Over the years we have been working with businesses, there are some common themes that arise relating to the issues/errors we see business leaders and senior managers making time after time! Based on our experiences, here are a few ideas for some 30 or 60 minute learning sessions for business leaders.
- How to assess values and team/cultural fit at interview before making appointments.
- The value of telephone interviews to save time and screen candidates for key behaviours.
- Using the probationary period effectively to quickly remove cultural misfits and the ‘workshy’.
- How (and why) to avoid recruiting someone ‘just like me’.
- Confidently recruiting from a diverse pool to avoid problems caused by ‘group think’.
Day to day management
- Knowing your stuff
- Ensuring you know as much about employment rights as the staff you manage – never end up with your back against the wall as it makes for lousy business decisions!
- Understanding the possible legal, tax and commercial pitfalls of opting for workers who are ‘self employed’ rather than employed
- Managing unacceptable situations
- Developing confidence and competence in managing poor performance to avoid endless dithering and delay when someone is not performing to the required standard
- The danger to organisations of not managing poor performance for those we like and have worked with for ten or even twenty years
- How to effectively handle difficult or sensitive issues so you don’t waste valuable time and energy endlessly avoiding certain people
- Thinking big
- Managing and retaining a diverse workforce and really understanding the commercial advantages that can bring
- Taking a fresh look at what role model the leadership team is presenting to staff
Termination of employment
- Understanding what a realistic/appropriate sum is when seeking to pay off a member of staff i.e. how not to chuck money down the drain when solving problems
- How to avoid exposing your organisation to legal claims if you fail to get the process right or if you give preferential ‘treatment’ to those you consider ‘mates’
Developing the material for your sessions
There is often no need for complex training materials or to put hours into developing sessions. Think about who you already have in the organisation who can deliver them.
Often a few well thought through questions can initiate a great discussion that brings out so much knowledge and so many ideas from those attending. Your leaders will probably have the knowledge and the experience, but perhaps don’t have time to sit down and think through what they might be doing better or more easily. To do that in a group where everyone can agree what needs to be done differently may help avoid frequently repeated mistakes.
Getting the buy-in to ongoing development for leaders
The biggest challenge in our experience is getting business leaders to buy in to the facts that:
- They need to sit down to think
- They need to develop their skills
- They need to accept that what worked yesterday may well not work tomorrow
- Their skills and knowledge have got to be developed as fast as the business world around them is changing
So here are some of our ideas to help you get their buy-in:
1.Financial reasons – appeal to their interest in the financial health of the organisation
- Are there mistakes that you can identify that are repeatedly made and that clearly cost time and money. Set these out in writing for your leaders so there is no avoiding the reality of the situation. Putting numbers or pound signs against mistakes can be a great reality checker.
- Are there areas where far too much money is being spent due to a lack of audit/review e.g. recruitment fees due to poor staff retention, high legal bills due to poor staff management or big fat pay-outs to staff that really are unnecessary and over the top.
2.Time – appeal to their desire for efficient and effective use of their time
If you find a way to have regular 30 – 60 minute development slots then you might find it easier to get senior teams to commit to attending. Anything more than that and you might find you have a substantial number who attend already begrudging you their valuable time – not the best way to begin a training session.
3.Leadership competencies – make it a requirement of their role!
We often find that the list of leadership competencies in an organisation focusses on decision making, strategic thinking, financial responsibility and compliance. Too few organisations make managing and leading staff effectively a key competence for business leaders. But if you don’t have this as a key competence, this doesn’t really reflect the fact that your staff are probably your greatest cost within the business but also your greatest asset.
If effective staff leadership and management is a key leadership competence what you cannot then do, is ignore the development needs of those leaders who do not come up to scratch in this area. It’s too critical an area for anyone in an organisation to turn a blind eye.
One aspect of managing and leading staff effectively is ensuring that they are at all times adequately trained and skilled for the roles they do. If you expect ongoing development of staff, logically you must expect it of your senior team. Your senior team have to stay one step ahead and to do that they need to be continually learning and developing.
We have a wealth of experience in working with Senior Management Teams to help develop and hone their thinking in this area. So if you have a stubborn or time-challenged team who are crying out for an HR Healthcheck then please get in touch! We understand that buy-in can be an issue for many HR individuals wanting to drive this forward, therefore we would be only too happy to support you in putting together a relevant and value-adding business case to take to your Management Team.