This year has kicked off at a rapid rate and as we become immersed with business priorities and growing opportunities, it can be important to “take a step back” and ask some questions regarding your staff management. What is your talent retention strategy? Are your top performers strategically placed? Similarly, what are you doing about poor performers or “dead wood”? Who is responsible for them?
Talent retention and managing poor performance can quickly fall down your list of priorities but investing time into these key areas can have noticeable effects on organisational culture and contribute positively to the bottom line. But what are the key areas a good leader will focus on? A manager that understands the importance of robust people management will:
- Be good at identifying talent. Who are the best performers? Take note of employees who are associated with successful initiatives or those who go the extra mile to deliver strong results. Don’t overlook those individuals that appear to have potential but are underperforming.
- Place talented people into ‘positions of influence’ within their organisation. Find out their capabilities and let them thrive. If they’re strategically placed then the whole company will also benefit. Work out which role will harness their talent while at the same time delivering strong results for the organisation.
- Become accountable for ‘dead wood’/poor performers. Many leaders are not good at managing underperformance or employees who undermine organisational values as they don’t like having the “tough” conversations. It can be easier to fire, rather than to coach and develop poor performers. However a good manager should view unsatisfactory performance as an opportunity to help a staff member to develop, improve and refocus their efforts. One of the roles of Human Resource Professionals should be to help managers work with poor performers to develop their abilities or, find another role in the organisation that would be a better fit for the person’s talent and abilities.
- Follow due process. Stick to the agreed, documented process of moving people on. Do you have a solid performance management system in place? Are there clear documented steps to termination? Incorrectly applied processes can leave you open to criticism and gives the employee the prime opportunity for a grievance which is a blemish on senior management.
- Utilise 360 degree appraisals for all leaders and senior staff influencing corporate culture. If a manager is not truly leading the people reporting to them, chances are other aspects of business are being allowed to fall behind as well. A true 360 degree review will reveal how well this is being done. Other staff will see that leaders are prepared to ‘walk the talk’ and invite constructive criticism.
When examined, business owners and managers are often shocked about the true cost of hiring and training staff. Regardless of the actual spend in your business, talent retention and development has a direct effect on bottom line performance and should be a top priority for your business in 2016. Ensuring that your managers are working towards displaying some of the attributes above, can only result in better staff performance and by extension, improved business performance.