Organisational

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Tools To Assess Potential

How do you assess for Potential and what tools we should use?

Here we give our take on using some wonderful products from YSC and Korn Ferry.  Big names in our industry that have two different approaches to assessing potential, both at an organisational and individual level.

Once again, the fabulous Helen Frewin introduces us to their models, gives us the highlights and just for good fun – introduces a few concepts of our own.

If you’d like to find out any more information on mapping potential you can follow me.

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Change Agents

solutionHow to be a change agent or a catalyst for change within your business.

Every change you try to implement within your business, whether large or small, will require one or more change agents.  A change agent is anyone who has the skill and power to stimulate, facilitate, and coordinate the change effort.

The success of any change effort depends heavily on the quality and workability of the relationship between the change agent and the key decision makers within the business.

Change agents can be internal, such as managers or employees who are appointed to oversee the change process.  And for just a smidgen more information on how to be effective as an internal change agent follow me

But quite often they are external, these ‘outsiders’ are not bound by the firm’s culture, politics, or traditions. Therefore, they are able to bring a different perspective to the situation and challenge the status quo.

However, because external change agents lack an understanding of the company’s history, operating procedures, and personnel, to offset their limited familiarity with the business external change agents are usually paired with an internal business partner.

This download is designed to highlight the key characteristics a successful change agent will possess , as well as some hints and tips to develop your skills as a change agent.

change-catalyst

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Assessment by Design

Totem-AC 400x265How do we go about designing an Assessment Centre?

It’s probably best to clarify what we mean by Assessment Centre – because others may describe them as development centres, others still as screening days.  What we’re talking about here is taking a group of people and assessing their skills and behaviour against certain criteria.

It could be that you’re recruiting for hundreds of store managers, or you’re looking at the development needs of two or three senior law firm partners – the premise is the same (the execution is obviously different!)

So what does make a great performer in certain roles?  Does ‘good performance’ mean the same thing if the role is say, externally or internally facing?  How does geographic location effect performance – and the assessment?

And let’s make it super interesting, are there differences across the brands being represented if you’re working in a multi-brand organisation?

In order to better plan recruitment and development activity across your organisation, you’re going to have questions similar to these.  You’ll probably have some baseline performance measures in place already – think competency framework here, but is that framework up to the job?

The outcome you’re looking for here is a clear understanding of the consistent and individual behaviours that differentiate high performance – leading on to a better selection or development process for every role under the microscope.

Jelly Bean Diversity

So where to start? 

First up is understanding what good performance actually looks like in your organisation or a specific role.  Start by reviewing any key metrics you use across the roles and then sense check them with a few key stakeholders.  Take the time here to conduct a few exploratory interviews with line managers, regional managers etc – the feedback from these sessions will give you a deeper and more realistic understanding of where your exiting metrics are and aren’t working.

From this you will have a clear sense of how to identify the measures of great performance and where to explore specific behaviours and contexts.  This will enable you to invite the right people to focus groups.

Which leads us on to step two, focus groups.  Having identified high performers using the metrics from step one, you’ll need to run focus groups with these people to understand what they’re doing in more detail.

It’s a great idea to include high performers across brands, roles and locations (if applicable) in order to understand where there are consistencies and where there are important differences.  It would also be ideal to meet with line managers of high performers to understand their perspective too.

Your role in these groups is to use a range of job analysis techniques to understand the what and how of high performance.  What are people doing that’s delivering the strong metrics?  How are they going about it?  What are the behaviours that make a difference?

Totem Gummi Bears

Now you’ve done the hard work, it’s time for step three and the design work itself.  A good place to start is with a little job analysis.

Think of this analysis like a funnelling exercise.  You need to filter through all the talk about what good looks like to find the highest differentiating characteristics that are consistent across roles, locations and brands.

Once you’re clear on these differentiators, you can begin choosing exercises that give the candidate or attendee the best opportunity to show the desired skills or behaviours.  For example – if charming and disarming customer service is a key requirement for a role, give the candidate a role play exercise with a potentially awkward customer.

You could also choose from a more formal face-to-face assessment, an actual staff interaction or possibly some form of desk analysis if that is relevant.

Particularly in assessment centres, it’s vital to give individuals two opportunities to show the behaviour that you’re after.  Sticking with the customer service role example – some individuals may perform poorly in a face to face environment, but excel in a contact centre environment so build this flexibility into your assessment centre.

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Managing Change Webinar

The fabulous Helen Frewin walks us through Managing Change across organisations using these top tips!

