So when you take a look back at how your business performed in 2021, are you satisfied with what was achieved? A little reflection is always useful, but now’s the time to start thinking about the future. You no doubt have big plans for the next 12 months. You’ve got targets to meet and goals to smash, and if you want to ensure that your plans become a reality, then you’re going to have to give some serious consideration to how you’ll make sure that you get the most out of your staff.
Sometimes though, this can be much easier said than done. Every business owner knows that improving performance could be key to overall growth, but you’ll need some solid strategies to make this happen.
You’ll be pleased to hear then that we can help. Let’s take a look at three ways to rocket your team’s performance for the year ahead
1. Provide Challenges That Are Stretching But Achievable
No one ever achieved great things by just coasting along without a challenge. Your staff should be stretched, but there’s a fine balance to strike. Give them too much to handle, and you’re not going to get the desired outcome. It might be time to assess your staff’s performance objectives, and consider whether they’re really fit for purpose.
Your managers will play a big part in making this a success. They’ll know their team members best, and so you need to make sure that they’re capable of helping them to set goals, and just as importantly, ensuring that they believe that they can achieve them.
2. Outline The Value Of The Work Outside The Context Of The Business
If you’ve done any reading or research into best practice when it comes to managing a team, then you’ll know that it makes sense to encourage everyone to realise how their work helps the business to grow and meet its objectives. In other words, your staff should understand how what they’re doing fits into the bigger picture.
You can take things a step further than this though. Are your staff aware of how their work makes a worthwhile contribution, profits and growth aside? Most businesses have some kind of social impact, and this can often be a great motivator for staff. Does your organisation make a positive contribution to the community? Are you changing the lives of your customers and clients?
3. Recognise Achievements As Part Of Day-To-Day Business
Most of us can take huge amounts of personal satisfaction away from simply knowing that we’ve done a good job. Often, this alone can encourage us to strive to be even better. But let’s be completely honest here. Most of us also enjoy being suitably rewarded for our efforts.
It’s easy to think that this is all about financial incentives, but this isn’t necessarily the case. It’s about rewards that are proportionate to the achievement. It’s about applying the same principles across the board. It’s about considering your reward processes as a whole, rather than just worrying about budget restraints. And ultimately, it’s about getting to the stage where ‘end-of-year performance reviews’ aren’t a one-off activity, but part of an ongoing dialogue.
Performance is important, and this is your chance to make sure that you’ve laid the right foundations for the year ahead. Are you ready, or are you lagging behind?
If you just want to make sure that you’re firing on all cylinders, drop us a line via firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 0203 6277048.
Photo Credit: the gymnast from Team GB by julochka
Grip is an award-winning AI-powered Market Engagement Platform, that helps organisers deliver world-class events. They have had a wonderful success story and The HR Hub is proud to have played a role in their journey from start up to where they are now.
We asked Tim Groot, CEO & Founder what he values most about working with us, “Expert HR advice is extremely difficult to get without having your own full-time staff. I would advise every seed-stage startup to work with the HR Hub to make sure your contracts, HR policies and general HR advice is in great shape as you scale your company. Over the course of 2 years we have probably saved £50,000 in recruitment, HR advice and People operations tasks, that would otherwise have been outsourced or would have required us to hire a people operations person much earlier.”
Speaking further we wanted to know if there were any reservations before using us and if we managed to overcome them. Tim said, “Initially we were unsure whether the advice would be relevant enough to our specific company, but Claire and Rosie did an awesome job taking away any concerns.”
The three key results Tim recognised from our time working together
- Solid employment contracts and advice/training for new and growing managers in the business.
- Time and cost savings by using HR Hub for initial screening of candidates.
- Someone to talk to about difficult management issues.
And the biggest question from us…. Would you recommend The HR Hub and who would you recommend us too?
“Yes we are always happy to recommend the HR Hub! All seed stage startups and growth stage companies that want their people operations or management teams to have someone ‘on call’ for an external perspective should be talking to Rosie and Claire.”
Grip is the leading AI-powered event networking solution for Virtual, Hybrid and In-person events.
If you want to find out more about working with us get in touch at email@example.com or call 0203 627 7048
The HR Hub initially started working with Bedford Consulting in August 2018 and continues to do so in 2021.
Bedford Consulting is the largest and longest-running sole Anaplan reseller and 2020 Anaplan Partner of the year for EMEA, specialising in project implementation, software sales and connected planning. The company had grown quickly over the previous two years, tripling the size of the team in 18 months up to August 2018. Cathal Doyle (CEO) and Paul Rawlinson (CCO) had reached a stage where they wanted to ensure that they had the right structure to be sustainable as they grew further.
