As your business evolves so do your people

Whether a recent start-up, an evolving business or an established SME people will not be far from the mind of a business owner.  As businesses evolve and mature over time so too must the approach and strategies to managing the people aspect of the organisation. If these fail to evolve at the right pace businesses will see increased employee turnover, quality issues, poor customer service and an impact on financial growth.

What areas should business leaders be focusing on?

Start Up

In new start-ups business strategy is fluid, the pace is fast, roles are flexible and all-encompassing and the style of the entrepreneurial founder dominates. The approach to People Management is reactive.

Key people aspects to get right:

  • Compliance with both Health and Safety and Employment Law – find a good solicitor who specialises in employment.
  • Recruitment and getting the right people with the right skills at the right time – don’t just hire for technical and market knowledge but personal skills and competencies as well as cultural fit with the business vision.

Evolving Businesses

As the workforce grows so do the people related issues and challenges. It is likely that the founder can no longer do it all and delegation has to happen. A more formalised approach to people management is needed.

Key people aspects to get right:

  • Management training – it is likely the individuals now managing staff were recruited for their market knowledge or technical skills not their people management skills. Investing in management development early can save a lot of headaches and cost further down the line – look for specialists who can develop bespoke courses so as to embed the business culture and values.
  • Equity and Fairness – review the organisational structure. Is it fit for purpose as the business grows? Defining roles and reviewing how performance is monitored, managed and rewarded will become greater areas of focus.

Established SME

An opportunity to take time to reflect, review and improve. Strategies are longer term, formal processes are being embedded. People management becomes a specialist, strategic role within the business. The link between engaged employees and the bottom line is understood by the business leaders.

Key people aspects to get right:

  • Keeping the culture alive – are the vision and values of what made the business great in the first place alive within the organisation? They should be a core foundation of all people management practices.
  • Managing Talent – a longer term view towards skill development and career planning is required. Consideration of leadership development and succession planning is also needed.
  • Retaining Talent – a greater focus on reward is needed, benchmarking against the market and canvassing employee opinions to understand what they value will help retain the key employees.

Effective people management is vital for long term business sustainability. A proactive approach to people management will help business leaders to successfully identify and navigate the changes required during the three stages of business growth.

Samantha Brook is Managing Consultant, Tomorrow’s Future Ltd

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