We’ve also put together some supporting notes and questions to help fully explore this topic.

webinar-notes

As always, if you need a little more information on this or any of the topics we cover on our site simply pick up the phone or send us an email.  Talking is free!

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Behavioural Change

change-management totemIf we want people to be doing something different, shouldn’t we just train them?

Quite often organisations go through a shift in focus or strategy, legislation changes, the introduction of new technology or some other need to do things differently. When this happens, depending on the nature of the change, there may be a need for three or 300,000 people to change the way they do things.

Where does training fit in?

Training can be both fantastic and useless. Training, “the teaching of a skill or behaviour” is great at showing me how to do something, for example how to use a new piece of equipment. But training does not guarantee that when the time comes to use the equipment, I make any of the critical choices that make the difference. Choices like:

  • Using the new equipment over what I usually do
  • Following my training to use the equipment properly
  • When I hit an obstacle, choosing not to give up
  • Choosing to encourage others to use this equipment and be positive about trying something new

All of these steps require a positive attitude to change and a subsequent change in behaviour – which training alone can only slightly influence.

Line of isolated jelly bean figures with shadows

The challenge is not that learning how to do something is useless; it’s that it’s just not enough. We need to know why we should bother doing something different, what the obstacles might be, how we can avoid them and how we stay positive through that learning curve.

So how do we change behaviour?

Whether you want people to use new equipment, try a new approach to performance management, be more innovative or deliver a specific objective – the same rules apply. To change individual behaviour, you need to:

  • Find out what motivates your people
  • Identify the potential barriers and obstacles to your specific change
  • Identify the benefits to each individual of the change you want to embed, and align these to individual motives
  • Communicate the change, the benefits, the obstacles and what you’re doing about them, then provide training where required
  • Demonstrate that senior leaders are really behind this (usually by doing it themselves)
  • Engage each individual to consider their attitude to the change, their motives, their barriers to change and what they will do about them

All of the above works most effectively when you have a project manager leading champions around the business to engage individuals, knock down barriers and take the whole organisation through the change. And once this initial engagement has occurred, you will need to maintain momentum by measuring the change activity, communicating progress and celebrating success.

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Engage for Sustainability

Sustainability-TotemIntroducing the triple bottom line.

With increasing pressure from government targets, a growing sustainability agenda and many businesses just keen to survive, what do we need to know about sustainability and engaging our people to deliver it?

What are sustainable businesses?

Quite simply: Businesses that last and can do so without damaging others, the environment or their profits. Great businesses achieve this by focusing on the triple bottom line or three P’s – people, planet, profit.

Where does engagement come in?

The common assumption is that engagement fits in the people section. But to be successful in all three P’s businesses need engagement in all areas – so that people through every level of the organisation are driving success for the triple bottom line.

People – Successful organisations work to engage people, respect, reward and develop them to deliver high performance. But what is often missed is that every individual needs to take accountability for this. Engagement doesn’t just happen through some kind of event or initiative run by HR or senior management – it is the outcome of people offering respect, reward and development to each other.

Planet – Sustainable businesses endeavour to reduce their impact upon the natural world. They consider ways of reducing waste or even better, using waste as a resource to boost profits. Whether you believe climate change is an issue or not, it’s a no-brainer to make more profit rather than more waste. And as the consumer increasingly chooses more environmentally-friendly suppliers, we need to keep up, or lose out.

Far from just asking people to save electricity which is often the extent of a business’ sustainability campaign, this is about having your people so engaged that they are creatively finding ways to better use resources

Profit – In an age where costs are constantly rising, we have to be pretty creative to grow profits. Whether the focus is on increasing the profit margin or increasing sales to boost overall revenue, we constantly need more ideas on how to attract buyers, increase their average spend and keep them coming back. Once again it is your people who know how to do this. They see the new customers, they see the wasted products, they see the marketing material that does and does not work. Engage your people to come up with the ideas that will sustainably grow profit.

How can we engage our people?

Here are some top tips from the companies that are doing this well:

  • Find out what motivates your people – at an individual level, why do they come to work?
  • Have a senior leader explain the corporate vision and how it splits into objectives for the three P’s – linking this in to what motivates your audience.
  • Find out who the trend-setters are in each location or department. Not eco-warriers but influencers, the ones people listen to.
  • Ask each trend-setter to lead a group on a specific objective, linking your request to their motives.
  • Communicate plans to generate ideas for success – linking the goals to individual motives.
  • Set up events at each location, lead by the trend-setters, to get people involved and generate ideas.
  • Deliver the good ideas, measure the effects, celebrate success and keep going!
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