business Insights

Insights from Businesses for 2022

Having worked with a large client portfolio of organisations for more than 4 years across Private, Public and Local Government sectors, the past 12 months highlighted some interesting trends. I would like to share the key insights, from my perspective, with you. If you connect the dots, it is a bit of a vicious circle with one thing often leading to another.

Common challenges that I have seen were as follows…

  1. Resource levels and support
    Many organisations reduced headcount during lockdowns and subsequently faced challenges due to diminished resources when returning to more typical BAU. This impacted on staff at all levels, leaving many feeling stretched, overwhelmed and also frustrated. It also led to some People Leaders getting more ‘hands-on’ and operational, reducing their capacity to lead others, also to coach and inspire their people, and raising potential wellbeing red-flags.

  2. Staff Retention
    There has been much hype in the press about ‘The Great Resignation’ over the past 12-18 months, and more recently, ‘The Silent Resignation’ or ‘Quiet Quitting’. As has been well publicised, employee feedback indicated that this was driven by reasons such as employee expectations of flexibility of working hours, wanting to achieve better work-life balance and the ability to work remotely. Increased workload and salary-freezes in some sectors have only added to the challenge of retaining staff.

    Whilst I believe that these factors are all relevant, I think that other factors also play a part. These are some of the other common reasons that I believe that employees felt disengaged, and subsequently disconnected, from their role, team or organisation. Feedback is based on exit interview feedback, as well as discussions with many HR Professionals I work with.
    • Poor employee experience – Employees did not believe that their individual contribution in achieving the organisation’s objectives was recognised. Employees did not feel that they were asked for feedback on how to improve the business, or that their ideas were acknowledged if they were. Many employees did not feel that they were valued.
    • Change Management – Employees did not feel sufficiently involved in changes made that affected them (change management 101). Post lockdowns, organisational restructure was quite common but many felt that this change happened to them rather than through them. Other less dramatic changes, were not well managed and often increased negative feelings and lead to employees looking to create their own change.
    • Leadership Effectiveness – Examples are leaders not ‘walking the talk’, leaders’ behaviour not being reflective of organisational values, poor internal communication with information not being cascaded down, ineffective and irregular performance discussions, and also poor (or even lack of)  people and leadership skills. The perception of poor performance not being managed within a team also led to a reduction in employee engagement, discretionary effort made by them and ultimately them feeling disconnected.
  3. Recruitment and Talent Management
    It was evident that HR teams were stretched to the limit during the past 12 months, with many spending an inordinate amount of time and energy focused on talent management and recruiting new staff. The tight labour market, employee turnover and staffing shortages – including within HR as well as outside of HR, increased the pressure from a resourcing, wellbeing and cost perspective.

On the flipside of these examples, I can say many organisations have this stuff nailed. The positive impact of this is huge and can lead to better efficiency and productivity, creating excellent team and organisation cultures. This makes it easy to attract and retain the very best talent and drive great results, despite the challenging environment.

The good news is that all of these are areas that can be improved upon. The starting point for any organisation is to understand what your specific paint- points are. That way, you can design and implement a plan to reduce pain-points, equip your leaders with the tools they need, and build on your organisation’s strengths.

Including your people’s voices in that process leads to a far more accurate and realistic process, than expecting leaders’ perspectives to be relevant without the input of the people they’re making decisions about/for. An often-overlooked aspect that can have the biggest impact on desired results. Having worked for over 4 years with the fabulous AskYourTeam continuous involvement system, I can truly vouch for the real difference doing this effectively can make to driving success through an organisation’s people.

Written by Louise Hill

Posted on 20 Dec, 2022

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