Sustainable People Strategies

Business success is based on people. How do you create a strategy for sustainability of people?

Sustainable People Strategies

Organizational performance

Are people your greatest asset?

It might be time to check if your people strategy supports that idea

Developing team performance for more agile, innovative organisations

It's a great time to change jobs

Are you thinking of changing jobs? A recent poll by Randstad indicates a quarter of us want to change jobs in the next 6 months. With a record level of over 1m job vacancies in the UK, there’s opportunity to make the change.

Now factor in some demographics. We have:

  • An ageing workforce
  • More women in the labour market
  • Greater demand for flexible working by both women and men
  • Both younger and older generations united in a desire for meaningful & stimulating work
  • A desire to learn & develop and the opportunity to do so

Perhaps we are close to a perfect storm for HR and Learning & Development professions.

Our people are our most important asset

How many times have you heard that in your career? If you’ve been working in HR or L&D for more than 10 years you will have heard it several times. Do you believe it? Do you think that the evidence is there in your organization?

My experience – from 30+ years in L&D is that managers do mean it when they say “our people are important”. Unfortunately there is sometimes a genuine disconnect between what people say and what organizations do.

Do you have any  of the following?

  • People who are not performing but are also not being managed to perform?
  • High staff turnover in one or more teams?
  • Higher than normal levels of sickness absence in specific areas?
  • People who start working for you but then leave within 6 months?

Those are all important people issues that HR & L&D are meant to solve. The thing is, all of these are management and leadership issues. You have two ways to address this: processes and training. Given that you are likely to have perfectly good processes in place already, now could be a good time to think about how to train and develop for change. 

Put your money where your mouth is

Certain things are critical to business success and sometimes those things cost money. Your organization almost certainly has key standards without which it cannot do business. Accreditation for quality and environmental standards, even Investors in People may be necessary for certain work you do. These cost money and a great deal of time. Yet they are only the start.

If 25% of people are thinking of changing jobs over the next 6 months and vacancies are at an all time high, then clearly we are not getting it right all the time. We need to do something more, something different.

Is People Sustainability the answer?

We have been listening to the promises made at COP26 about how governments will change behaviours and save our planet. Many global organizations (is yours one of them?) are already making those changes and trying to work out what needs to change and how, so business can continue in a sustainable way.

Perhaps now is the time to talk about people sustainability. After all, that ageing workforce will start retiring. There are not enough young workers coming through to fill those vacancies. Plus we know that people who are fed up are looking to change jobs. And we already know that meaningful work is more important than ever. So what can your organization do to keep the people you have and attract more of the right people to work for you?

If you have a budget for developing people – especially managers – now could be a great time to put it to work. Don’t have a budget? Budget already allocated? There is still plenty you can do. 

Practical Ideas for you to try

At CLS we are very practical and pragmatic. We like the people we train to leave with new tools, they have practised using in training, so they can put them to work immediately. So of course, the suggestions here are practical, will have a visible impact and you can put some of them to work right now. 

Train some internal trainers

We have been training a lot of trainers for some of our global clients. People are learning to deliver training and how to do it using online training tools to a very high standard. That’s a powerful skill set to have in the business and opens up opportunity for both the training teams and the people they train.

Develop cross-functional or cross-departmental team skills 

How many times do you hear complaints about ‘silo’ working? Whether your silos are in one site or across different countries, this is a quick and productive way of breaking them down. Plus this is a real opportunity for business and people growth.

Update those CVs or learning logs

Encourage everyone to reflect on their learning & skills gained over the last year.  It helps teams to think about how to harness those skills and can give the organization access to capability it might not be aware of.  

Give teams new opportunity

Try a virtual business challenge

This is such a powerful tool. It can increase creative thinking, encourage new business ideas and give teams the opportunity to work in new ways. When we have used this in training programmes the outcomes have astonished and delighted senior managers. One team’s idea was so good, the management team set up a brand new business unit.

Train your teams for distributed leadership

So many of us have come close to burn out over the last year. At least some of the people thinking of changing jobs want to get away from a workload which just isn’t manageable. One way of changing that is distributed leadership. This isn’t just delegation, it’s about authority and sharing power. A valuable way of freeing up managers and developing team members to step up and get more job satisfaction in the process.

People focus - listen and act

Blind date your internal vacancies

You know that great admin person who never gets an internal promotion because no one can see past their current job title? If you encourage skills based CVs, no name, no current job role, you’re more likely to give that person a chance and help keep their talent in the business. Plus they get excited and engaged in new ways. Everyone wins. 

Check out well being options 

With the stress of the last year, a quick head massage just won’t do the job. We all need something more thoughtful and structured. It could be flexible working, exercises to do at your desk, a discussion about being trusted to work from home or something completely different. There is no one size fits all when it comes to employee well being. If you haven’t already done it, start asking teams what they need and developing a plan. 

Look for the pressure points 

Do you run a staff survey? Does it give you the information you need? If you don’t know where the real pressures are – for managers, leaders, team members – then maybe do a different kind of investigation. You could pool information from exit surveys with internal quality audits, and work with front line managers to investigate the people pinch points.  

Help managers learn new ways to problem solve

Develop managers' coaching skills

two people talking

Provide your teams with a short retreat

  It can be hard to think around corners. When you are pushed for tme, you tend to do things the same way. Having a different way of looking at things and new techniques for problem solving can make a useful difference.

New management tools mean different solutions. It gives managers a boost to have new tools to use, it helps them and their teams see things differently and you get higher levels of engagement and job satisfaction too.

Managers get tired of telling people what to do and team members get tired of being told.

Using a coaching approach changes that. It isn’t intuitive and it does need both training and practice.

If you’re looking for an approach which can increase engagement, develop skills and help people take ownership, coaching skills for managers and leaders is a brilliant tool.

A what? We deliver online, virtual retreats for some of our global clients and they are great. It’s a structured time out, to reflect on what has been achieved and what lies ahead.

As well as encouraging the team (however far apart they are) to focus on team work, it gives everyone a chance to refresh, re-energize and rediscover their sense of team.  

2022 is just around the corner. We need a fresh start on so many things. What do you want to change about your people strategy? How can you make “our people are our most important asset” become more true? What can you do to keep those 25% of dissatisfied people from leaving? How can you work with your managers and leaders to help them develop sustainable people policies to help drive new business, sustainably?

As always, we are here to help. If you want to talk, then get in touch. We are interested in your journey and your challenges. You see, we really do believe your people are your most important asset.

For details on training and development to sustain your people, click the download button for a PDF brochure. 

What are you looking for?

If you need training which delivers outstanding content, engagement and impact, you are in the right place

How can we help?

When you need a learning partner who can help your people and organisation, we are here to help

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