The key HR challenges
Bedford Consulting needed the HR Hub to ensure they had the right foundations; to keep the people they had already invested in happy and growing and make sure they were putting in place support for all the recent hires. It was noted that the structure up to that point had been very flat and the increased headcount had meant that the Directors were becoming thinly spread in terms of management.
An initial review of Bedford’s company data and HR Strength ™ was undertaken in conjunction with interviews with a cross section of staff and a proposal to tackle three key areas per quarter to improve the overall employee experience.
After analysing the data, the HR Hub suggested a variety of actions and solutions to implement in order to achieve their HR goals.
There were four strands to this strategy,
- Learning and Development
- Hiring and Onboarding
- Team Structure
- Employee Engagement and Motivation
Firstly Learning and Development was given a new lease of life. A competency framework and structure was recommended and created for the Customer Success team, together with associated salary bands. This provides consistency, transparency and an understanding of all the roles in each team and what career progression looks like for all roles in the CS team ( the remaining teams to be rolled out this year). Formal Quarterly reviews have also been put in place to provide everyone with the opportunity to discuss their development & progression on a regular basis – all built using the tech they consult on: Anaplan.
Hiring and onboarding was refreshed and additional support was input for all new hires to enable their onboarding.
Team structure was improved to reflect the company growth. An additional supporting structure was input to the organisation through the creation of POD leader roles (to provide dedicated support to a small group of consultants each) and a series of training and development initiatives created to support the POD leaders in these new roles
Employee engagement and communications was boosted with more regular points of contact. Previously Bedford had always held Quarterly Off site meetings for all employees, however communication channels have been boosted by monthly ‘All Hands’ style calls and weekly feedback received through use of survey technology which is reviewed on a monthly basis and actions taken by the management team
Results and client testimonial
Because of these steps, Bedford Consulting have retained their key staff during a period where a further 15 staff have also been hired. Engagement scores show that the team feels supported in the transition to the new POD structure and the flow of communication has been improved. This has resulted in a happy successful expanding team ensuring a strong growing business.
“Working with Claire and the team at The HR Hub has been critical to our growth and sustainability over the last two years. We would not have been in a position to put such a robust framework in place while we continued to grow at 50% YoY without their guidance and richness of experience. They continue to support our growth strategy but also act as a comfort blanket in areas of ongoing HR. Our recruitment, enablement and retention are stronger than ever which has been forged throughout our relationship with The HR Hub. It has been a pleasure working with Claire and her team, and we look forward to continuing that relationship for many years to come as we continue on our growth story” Cathal Doyle (CCO)
Asking for feedback is a critical part of maintaining a successful business. Whether that is customer testimonials, product reviews or a follow up after a specific incident.
As you can imagine during the past years pandemic our team have been extremely busy. Our help has ranged hugely, from adapting to new ways of working, guiding clients through new legalities, assisting with furlough, giving tips on staff motivation through to dealing with crisis. Plus an extraordinary amount of personal employee health and family matters on top of dealing with more regular company HR solutions remotely. Now as workplaces are starting to open back up we are advising on successful ways to get people back into the office, guidelines for new hybrid working plans and even a few clients that are keen to embrace the working from home system, ditching the office altogether.
Our team have had our clients backs through it all and there is a definite feeling of success within us. However, it still felt brave to put ourselves out there to ask our clients for testimonials. We were blown away by the amount of responses and the kind words they have shared with us.
We are very proud and happy to share what Laura Paplauskaite, CEO, Bit Zesty had to say about the HR Hub.
“The service HR Hub provides is very personal and pragmatic, which is of great value to us. They really understand balancing people and business and the service feels perfectly tailored to our small business needs. Initially I was worried that the advice would not take into account my concerns as a business owner. However, this is not the case.
The HR Hub saves me lots of time and money trying to figure things out from a legal perspective. More importantly, the team help me make the right business and people decisions. Claire is very personal and always has her business as well as people hat on. Working with her saved me countless sleepless hours, especially through the difficult times during Covid.
HR Hub acts as an advisor and sounding board – which gives me confidence that I am doing the right thing by all. I would recommend TheHRhub to any small business.”
Here at the HR Hub, we love that not only have we managed to help Bit Zesty save time and money, but that we have established a relationship that empowers Laura to feel confident when making HR decisions. Seeing these kind supportive words come in from a diverse range of clients has given us all a boost. This is more than just the marketing tool we thought it would be, this is motivation and pride for the team.
If you haven’t asked your customers for a while – How are we doing? Maybe now is the time…..
Image credit : Canva
I like to think that I am a pretty good planner. But particularly in the early stages of lockdown, I would find myself getting distracted on some days from the one I had laid out in my head. Not by the obvious and expected things (unplanned client work or reactive calls which are core to our business and always to be expected) or those that are different to a typical working environment ( kids, dogs, TV, chores etc), but by pretty much anything else…..
