Take a Breath and Think
You deserve it, and your business may require it.
By Ben Molenda, Human Capital Advisor and Todd Downing, Managing Partner at BEST Human Capital & Advisory Group
Are you tired of “Work From Home,” “COVID Procedures,” and “New Normal” articles? This one is different. Instead of being advised on how to do something, the goal here is to experience thought.
“THINK” is what Thomas Watson Sr., the legendary founder of IBM, would tell his people— encouraging everybody to be thinkers, from the assembly line worker and engineer to the salesperson and office admin. It was what would bind the company together and become the cultural cornerstone of one of the world’s great companies.
Despite the immense challenges thrust upon all businesses during the pandemic, the Green Industry has experienced positive, and some would say unprecedented growth. Other industries have not fared as well and are just starting to recover. The stresses you have responded to in running your business with an uncertain future, proper COVID health protocols, plus the volume of business experienced or lost have left many leaders feeling reactive. There has been considerably less time to focus on strategy as much as they would like. And – a bit exhausted.
The pandemic has also created profound change and impact on the people who make up your organization. Strategic Human Resource planning is a vital component to successfully navigating this business evolution. We are all searching for solutions to protect, stabilize, and grow our businesses.
But how do you define solutions when your time and energy have been dramatically stretched? A helpful first step is to identify what the Human Resource challenges or opportunities are which require problem-solving.
To support leaders in identifying Human Resource solutions, ask yourself a few of these questions to flush out potential areas that will require change. You can then begin formulating solutions to address these challenges.
- Have you identified specific training or development investments to grow key employees?
- Are your employees cross-trained if a key individual leaves the team?
- Does each position have a career progression plan? Have you openly discussed it with the individual?
- Do you have silos between departments requiring increased collaboration?
- What are the current bottlenecks or challenges to your business, and what type of professional would you hire to solve these problems?
- Is your ongoing hiring process compliant with applicable employment law and producing the desired and necessary results for your organization?
- Are your HR-related marketing tools and company branding message aligned with the current strategic plan to attract the proper level of talent to drive these organizational directives?
- Do you have a positive company brand image on social media and sites such as Glass Door to help attract top talent?
TOTAL REWARDS – COMPENSATION & BENEFITS
- Have you updated or benchmarked your benefits and compensation packages lately? If yes, how frequently do you do so?
- Do you include perks like profit sharing, continual education, or health initiatives to better invest in your employees?
- What unique benefits do you offer that are attractive to potential new hires or increase retention?
- Is your compensation in line with your geographic region, cost of living, and other industries to attract top talent?
HUMAN RESOURCE SYSTEMS & SOFTWARE
- Do you have an organized electronic system for classifying and holding all your employee’s documents?
- Do you have an up to date chain of command to report HR issues?
- Do you have the appropriate technology and tools to maximize efficiency and effectiveness? (i.e., HRIS, LMS, TS, ERP, and Payroll). Do these systems seamlessly integrate? Are your HR employees adequately trained on them?
- Are your employees truly engaged in the business or simply “punching the clock”?
- What is your retention rate or turnover rate?
- What type of leader would your employees communicate that you are?
- Has an appropriate investigatory process been put in place? Are your HR professionals trained to objectively implement such a process to resolve employee relations issues regardless of its severity or nature?
HUMAN RESOURCE COMPLIANCE
- If your Human Resource policies and practices were audited, would you pass without a fine?
- Have current policies been recently reviewed and updated to conform to recent legislation, court cases, and executive orders? Especially revised regulations?
- Are Human Resource audits (internal and external) conducted regularly to ensure compliance with all employment laws?
SUCCESSION & EXIT PLANNING
- When was the last time you took time away from your business as its owner or leader of a division?
- Are you able to take time away knowing you have a team to keep running the business profitably and efficiently?
- Do you know what you will do when you retire?
- Have you mapped internal succession paths, including your own, so you know where to recruit externally and where to develop internally?
- Would your organization’s effectiveness benefit from someone with a different background, mindset, viewpoint, or values?
- Have you hired individuals from various backgrounds and educations?
- Have you properly followed Equal Employment Opportunity Laws?
- Are you tracking appropriate diversity data regardless of whether you must file an annual report?
OPERATIONS & PRODUCTION
- Are you struggling to achieve complete buy-in to LEAN principles or Health & Safety protocols?
- Do you have employee retention or engagement problems with your production team?
- Are current performance metrics or KPIs aligned with job expectations, job descriptions, and organizational outcomes?
SALES & MARKETING
- Do you hire sales professionals based solely on knowing your product and customers, or have you taken time to identify and assess for successful sales or marketing behaviors?
- Have you worked with your sales, marketing, and production teams to understand and increase collaboration with one another relative to production capacity and sales growth?
- Are your customer-facing professionals a positive reflection of your company with customers and industry?
NEW PRODUCTS & MARKETS
- Do you have new products in the pipeline that will require hiring professionals with a unique skill set or knowledge?
- Have you identified new markets to enter that will require hiring professionals with the targeted industry knowledge?
FINANCE & ACCOUNTING
- Is ROI data calculated and retained for HR-related projects and initiatives?
- When was the last time you had a valuation of your business or division compared to others?
- Is HR partnering with Finance and Accounting to develop ROI, payback period, NPV, PV, and FV models as appropriate for HR-related projects and initiatives?
Watson knew over a century ago how important it is for business leaders to take a step back and “think.” Questions stimulate thoughts and ideas. Sometimes the answer may be in the question, and sometimes it is acquired by asking more questions. Questions lead to ideas, and ideas lead to strategic thinking and solutions. It is time to be more proactive and addressing those areas of your business that will bring the most return – starting with your people.
Todd Downing is a Managing Partner for Best Human Capital Advisory Group and leads the Horticulture & Green Industry executive search and advisory services. He has more than 30 years of experience in the industry and a passion for supporting its continued professional growth. Ben Molenda is a Human Capital Advisor with BEST with a specialization in retained recruiting and succession/exit planning.
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