Growing Without a Plan - Good Luck on That!

A company’s desire and action to grow is often spurred by market demand and current results. Conversations take place at the executive table, recommendations are presented to a board, decisions are made and a plan is developed to realize this growth. Usually, the focus of the growth is financial, and although the human resource aspect is considered equally important, it is not given the same amount of due diligence to how this growth will be realized. Understanding what the current climate is and knowing where the organization needs to get to is crucial. So what are the 5 key areas that should be examined?

1. Employee Engagement

Understanding where the employees currently are in terms of their support and involvement of the organization could make or break future growth plans. The commitment and confidence that is needed by the leadership team from the rest of the employees is crucial to success. An employee engagement survey assesses the current climate and the anticipated commitment to a new direction that is being proposed by the leadership team. Many companies leave this step out with an assumption that they know what employees are thinking. However, with an unengaged workforce contributing to a 25% decrease in productivity can an organization really afford to simply guess on what employees truly are thinking?

2. Human Resource Skills Audit

Understanding the skills that currently exist and then the skills that need to be present to carry out the growth will form the basis of a solid Human Resource recruiting and training plan. The need to bring on a large amount of employees at one time will sometimes require that people are brought on quickly – perhaps too quickly. Sacrificing, solid recruitment efforts, assessments, and comprehensive interviews to simply get people placed into an organizational chart, does not necessary work best. Spending the time to understand the group that the employee will work within, the groups the person will inexact with, and understanding the style and expectations of the person he / she will report to, is essential in successfully hiring the best people.

3. Training Plans

Once the audit is complete, developing a training plan that will address the gaps that exist and establish the needs of the teams for future growth, is required. Too often, companies feel they do not have time to train their people! If the industry the organization are in is a specialized on or the market they are currently in, does not have a large number of potential employees, training people may be the only and best option to allow for planning and successfully meeting the employee numbers. Keeping abreast and being realistic on the need to bring on junior people and grow the company’s experts, may very well be the most viable and competitive strategy to meet those growth objectives.

4. Onboarding Plans

Again, I hate to sound like a broken record, but onboarding plans are another task that simply cannot be left to chance. Companies need to go beyond 1-2 weeks. With the need for skilled talent and the time and money that is spent bringing on new employees, the first 3 months are crucial to ensure the employees are well integrated into the organization and are productive as soon as possible.

5. Team Building and Coaching Plans

Now that you have brought on the individual employees, the investment needed now to ensure that the teams as a whole - the existing employees and the new employees – meld and are true teams.  Assessing individual skills, providing leadership development and coaching opportunities will assist each person to move beyond the individual’s needs and move towards being a truly successful team. Further, the outcomes of the Engagement Survey need to be fulfilled, and acted upon. Each outcome that resulted in a less than positive result needs to be addressed to ensure that the majority of employees, are fully engaged in meeting the organization’s objectives. Each outcome is not a simple task, but requires people to change their behaviours, whether in a leadership position or not, each employee will have a role in improving the environment to make it the most conducive for success.

So when organizations think about growth, the various aspects of growth – capital, human resources, timing, market conditions, and operations – have to be everyone’s responsibility. The Human Resources aspect cannot be simply left to the VP of Human Resources to be executed upon. There are key individuals who will be Accountable to lead the specific growth plans, but everyone must be Responsible to carry out the various aspects of the plans. The five areas presented above are not simply documents that are sent out to each individual’s work group and result in an A grade when human resources completes and delivers the plan. Achieving the A grade, and thus the successful growth the company desires and has planned for, will only be realized when all the plans are executed upon successfully. Period.

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