Read the Rugby Business Network’s Interview with Jill Maidment, Director of Natural Talent, on Company Growth and it’s Impact on Existing Staff:
Do you have any advice on how to reduce a negative impact on productivity when new people arrive on the scene?
Most individuals resist change in the workplace; so in order to maintain levels of productivity, employee engagement and morale, as well as avoiding high attrition rates, ahead of any change within any organisation, it is best for leaders and managers to communicate what the plans for growth are likely to involve – to the individual, team and organisation. They should communicate clearly, honestly and consistently what the future vision and strategy of the organisation will look like and how each employee will fit in to any new structure or the big picture.
What would you suggest leaders set in place before expansion?
Before expansion leaders should ensure that line managers are aware of any current and potential future challenges and that talent management and development strategies are in place. Before any new recruits arrive each team member should be aware of their own roles and responsibilities and any opportunities for career progression. Holding regular 1:1s with their team members should ensure that managers are aware of any negativity around new recruits which should be addressed with open discussion and Coaching. By assessing the candidates in advance using talent assessment solutions such as occupational tests and personality profiles, the organisation can see if the candidates fit the culture and identify any potential areas of conflict with the existing teams.
How can employers balance relationships between existing staff and new employees?
Some employers insist that Line Managers and team members meet new recruits ahead of any job offer to see if they are likely to work together collaboratively; in fact many candidates also ask to spend a day with their potential colleagues in order to identify any possible pitfalls.
At regular 1:1s and team meetings managers can monitor any relationships which need improving and can provide opportunities to reinforce the vision, strategy and culture. Having individual and team goals which are aligned with the overall business strategy will help with employee engagement and productivity.
Once in place, if conflict situations arise, personality profiles and HR models can also assist in explaining why certain individuals have issues with their colleagues and facilitated meetings and/or Coaching can help to resolve these.
Does setting out clear objectives keep productivity and employee contribution high and how important is this when expanding a business?
Employees are motivated by different things – from financial reward to wanting to contribute to a worthwhile cause. Therefore it is difficult for managers to identify what will motivate and engage each team member unless they hold regular 1:1s. However, research shows that above all employees want to be trusted and allowed to make mistakes or express their opinions without being shot down. This leads to buy in for key decisions, objectives and collective goals. There is a fine balance between motivating individuals and making them feel micromanaged. When an organisation is going through times of growth and change it is more important than ever that leaders and managers ‘walk the talk’, i.e. that they lead from the front and increase their levels of communication, rather than purely relying on performance metrics.
Expanding too quickly – is there a simple way to avoid losing contact with employees and customers?
Again, communication is the key here. Nowadays it is far easier to communicate with both a company’s work force and customers through emails, newsletters, adverts and social media. If something is changing people want to be told in order to be able to understand how they fit in to the new picture of the organisation and what impact rapid growth will have on them. Both employees and customers alike want reassurance that they will still be treated as individuals and will still receive the same levels of service.
Keeping customer satisfaction a top priority during a transitional period when new staff start working for a business – is there an easy solution?
Providing a detailed and excellent onboarding process is crucial for any recruit at any level in an organisation. The initial induction should involve training and mentoring to ensure that standards are understood and maintained with clear KPIs and ongoing development in place.
Timberland style growth and expansion strategies – are they really a viable option for the small to medium size business when looking to expand?
With SMEs the key to growth is maintaining cash flow, creating and delivering a viable business strategy and ensuring all staff, processes and systems are aligned with the strategy and that it is constantly reassessed and modified if necessary. Depending on the organisation type, the original Timberland style of expansion by M and As and geographical spread may prove too costly for many SMEs, unless they have substantial financial backing.
Do you think that by engaging employees in sporting events – whether as players or spectators – helps people connect which then leads to a positive attitude when working together as a team in the workplace?
Absolutely, in particular with playing team sports, for example, in Rugby the key skills, behaviours, and attitudes around teamwork, leadership, commitment, focus, respect, targets, drive, ambition and controlled aggression are transferable in to business, leadership and team working. For spectators, organisation skills, camaraderie, and especially a good sense of humour – whether your team is winning or losing – are also valuable attributes in the workplace.
Lastly your thoughts on RWC 2015 – an exciting time for the world of rugby – which of the games are you hoping to attend?
It’s the third largest sporting event in the world and being on home soil it will give people in the UK the opportunity to watch and enjoy Rugby at a range of venues. Rugby is an inclusive sport and family-oriented with opposing supporters sitting together, so it can be a good introduction for people to take up the sport at grass roots level. Of course it will also provide excellent business opportunities.
I would like to attend as many games as I can! The first match at Twickenham should be an amazing start to welcoming the RWC to the UK. Often the smaller nations such as Fiji and Samoa do well during the world cup against some of the bigger teams and it can act as a springboard to put names on the world stage. I always enjoy watching France v Italy as it’s interesting to see so many club team mates play on opposing sides; I’ve already got tickets for the Wales v the Play-off Winner at the Millennium Stadium to soak up the amazing unique atmosphere in Cardiff. No doubt South Africa v Samoa will be a very physical encounter, as will the All Blacks against Tonga, and both England and Wales playing Australia; of course not forgetting the small matter of the match between England and Wales in September 2015!