Reconnecting your people

2009

Job cuts, endemic uncertainty, too much change too quickly – it's little wonder that so many people feel pretty alienated from their organisations at the moment. So here's some very sound advice from consultants Watson Wyatt about the steps you can take to reconnect employees.

1. Create an organisation structure and job architecture that is clear, effective and efficient so that everyone understands their role and how they contribute to organisation success.

2. Articulate and be honest about your employment deal, even in today's tough high unemployment market. This is key to effective attraction, retention and engagement of key talent.

3. Review executive compensation to achieve the optimum balance on alignment with shareholders and driving value in the business, including risk effectiveness, performance and retention.

4. Review sales compensation regularly to ensure that the plans are aligned with new business priorities and drive optimum performance at optimum cost.

5. Review how performance is managed to ensure it accurately reflects the new corporate reality and is motivating your key talent.

6. Identify the talent you have to ensure you continue to retain those that will contribute most to your business in the long term.

7. Ensure you reward for exceptional performance and not the norm. Make this a reality now and it will ensure you are able to manage whatever the economic situation.

8. Ensure you have excellent management information and let the systems take the strain. Base decisions on facts and analysis, not emotion and rhetoric.

9. Ensure you understand where critical roles and skills sit. In times of retrenchment businesses may have looked to keep good people rather than those in key roles that will drive future performance.

10. Continue to keep leadership visible and communication open. Let staff know where the business is heading, what they need to do and how they will be rewarded.

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Older Comments

Whilst I completely appreciate that procedures are important and these 10 steps are valid - there seems little priority placed on listening. At times like this more than ever we need to treat individuals as individuals - you can't 'programme' their response to the economic downturn just as you can't second guess how significant these changes are to staff and their families - some of whom may have lost their jobs and homes. Now is a time to stop and listen, really listen to individuals and work with them to understand what's going on for them and how you as their manager can support them. It is only by showing that you care that you will start to be offered discretionary effort that we need to help rebuild our businesses and profitability. Talented people are people first and foremost and no matter what policy review or new process you put in place there is simply no substitute for actually showing you care. Come on, let's stop trying to apply a process or employ a new role for 'maximising human capital'!!!!!!!!!!! in the downturn and go back to common courtesy and consideration. Encourage your teams to connect through this and showing people that what they do really does make a difference.

Caroline Esterson Kent

Despite their relative newness, companies are embracing Web 2.0 technologies such as social networking tools, blogs and webcasts for internal communications and as part of their overall technology mix, according to a new survey by Watson Wyatt, a leading global consulting firm.

Watson Wyatt's 2009 HR Technology Trends Survey found that since the economic downturn began, 72 percent of employers have increased their use of the intranet and 61 percent have increased their use of e-mail to communicate with employees. Employers are also using newer tools ' a third (32 percent) have increased their use of webcasts; 13 percent have increased their use of social networking tools; and 12 percent have increased their use of blogs for communication. Watson Wyatt’s survey was conducted in February and March 2009 and includes responses from 181 large employers.

“Web 2.0 technologies work well, in most instances, for targeting specific employee and manager groups, and companies are using them in appropriate situations,” said Jon Osborne, senior technology consultant at Watson Wyatt. “Using tools such as role-based portals, internal blogs and webcasts ensures that both managers and employees can send and receive tailored messages in an engaging format. This is useful for improving productivity and maintaining employee morale and engagement, particularly in this difficult economic time.”

Companies are adopting role-based employee portals ' those that are personalized to the user ' the most rapidly; forty-one percent have already deployed or are piloting role-based employee portals and nearly a quarter (24 percent) are planning to adopt them in the next 24 months. Unsurprisingly, adoption of generic intranets has slowed almost to a halt: While 86 percent of companies currently have them, almost none (a mere 2 percent) plan to implement them in the next 24 months. Rather, companies are planning to deploy blogs (13 percent), wikis (13 percent) and podcasts (10 percent) in the same timeframe.

Nazeem INDIA