April 2017

Are Your Employees Embedded In Your Strategy?

In their book “The Strategy-Focused Organization,” Robert Kaplan and David Norton cite this worrying statistic: only 7% of employees fully understand their company’s business strategies and what’s expected of them in order to help achieve company goals.

Why is this worrying? Because strategy might be developed by the suits in the corner offices, but putting it into practice should be everyone’s job, every day. Those in senior management can’t possibly do it on their own – everyone needs to understand and accept the objectives and embrace their individual role in making them happen.

How To Embed Your Employees

Embedding your company’s strategy in your employees not only means making sure they understand and accept it, but that they base their daily actions and behaviours on supporting your competitive objectives. They need to be fully aware of how their individual jobs contribute to the accomplishment of the company’s goals.

Communication is the most critical and valuable tool you can use to achieve this. Studies show that the most effective way to get all employees to buy into company strategy – and execute it daily as they carry out their jobs – is to do away with the traditional ‘cascade’ method of communication and instead find ways in which senior management can communicate more directly with frontline workers.

What Is Cascading?

Cascading is the process of communication in which senior managers communicate strategy to their immediate reports, and then rely on them to then do the same to their reports. This process is then repeated as we move further down the chain. Increasingly, however, research is showing us that successful inculcation of strategy to all levels is achieved when employees hear directly from the senior managers themselves. Ideally, employees also ask questions and communicate their thoughts, ideas or concerns. In this way, people feel validated and valued and are far more likely to understand and agree with the company strategy.

In most cases, there needs to be a complete overhaul of the way in which internal messages are disseminated amongst the workforce. Employees need to believe in the importance, relevance and authenticity of the company’s strategic goals. They need to know why they’re doing it, and not only what they should do. The how should be largely under their control. Each and every employee needs to know exactly how their job impacts the overall strategy of the company.

The Benefits of Buy-In

When you can successfully link your company’s strategy to each and every job in every layer of your organisation, you bring that strategy to life within your workforce. Without this crucial link, all the marketing, memos and website updates won’t change a thing.

Making your people feel part of the strategy, giving them the tools they need to play their roles, and demonstrating the benefits to be gained will assist the organisation reach its strategic goals.

Steve Rogers is a specialist in finding the right people for the right job. He will work with you to define and refine your business goals and corporate strategy and help you communicate effectively with your employees to ensure they appreciate the vital role they play in the effective implementation of this strategy.

To find out more, please email Steve or call him on +27 82 308 7627.

Thanks for reading this, much appreciated as always.

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The Pieces of the Recruitment Jigsaw

Recruitment is complex

Most companies have four diverse generations working together creating a challenging work environment. Traditionalists, Boomers, Generation X’ers and Millennials all with different capabilities and experiences, goals and priorities, attitudes and value systems.

From one perspective, one could argue that the same issues have been at play since people ever worked together: each generation seeing the world differently from the last.

But has the internet been a step change at work?

I write this article now sitting on the south coast of South Africa. As I edit, I think of something I’d like to check and within 10 seconds, I’ll have an answer from Google with pictures, text and graphics as required, written by people anywhere in the world. Next week, I’ll be on a Zoom call to colleagues in Johannesburg and Arusha to discuss new opportunities. These words can be read by anyone with an internet connection.

The internet has changed everything.

So one of the biggest challenges companies face is finding replacements for retiring Boomers and Traditionalists who built their careers in a pre-internet and connected world and a management system far more dictatorial than today.

Finding the right person for the right job is always challenging and outdated interview techniques and attitudes need constant attention for relevance and currency.

For example: Millennials don’t respond well to overbearing and controlling people and will exit stressful job interviews as quickly as they exit stressful jobs. It’s not that they can’t handle stress, it’s just that they don’t want to – they’ve seen first hand the effects stress had on their parents and they don’t want that for themselves. What was good for the nineties is redundant in 2017, just 20 years or half a career later.

So how can we complete the recruitment jigsaw?

See beyond the CV

Someone who looks good on paper may not be right in other areas. Social intelligence, and having the right ‘soft skills’ are as important, if not more so, as being technically skilled. The person with the right experience is not necessarily the right person for the role. Interpersonal skills, being able to communicate clearly and having self-control, grit and confidence are traits that cannot be taught. Whereas many technical competency shortcomings can be made up with development and training.

Do the pieces of the puzzle fit?

A savvy potential employee can prepare for a job interview, so asking canned questions will not help you find the top candidates you want. Behavioural interviews are common and put applicants under pressure to tell a good story to demonstrate past success as a proxy for future success. While a useful part of the interview, they should only be a part of the interview

Useful jigsaw tactics include providing feedback on surveys done during the recruitment process to find out more about the individual. Then these surveys should be linked to their CVs and track record. For example: if a survey suggests that the candidate is confident, extroverted, impatient and less detail and risk averse and he or she’s looking for a sales job, then does the CV support that with an appropriate track record in sales and/or service?

Does the track record of the candidate resonate with the habits of the candidate: e.g. problem solving, team centredness, building positive relations with people, altruism and strong task efficiency?

If the candidate explains their advanced capability with Word, yet the CV is littered with basic Word mistakes, what’s going on?

Do the pieces of the jigsaw fit?

Performance Vs Capability

Performance is essentially a measure of the past, whereas capability is an indication of future success. So often, when looking for a person to fill a specific job, we focus on things that are not particularly relevant, such as memberships to professional organisations, qualifications or experience. But can we link these to actual performance? And do they actually predict performance?

How do we change ‘maybe’ to ‘predictive’? We need data, to build its quality and quantity until we reach the point where we can reliably predict that people with certain capabilities are successful and people without those capabilities are less successful.

Steve Rogers at Right People Right Job is an expert at helping you reduce the guesswork and increase predictability. Steve and his associates would welcome the opportunity to work with you on your recruitment or capability development challenges.

Thank you for reading this. I welcome your views and comments.

Please email me or call me on +27 82 308 7627.

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