Market Pulse July 2016 – Comments from our General Manager of Operations

In thinking about market pulse this month, I thought – wouldn’t it be interesting to review the Market Pulse I presented to you in July 2015?

Looking back at July 2015

One year ago clouds were gathering over the New Zealand economy.  Global Economic Recession continued to plague and harass our society as we knew it.  New Zealanders continued to ride the waves of the Global Economic Recession.  We had skills shortages, cultural and generational diversity, an ageing workforce, new Health and Safety regulations and a fast and aggressive growth in technology… and businesses were restructuring.

The hot topics of conversations were:

Managing the Pace of Change

Driven by market forces, impact of technology, ‘right size’, ‘down size’, or re-alignment, the pace of change fuels pressure and stress in the workplace.  This is a real and burning issue, and if not addressed, leads to loss of productivity and poor workplace engagement.

Lack of Leadership / Management Skills

Poor management and leadership can cause immense damage to a business.  The cost of turnover and replacement of people who leave the business through lack of effective management and development opportunity is massive – up to four and a half times the average employee salary.

Attracting and Retaining Talent

How to retain people, be a ‘talent magnet’ and attract the right people needed to achieve future success in a highly competitive market with skills shortage.

Organisational Change, Restructure and Redundancy

Manage change professionally and your business brand and personal reputation in your market is maintained and respected.  Manage change poorly, and you could face the wrath of social media, loss of sales, brand reputation and value.

Smart businesses future proof themselves, not just by investing in technology that enhances business systems, process and productivity but by investing in their people too.

Fast track to today – what’s different?

What are the people, capability, management and leadership discussions we have had and what are the identified challenges and opportunities that face business’ now and over the next 12 to 18 months?  Even though the world has moved on, with the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, Brexit, the European Union and US elections looming, the headlines are the same.  However, the good news is that business is moving on from change for survival (downsize or re-align) to CHANGE FOR GROWTH.

Change for growth – or investment in people – is about building platforms that drive a culture of continuous professional development.  You have probably heard the story of a table-top discussion between a CEO and his team trying to work out if investing in developing identified people management and leadership capability across the wider organisations is worth the money?  The CEO says to his GMHR, “Investment in our people and a culture of development… this a significant spend.  Tell me, after developing our managers to better engage and motivate their teams to drive increased productivity, what happens if they leave?  What happens when all that money is… gone?”. The GMHR looks straight at the CEO and says, “We have identified through engagement and capability surveys where the gaps are.  The real question is, what happens if we don’t?”.

Whoever said ‘if you do what you’ve always done, then you will get what you’ve always gotten’ was absolutely right.  If you are facing engagement, productivity, performance and capability issues and you are doing nothing about it, be prepared to get the same result as always.  Be prepared to lose sales, receive poor engagement survey results, and inevitably see an increase in staff turnover.  Worst of all, be prepared that you could be creating a reputation of being the ‘Employer to Avoid’ as opposed to an ‘EMPLOYER OF CHOICE!’.  If there is one piece of advice I impart to just about everybody I talk to, it’s this:  When it comes to enhancing people and business capability, if you do what you’ve always done – yep you guessed it – you will get what you’ve always gotten.  Yes, I know, it works, believe me.

So, what’s happening in the market at the moment?  The headlines are the same and smart businesses are still future proofing themselves and investing in their people because they know they absolutely need to.  Take the time to reflect, look to the future and review your business needs; especially the needs of your people managers and leaders.  If you are unsure in the value of creating a culture of development, even after taking all the research, best practice, engagement surveys, and the impact of increased costs of staff turnover into consideration, then take heart from this inspirational quote –  ’Screw it, let’s do it’ – Sir Richard Branson, Founder Virgin Group.

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