Signs that the economy is taking its time to move to a state of recovery creates an interesting resourcing dilemma.
In this uncertain climate should employers stick or twist?
What would you do?
Twist? – Recruit more aggressively than you have done before to get the best people in now, while you have greater choice, and to prepare you for the recovery?
Stick? – Or are you (understandably) much more cautious about making such investments?
Those who ‘stick’ could have a real challenge on their hands. They will need to make sure they are not left behind when the recovery does (eventually) gather pace, but will have no additional resources or people to do so.
How can you address this challenge in a way that will give you some protection from the uncertain climate whilst effectively galvanising your workforce for growth?
What skills does your business need?
Look at what skills your business will need to grow over the coming year and ensure you have people with these skills in place.
Sounds obvious right? And to be honest it is, but the exercise itself is useful to undertake as you can see if your workforce really does have the skills you think it needs to deliver for your business. It may reveal some alarming skills gaps! – for example are new digital marketing technologies vital to you, or will improving customer service will be a major driver of growth this year?
Get to know your people
The next step is identifying where these skills may be. Often you could find these right under your nose..! Many employees will have latent talents from previous jobs, or from outside interests, and these could be a pot of gold for your business…
It’s not enough just to talk to your people, you have to be prepared to listen, too. Hardly a new idea but it’s surprising how easy it is to forget…
Naturally employees may have concerns. “Will my workload increase?” “Will I be rewarded for taking on additional responsibilities?” Your employees may want additional training sessions or mentoring to prepare them for the work ahead. These needn’t cost the earth – internal knowledge sharing meetings or creating a training ‘wiki’ are great ways to equip people with new skills without outsourcing for expensive training courses
No quick fixes (sadly!)
These things can take time and there are rarely any shortcuts. Employees are valuable assets who, if nurtured, can add the most value to your company. If you see your people as simply extra pairs of hands when budgets are tight you will alienate your workforce and jeopardise the future health of the business.
Keep an eye on the outside world
Finally, even if you aren’t ready to start recruiting new talent from outside the business, do stay abreast of the market. Keeping well networked will ensure that you can identify future candidates more easily when you do need them. And make sure that your commitment to your people is visible to the outside world.
Building a reputation as a good employer is one of the best ways to ensure that you can attract talented individuals to join your business in future.
There is no ‘one size fits all’ method when it comes to equipping your business for these uncertain times. Different business will need different skills, at different times. One thing, however, is true across all sectors and all sizes of organisation. Your people can be your greatest asset and any plan that puts them at the heart of the business will help you to become stronger and more prepared for the challenges ahead.