How to implement training that best meets your business needs
- build and maintain levels of engagement and understand how to measure and positively affect
- What your people say about your business
- How much they want to stay with your business
- How far they will strive to make your business a success
- have a proactive approach to the well-being of your people
Risk Management – you need to
- assess what people risks you are exposed to through our world class HR diagnostic tool Employee Metrics, to identify the risks, the level and the importance of the risk and recommend what you can do to mitigate or eliminate your people risk
- maintain a robust policy framework, ensuring you have all the policies you need from a compliance perspective, as well as giving clarity to you and your people around what is expected and how things will operate. Policies such as Health & Safety, Equal Employment Opportunity, Leave, Appropriate Workplace behaviour, etc., are vital for this
- know how to exit both non-performers and employees that you might like to work for you again. Exits can be difficult whatever the circumstances. If the circumstances are good, you need to manage the exit as part of maintaining your Employee Value Proposition, Where they are not good, you need to ensure you are complying with everything you need to, to best protect your business. Whatever the nature of someone’s exit, you can always learn from them or the situation
People often ask why we use the term accelerators; it’s because this is how we quickly build Employee Assets for our clients.
How We Work
Take a look at those nine accelerators: scoring yourself as a Red, Amber or Green, how do you think you are going in devising a strategy for each of them, implementing that strategy and reviewing your results?
Why not let Employee Matters come in and help you with this assessment using our Employee Metrics diagnostic tool? We will:
- Assess the areas where you are using this traffic light system
- Let you know relatively how important each area is to your business, so you can set priorities
- Make specific recommendations against each of your Red and Amber areas, showing you how you can improve
You now have your People Management priorities. Let us help you to overlay this on your business strategy and develop an implementation plan (a Program of Works) to address all of your people issues and create a People Strategy guaranteed to drive the Growth, Profitability and Sustainability of your business.
We have a range of services designed to suit your business needs, while delivering on your people strategy. Whether it’s through:
- A one year strategic implementation plan via our Enhance HR model
- Coming in an out of your business as you need us via our Employee Expert Retainer package
- Helping you with your hiring needs via our Recruitment Expert packages
- Our range of specific fixed-price services to help you with your specific HR needs
We can ensure we have a solution that is right for your business.
Where to From Here?
Making a decision that you want more than merely ‘good enough’ through the people in your business, that you want the ‘Treasury Of People’ which is a team that is as engaged and driven as you are. This is your next step.
Can we suggest you make this now.
As we all know, the course of business success is not a straight line. Momentum is as much a key in your business success as it is in getting a car up to cruising speed, or an airplane off the ground. It can seem slow at the beginning, but the further you go the more quickly the results accelerate.
In other words, the sooner you start creating treasure in your business, the sooner you see the results and the longer you have to benefit from holding that treasure.
Equally, if you don’t address the problems in your business, they also accelerate and take on a momentum of their own, sending you into the ‘Red Zone’. Tackling your people issues now, while they are small, means avoiding huge problems in the future.
So, if you are ready to start creating your business future right now, through harnessing the power of your people, get in touch with Employee Matters. Let us sit down with you and map out the road to your ‘Blue Zone’ of Business Mastery.