29/07/2010

By John Rosling, UK CEO of Shirlaws

Research collated from over 300 businesses has provided lead indicators which foretell what owners and executives can expect in 2010/11. Key trends in outplacement and recruitment point clearly to the beginning of large staff turnover issues, which will leave some businesses unable to respond when revenue opportunities expected to present themselves.

In October 2009, the phones in many outplacement businesses stopped ringing as larger corporations and their mid-tier counterparts shifted focus away from outplacement. At the same time, recruitment businesses began reporting a steady increase in activity.

According to the CIPD recruitment, retention and turnover survey it is reported that the overall employee turnover rate for the UK is 15.7%. However this turnover rate is likely to increase as indicated by Clare McCartney, CIPD’s resourcing and planning adviser: “The percentage of staff that ideally would like to change jobs had risen from 34 to 40 percent since April”.

When times are tough and jobs are scarce, staff won’t risk leaving. If business owners and managers aren’t continuing to engage their teams in the direction and planning of the business’s future, those people will shift to a business that is, as soon as the opportunity arises.

What is the impact to business as a result?

• Potential loss of productive staff, due to their disengagement and desire for change

• Loss in productivity through 2010, due to down-time spent re-recruiting for key positions

• Unexpected costs to organisations having to hire and train new staff

The overall impact to the marketplace from this movement is likely to be:

• A particularly frantic year with high, positive energy tempered by much ‘wheel spin’

• Lots of churn, not only in terms of staff but also suppliers and clients as a direct flow from individuals changing jobs

• Increased availability of top quality resources to those businesses prepared to offer development and growth potential

Consider these questions to determine the possible impact on your business:

• How engaged are my staff right now? Do they remain committed and energised to my business?

• Do I know where the inefficiencies have been built into my business during this downturn? Am I able to work through these positively and proactively?

• Do I have my new revenue targets and activity identified and communicated to maximise the 2010 upswing?

• How prepared is my management team to lead and develop the business in 2010?

All of this leads to four key areas where business owners and managers can focus and engage staff to improve business performance:

1. Measure any Inefficiencies.

In many businesses, an extra 20% of a business’ time is unproductive compared to 18 months ago. Even though workloads for many people have reduced, staff are instinctively making themselves ‘busy’, but not productive, in order to protect their position. Identifying where the inefficiencies have developed through a process that engages their staff will reduce ‘busywork’ and increase engagement.

2. Build an ‘Accidental Salesforce’.

Revenue opportunities are being left on the table, particularly in service-based businesses with multiple client-facing staff. These talented team members impact clients in a beneficial way, but don’t view themselves as sales generators or relationship managers. Consider assisting these staff to develop their skills and their own business senses while driving business growth as well.

3. Leadership.

Reviewing your team’s management & leadership capability provides an easily understood snapshot of a business’ true capability to navigate through the next phase in the cycle, execute strategy and deliver growth. In addition to identifying possible blind-spots & opportunities for staff development, this activity helps focus the productivity of the leadership team and keeps key team members engaged.

4. Succession & Transition.

Just as many employees will be looking for an energetically-different workplace experience in 2010, so too many business owners will be tempted to exit their business prematurely and at a discounted sale price. Investing in succession and transition planning can ensure that any actual transition is a true recognition of their work.

Ultimately, less productive staff and staff who plan to change positions are both a threat and an opportunity. Businesses risk multiplying out any inefficiencies as they enter the next growth phase, meaning they are not fully geared for new revenue growth. Those businesses which are investing ahead of the cycle will benefit from resource and revenue opportunities that will increasingly present themselves.

Those businesses that are not experiencing these concerns – through successful forward management or differing industry cycles – often find themselves discussing their clients and suppliers. Are those key relationships sufficiently prepared? Proactive engagement with all key relationships to a business’ success is imperative.

Shirlaws is an international business coaching firm that specialises in helping businesses to grow, no matter what stage of development they are at. Founded in Australia in 1999, it has since grown to have bases in Europe, North America, New Zealand and the UAE servicing approximately 600 clients.

We work alongside entrepreneurs and business owners to drive both commercial and cultural change, enabling our clients to experience:

• increased revenues and profits;

• improved business culture and personal lifestyle; and

• a sustainable business that is less reliant on key
stakeholders.

www.shirlawsonline.com
shirlawsuk@shirlawscoaching.com

John Rosling will be speaking at Fresh Business Thinking LIVE!. His session will explore: how successful businesses understand the unique “intellectual property” that is the rocket fuel of their business; how they use that knowledge to drive extraordinary future revenues; why innovating the way you package what you sell is the fastest way to secure new markets at this stage in the cycle; how product evolution and looking “beyond service” will create clients for life; and how the businesses that fail will be the ones that simply carry on selling the same product in the same way at the same price.

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