Work Foundation has suggested some key ways firms can help to improve their
performance and productivity. But to be a catalyst for this, HR must first get its
own backyard in order. So, how productive are you, and could you be doing
better? Nic Paton takes a look
Measure the ‘spaces in-between’ as a strategic diagnostic – in other words, use
a combination of yardsticks (business performance, customer feedback, employee
surveys and leadership measures) to identify strategic gaps.
Laugh manically. How on earth are you expected to worry about that sort of
thing when you’re already dealing with so many other people’s problems?
Agree to set up a steering group to look at how best to take things forward,
which will start as soon as you’ve finished putting the latest scorecard in
Carry out an audit on how you are performing, consult with your team and
implement a targeted, measurable action plan
Focus on the customer in order to make customer service a tangible reality –
customer service as flowery rhetoric but no real substance can promote a
culture of corrosive cynicism.
Get someone to pin up customer service mission statements throughout the
Make sure reception and customer-facing staff get appropriate training
Champion the fact that messages about customer service need to be consistent,
clearly communicated and followed through, and that managers, frontline
managers and customer-facing staff are all offered appropriate, targeted
training and support
Innovate and take risks, being aware that innovation is not driven by
technology alone, but must be properly managed and embedded into the culture of
the organisation if it is to propel it to a level of higher performance.
Reckon that’s a great opportunity to spend some money and start flicking
through e-HR brochures – after all, everyone’s doing it these days?
Leave it up to IT and procurement as they’ll tell you what sort of training and
support they want once it’s all bought and in place
Ensure all innovations brought into the business or developed in-house have
buy-in through communication, consultation and proper pre- and post-training,
and continue to measure its impact and offer refresher training where
Manage the outside as well as the inside, understanding that you are not
working in a strategic vacuum and there are assets outside the marketplace that
can come at low, or even no cost – for example, swapping personnel with local
universities and having long-term strategic dialogues with investment analysts.
Trawl the internet for advice, as you’re too busy to get out to meet people
Grab a chat with a few clients next time you happen to be at a conference
Establish links with local universities and further education colleges, set up
a local or regional HR forum and take time out at the next results presentation
to speak to key City movers, investors and shareholders
Manage people to liberate and incentivise their effort, commitment and
creativity as part of truly turning them into a primary source of competitive
Remind everyone that you have an open door policy, and to prove it you’re just
going to retreat into your office for a while
Develop a series of complex, HR-centred matrices over a number of months to
measure people performance, and then take these to the board for approval
Take a hard look at how the people management structures across the business
are being developed and run, communicate to the board the need for a people
focus at all levels, backing up your message with hard business statistics
showing the benefit of pursuing this approach
You need to shape up and get a grip, or collect your leaving present right
You’re on the right track, but a bit of thinking outside the function would
not go amiss.
Surely you’re sitting on the panel already?
more information on the Work Foundation’s recommendations on improving
productivity, read about the High Performance Index in this week’s Personnel