The HR and employment law experts at Sekoya have given us their views on how you can get the best value out of the people within your business.

HR and Operations Director, Emma Roberts, has worked in sectors including manufacturing, design, military and local government. With 15 years of experience in recruitment and learning and development, she has provided us with this insightful and very relevant feature discussing the value that people within your business can really add.


 

Most businesses measure their success through financial performance, which I am sure makes sense to all of us. So, when it comes to spending money, we are looking to see that value is added to the bottom line.

Most business leaders will want to spend on something tangible such as new technology or an additional production line as they can clearly see the benefit as it is right in front of them, however, can investing in something intangible bring more value?

Will investing in your people add value to your business?

In his 2016 article “Why organisations need to up their game in understanding, measuring and leveraging human capital”, Eugene Burke showed through research that “a one-point shift in management practices has the same impact on productivity as a 25% increase in the labour force or a 65% increase in capital investment”.

In 2021, Susan Heathfield in her research for Balance Careers identified that the top reason people leave their job is the relationship they have with their manager and how they are treated as a person by their boss.

Both of these pieces of research help to make the intangible tangible by measuring the improvement in people practices in organisations to create value.

This is great data, but the big question is how can you go about developing your people to create this value added for your business?

Developing the people in your business

It does not matter what the size of your organisation is. Ensure that your leaders and managers are operating within the culture of your business and treating people the way you want them to be treated is essential.

As a business owner, you cannot just expect this to happen, you need to set the parameters. The first steps in this process are setting the mission, vision and values for your organisation as this will determine the culture of your organisation.

It is then important to define your expectations not only for leaders in your organisation but for any person who works for you which can be done through a job description and person specification along with a set of competencies.

All this information can be shared with individuals as part of the recruitment process and onboarding process and therefore you are setting out expectations from the outset.

Does recruiting always add value to a business?

Recruitment of leaders or managers is an important thing to consider within your company. Very often an individual will be promoted to a first-line management position from within the company because they are ‘good at their job’.

In the world of Human Resources, we talk about promoting people based on their technical ability. The question we must ask ourselves is does this mean they have the skills to manage and lead a team of people?

More often than not the answer to this is no. It is incumbent on you to ensure that if these skills are not already part of the leader’s toolbox to develop them and show them the way you want things to be done.

Training and developing people already in your business

There are many ways to develop your leaders, through induction, coaching, and training courses to name but a few. It is really important to identify the right way to develop each person as one size does not fit all.

One key thing to remember is that sending someone on a training course without any other action is unlikely to make an embedded and sustainable change. Yes, we all go on a training course and come back to the workplace enthused and will start off with good intentions but how long does it last?

On average research has shown this is just a couple of months. The best way to achieve this is by following the 70-20-10 learning model. This model is widely recognised in learning and development circles and states that 70% of learning should be experiential on the job, 20% of the learning is from others such as co-workers and managers, and only 10% is from formal learning events.

Now, we all need to get the basics and learning events can help with this, however, this then needs to be put into practice and evaluated back in the workplace.

Developing your team with performance reviews

This brings me to the next item your business should have which is an open and transparent performance review process. This can include regular one to one meetings with team members to talk about how things are going, setting objectives, and reviewing how these have gone.

Traditionally companies have had annual performance review processes, where they meet with an employee once a year and see how they have got on against targets and objectives.

The three-by-three approach

I like most people can probably put my hand on my heart and say that those objectives often do not get thought about until month nine and then there is a panic to get them completed. This is not beneficial to either the business or the individual, so I am an advocate of what is called the three-by-three approach.

This new way of setting objectives is about setting no more than three objectives for a three-month period and reviewing them at that time so that way they stay in focus and a more likely to be achieved and maintain motivation and engagement for the employee.

Taking the first steps

So far, we have talked about all the positive steps you can take as a business to improve the performance of your leaders but sometimes things do not go well, and you will need to manage these situations, so a suite of policies and procedures are essential to enable managers to do this effectively and consistently.

We should always start by trying to nip things in the bud and stop them from becoming a problem so helping your managers to have those difficult conversations is essential and may prevent the need for a formal procedure which will be ideal.

There are lots of things you can do to invest in your leaders that will then add value to your business as we have discussed here today, remember right back to the beginning that doing these things can reduce the turnover of your employees and have the same impact as 65% increase in capital investment or a 25% increase in your labour force. It makes sense, doesn’t it?

Speak to Sekoya

At Sekoya we can help you with all the things that have been outlined above. If you are interested in exploring this further, please email us at info@sekoya.com and we will arrange a time to talk to you and understand your needs.