Plan your work, work your plan! Isn’t that what successful people always say about the route to success? When it comes to recruitment and selection, or nearly any other people decision companies fail to plan the work. Therefore, failure to work the plan is typically number one in the list of management concerns about their business.
Businesses are full of planning, sales plans, expansion plans, marketing programmes, production schedules and so on. Such plans are well designed, managed, measured and are updated as required.
Where are your people plans?
However, when it comes to the people side of business, everything falls apart. Everyone seems to be happiest when they are flying by the seat of their pants. As a result, steps get skipped, corners get cut; plans fly out the windows. Because of this, standards slide, performance falls, competitiveness declines.
The business survives, but pressure builds, stress grows. Everything seems to be an emergency response to some crisis or other. Staff turnover becomes a problem; good people leave and morale falls. Work becomes a chore; employees no longer look forward to going to work. Managers lose sleep, even on weekends and while on holidays.
Ignore your people at your peril
Why is it that the single most important asset of the business is overlooked and ignored to the point that it becomes a burden for everyone. Richard Branson puts it very well when he says that your customers are not the most important thing in your business, your people are; look after your people, and they will look after your customers.
Without people there cannot be a business in the first place. Every successful business has been built on successful people. Successful people are above average people. Above average people are not hired, developed and retained without a conscious effort. That conscious effort is made a whole lot easier and better with a supporting plan.
Of course, in this globalised world we have had built around us, success today is measured in monetary terms and bigger is better. People are replaceable and disposable. Stress is good. People work in pressurised hot-houses and exploitation is what you do the people under your control.
Interestingly we are seeing a backlash against this model of corporate greed and general disregard for the well-being of the worker. It is not socialism or trade union activism. It is not even anti-business. Instead, workers are voting with their feet.
Once the idea of a job for life and the corporate loyalty went out the window, workers discovered that they could change jobs. Workers found out that they didn’t have to put up with remote directives that negatively impacted on their lives.
The business world is changing
We are seeing a shift in the workforce. Now that the economy is growing again despite the best efforts of Brexit, people are moving again. There is a concept solidifying in the workplace that “Potential moves toward Opportunity”.
On a global scale, this is shown in economic migration. In the past, only the destitute or the most adventurous migrated. Today Irish Engineers design and manage road construction projects in Europe and the UK. Only a generation or two ago their ancestors were labourers with picks and shovels. Barriers to such movement are falling. If you have potential, you can travel.
On a local scale, you can see this in the growth of local entrepreneurship. The craft brewing industry in one such example. Consumers are beginning to realise that if they want their families to stay together and their children and grandchildren to be around them in old age, they must support jobs in their local economy.
Today’s workers are increasingly aware of the value and benefit of taking lifestyle choices into account when they decide to accept a job. Those who know that they have potential are in the best position to exploit such options.
Make your people your competitive edge
In a competitive economy, smart employers are willing to accommodate such choices. Smart companies are building businesses around their people. Not just any people, but the right people. The shift can be a difficult one to get your head around, old ideas have a way of clinging to you like cobwebs.
The Labour Market is changing, and the successful businesses of the future have already have a plan for dealing with that.