One thing 2020 has done is reduce the ‘fat’ in our organisations – it has been the Keto diet for business with COVID-19 being the key ingredient!

Every business has had to put a microscopic lens across their organisational charts and people leaders have asked themselves if they have the right structure in place to survive.

This is a very good exercise to do in a downturn but fast forward to the ‘thrive’ mode and this may now present a problem.

Scenario 1:

If you cut too thin too quickly, cracks will appear as work-load increases, (and it will, if not now but in the near future), your lean organisation will start growing again adding pressure to your employees.

Scenario 2:

If you did not cut soon enough – profits will decline, and you might lose your star performers, your Employer Value Proposition / brand identity.

So – how do you get hit the ‘Goldilocks situation’ (not too small, not too big… just right!)?

Here are some things to consider:

  1. Get the people and performance basics right – what I mean by this is get aspects such as Position Descriptions, Policies and Procedures, the responsibilities and accountabilities, the EVP and engagement right, so when the ‘bounce’ happens you are prepared and do not have to scramble.
  2. Empower your people – enable them to make quick decisions and actions that would benefit the company, this in turn will also help with professional development.
  3. Continuous Improvement – this is linked to point #2 but critical… if every employee has one question on their mind: “How can we improve our current processes?”

This will help performance – there of course some proven methodologies to help such as Kaizen, The 5 Why’s and Plan Do Act Check (PDCA).

  • Outsource – from technology to processes such as payroll to utilising remote workforces this will help keep things lean but efficient and cost-effective. Consider using a temporary or contract worker to get you through.
  • Measure and talk about performance – with remote teams, an increased workload, now more than ever it is critical to embed a regular performance framework where both employee and employee knows what is expected of them and what their focus is.  
  • Create psychological safe environments – Talk and talk regularly this will help predict stress and potential burnout.
  • Workforce plan and talent pool – the quality of candidates you can choose from will be limited when things pick up as your competition will also be in the same situation. To avoid increased periods of stress a live talent pool and regular plans of what resources are required by when is critical.
  • Update your strategy more regularly – be on the front foot and be ready to downsize or upsize quickly, depending on the changes around you and the direct and indirect impacts that could affect your business.

2020 was a tough year – some of us are still struggling across the globe, but we cannot just stop doing business. We must be ready for whatever challenges are thrown at us.

A few tweaks to your talent strategy now, may prove to be the best Return on Investment you can do…

General Manager – Consulting

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