I’d want to spend the day focussed on a particular strategic goal, but then I would naturally point myself in the other direction and end up creating a new template for something ( clearly not critical but could at some point be of use). Need to create that series of blogs for our marketing? In no time at all I’d start gravitating towards messing around with a new piece of video software.
As someone who likes to be focussed and derives a strong sense of achievement from ‘getting the ‘right’ sh*t done’, this was not sitting so well with me. And if this is ringing bells and either you or one of your team are struggling to prioritise your time and energy on the goals which matter, let me introduce you to Kermit.
Whilst discussing this topic with a friend of mine who was having the same challenge but fresh from reading ‘Eat That Frog!’ by Brian Tracey, she shared some of the wisdom from the book. The title is derived from the Mark Twain quote: “ If it’s your job to eat the frog, it’s best to do it early in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first”. It refers to the tasks that we seem to keep procrastinating over: the ones which we defer and push back, telling ourselves that ‘we’ll get to them later’. Often however, these are the things which are most likely to move us towards our goals (or certainly block us from achieving them) and when we defer them to the back of the day/ following day (and yes, we know you can find all sorts of excuses which we tell ourselves why we can’t do them…) they sit over our shoulder, metaphorically wagging their finger at us, causing us to dread them even more.
We need to recognise that it’s only human to have things that we shy away from and particularly during this odd period, to lose your mojo once in a while (from the 1.6 m copies sold to date of this book I’d say this was a pretty universal problem), but it’s vital for anyone that they can motivate themselves to complete the things which are going to move them forward, if they’re being held back from it. Taking action first of all and ‘just doing it’ is key to eating the frog before it consumes you, but don’t let the ‘morning’ part of this theory defer you further as it isn’t just for early risers. Whenever your ‘morning’ starts, is when you need to start eating. By getting these things out of the way first, the theory is that you’ll feel a sense of satisfaction of having progressed something early in your work, which can carry other activities and outcomes further throughout the day.
But it doesn’t just have to be frogs that can help you and your team prioritise working on the ‘right stuff’ as opposed to just working on ‘stuff’. Some people swear by having their ‘One Thing’ to focus on: the ‘one thing’ being what they need to do today/ this week which is going to move their business/ goals forward the most and which regardless of what else would have been done during that time period, will show progress and achievement.
I’ve tried using this method and whilst I understand the concept of laser focus, I find that particularly during lockdown with multiple hats on, this doesn’t work so well for me. My go-to method of prioritising these days therefore is a bit of a hybrid of these which I’ve adapted from our How To HR…. priorities we coach others on to work with a daily routine. Here I plan out each day with my:
- Musts: things that even if I have to stay up until midnight, I must do due to their importance in moving me forward towards my goals. These might include ‘frogs’ and they definitely include ‘one thing’ but there are often 2-3 things in this section.
- Shoulds: things which will really help me get the outcomes I want if I can get to actioning them, but which are not so critical for that day. These ones may move to a Must if I’m nearing a deadline.
- Coulds: things which might progress towards my end goal in a small way or is necessary but not critical to my role, but which won’t impact significantly if I bump to another day
There’s no one ‘correct’ way in overcoming procrastination or kick starting yourself or your team, but coaching your team is all about helping them find a way forward towards their goals. So talk to them about what you’ve observed in their progress towards them, discuss what styles might be right for them to try so they can work out which will help them achieve their goals.
All options require a little bit of forming habits, something Gretchin Rubin calls “ the invisible architecture of everyday life and a significant element of happiness”. And although creating healthy habits is a sizeable topic on it’s own, I can summarise one aspect here by saying that habits are more easily adopted the easier you make them to do. And that one way of doing this is to break down some of the bigger goals and tasks you face into smaller chunks. You’re more likely to be able to do these when they’re smaller and seeing yourself tick these off your to-do list, will help build you up and have a sense of progress. It’s why your FitBit/ My Fitness Pal (or any other app) works to help your motivation by visually reminding you of your progress. And as a girl who gets a kick out of seeing the ticks on my to-do list, I’m advocating the return of Star Charts for us all.
Now Etsy might make them prettier than they were when we were at school/ potty training our children, however the structure is the same: list out what you want to achieve and reward yourself with a star for all those things you complete. It’s visual and present as a mental jogger and helps to show what Teresa Amabile describes as the ‘progress principle’, the theory that we are motivated by seeing our own progress. And once you get past the initial emptiness and start seeing the stars mount up, I challenge anyone not to feel a sense of satisfaction.
