Who will emerge from the recession first?
That’s easy. It will be those companies who quit focusing merely on how to survive the day and start planning on how to thrive tomorrow. It will be those organizations who are the leanest, fastest, and who are the most engaged.
Prior to the recession, employers were emphasizing the importance of attracting and retaining employees. Employee free agency was seen as imminent as there was projected to be a surplus of 10 million jobs by 2010. While the recession may have delayed that surplus, employers have unknowingly placed themselves in the eye of a perfect storm by complicating the matter further. As the recession took root, there was a quick and almost sudden pressure on bottom lines. Companies enacted layoffs and cut expenses such as training and education initiatives, reduced benefits, and stopped communicating with their employees. While the layoffs may have made them lean, these are actions that haven’t created a “sustainable lean”, and certainly haven’t created fast or engaged cultures.
How can you be lean? – In order to get more from less, you better have the best talent in your industry/market. While current employees may be happy to have a job, they are not happy. Identify your critical employees and make sure an effective retention strategy is in place. Become remarkable in the eyes of your current employees, and attracting the best new talent becomes significantly easier.
How can you be fast? – Fast can only happen in organizations with a culture of trust in place. Develop and implement programs that focus on teamwork, leadership, and a more open forum of communication.
Employee engagement = productivity. - When the cost of human capital can be as high as 30% - 50% of revenue in some industries, it is critical to get the greatest return possible on that investment. Think about it, a 10% increase in productivity is the equivalent of adding 3% - 5% to the top line. While employee engagement is an idea that may feel elusive, there are some simple ways to make improvements. One study showed that when managers focus on employee strengths rather than weaknesses, the likelihood of active disengagement dropped from 22% to 1%.
Lean, fast and engaged. These are the ingredients for companies to once again start focusing on innovation rather than just focusing on operations. It is innovation that will bring a return of healthier profit margins.
Employers are going to be looking to their HR departments to help make them lean, fast and engaged. Because HR positions tend to be eliminated early during layoffs (non-revenue producing position), they are going to find a department less prepared for such a strategy than ever before.
What an opportunity for us to make a difference! Let’s look at our role as filling that strategic void. Funny, I don’t recall reading anything in the new healthcare legislation that can take this opportunity away from us.
Originally published on agencyfuel.zywave.com © Copyright 2010 Zywave, Inc.