Traditionally in school days, once you’d filled your star char, you may get a trip to see the Head Teacher to tell you how great you’ve been doing (I like to see positive reinforcement early doors…) but the nice thing about being an adult is that you get to choose what will reward you most. And with your team, that means speaking to them to see what niceties they would put on their ‘wish list’. Someone I know rewarded herself last month for hitting her goals with a onesie for knocking around lockdown in comfort and style. Another is a specialist gin lover. Both of which are achievable through the powers of Amazon.
But it doesn’t just have to be a financial reward that you provide: my reward to myself last week for finishing something I’d been meaning to do for weeks was an hour in the hammock reading my book. I could have done that regardless of what I’d achieved of course, but it was truly restful to do with the satisfaction of having achieved what I’d set out to do. Made even more so without Kermit tapping on my shoulder…
Fancy a chat about how to get the focus back in your team? Give us a bell on 0203 627 7048 or email on firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get right back to you.
Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash
School’s out for (what seems like..) forever right now. It shouldn’t be that time of year again… This calendar month is not the one where we are supposed to be winding down into the Summer holidays: a time when ‘juggling’ skills become paramount as parents across the land dread balancing their work deliverables with the fact that their kids have 6 weeks plus holiday stretching out in front of them. But yet here we are. In May. Finding ourselves weaving in our work and home life on a scale never seen before.
For many in your teams, initially working from home may have been a joy to remove from the commute and a time to show how productive one can be without the daily “ do you want another coffee?”. Yet for 7.9 million households where workers have dependent children (and particularly those with under tens who will remember this time as a very ‘special’ time indeed….), the challenges presented by working from home when your kids are off school/ nursery can test even those with the patience of Job.
Indeed many years ago when mine were much younger, I experienced my first very own ‘BBC’ moment when a newly acquired client called up to discuss a very sensitive situation with their team. Thinking both sons were napping, I took the call, put on my most professional voice, only for my son to start hollering about his nappy activities. He’s always been articulate (and did I mention loud?), so there was no doubt whatsoever about the cause of his complaint, although said client did his best to be British in the situation and completely ignore that this was happening …..
It’s been a few years since then and between us at TheHRhub now, we now have a bevvy of children aged between 1 and 15. But whilst the experience of working flexibly over time has given us some insight into how to do this, managing your work and your children 24/7 without external childcare, presents even greater challenges than we’ve seen before. So we’ve pulled together our own tips about managing to keep on top of things, without losing your cool:
- Plan to Fail: Turn ordinary planning on it’s head and assume that whatever you plan for will not stick. Instead, plan for alternatives. Yes, you may have your day mapped out on a visual planner, colour coded and brimming with unicorns so that all know what is going on and the kids can look forward to the fun times as well as see when you have your less ‘fun’ (i.e work!) plans too. But it’s 100% guaranteed that your kids will have other plans about how they want to spend the day…. So plan what alternatives you have when the ‘schedule’ backfires: activities, doing the more thought intensive work with them on your lap or in front of the telly ( yes, we all have those things we can do with one eye on things). I’m also a big fan of bribery at these times & would propose the liberal use of star charts to nudge along.
- Be elastic with your team: There’s not a person on Zoom/ Skype/ Hangouts who hasn’t been interrupted at some point by a chatty/ screaming child or voices in the background. This is life at the moment and unless you have the unlikely scenario of a fleet of nannies waiting in your cupboard, there isn’t a damn thing anyone can do about it. So not only tell your team you are relaxed but show them too, by inviting in your own family to come and say Hi if they’re about.
- Show trust and reasonableness in timings: If there’s a hard deadline for something then make someone aware of this in advance ( and not on the day). But make sure that your team knows you are not going to be checking in every five minutes and are comfortable in trusting all to manage themselves and their time: this way if they need to take the kids out to the park before frustration and fight levels reach DEFCON Five, then they can do so as they feel the need to feel guilt about it because it’s in ‘work time’.
- Working Time Extended: Not in an effort to make people work for longer each day. But to give people the opportunity to start later, intersperse their days with breaks to focus on their kids and manage all that they need to do in the best way possible. In the words of my own teenager: 9-5 is sooooo dead….
- One Size (Doesn’t) Fit All: It’s unlikely what’s going to work for someone with a two and three year old is going to be the same for a twelve year old at home, so recognise that there’s no one-size fits all approach and talk to your team about what might work best for them.
- Be prepared to offer/ take ‘holiday’: we may not be able to escape at the moment to that gorgeous villa in the sun or the yearned for city break in Barcelona, but by taking some of our annual leave and not focussing on work, could help many out by reducing stress levels in order to focus on just one area.
Fancy a chat? We don’t need to Zoom ( yes, we’re getting sick of it now too!!). Give us a bell on 0203 627 7048 or email on email@example.com and we’ll get right back to you.
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash