7 Technologies to Improve Your Workplace

Adaptability has always been key to staying competitive in the market, according to Martin Reeves and Mike Deimler of the Harvard Business Review. Technology has introduced more changes to the workplace in the last 10 years than it did for almost a generation. Nowadays, companies have access to great innovations to help manage time and costs. Used alone or in combination with one another, these innovations benefit a business in ways that can hugely transform profits and productivity. 

Cloud Storage  

Collaboration is the name of the game when talking about the impact of the digital cloud on the workplace. This tool has played a huge role in automating office processes by allowing workers to edit, save, and upload files in real-time. For example, requests from management can be issued over messaging systems built into the cloud software, with changes made on the fly; multiple personnel can edit a document simultaneously instead of having to go back and forth between their workstations or via e-mail. Management can also keep an eye on how work is progressing without having to stand over anyone’s desk. It’s a lifesaver when juggling more than one employee with a flexible work schedule, as they can access the resources they need at their convenience. Any questions, concerns, or issues they have can easily be communicated and resolved at different times of the day. This technology also eliminates the need for expensive hardware-based data storage and protection by allowing a third party to shoulder the costs. 

Back-up Software

Few things are more costly to an organization than data loss. Countless hours and dollars are often wasted in trying to re-create records of client information, marketing/sales analytics, financial documents, and any number of other important office materials. Cloud storage can provide a quick and easy solution to your data protection woes, but if you have privacy concerns or want to be able to access it, you’ll need to acquire some back-up software. This is according to Fergus O’Sullivan’s Top 10 Major Risks Associated With Cloud Storage in 2022. It can perform several tasks cloud storage can’t, including scheduled back-ups and encryption. 

Online Voice and Video Calls

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)-based talk applications are replacing traditional methods of communication when it comes to business conferences and client meetings. Over-the-phone communications can be rendered somewhat cold and impersonal by the loss of body language and a human face to interact with. Videoconferencing allows you to regain some of the lost subtleties of conversation without having to waste precious time commuting away from the office or having to arrange business meetings on your off-time. It also allows you to engage more personally with clients that are otherwise too far away to meet in-person. Videoconferencing can also be a huge boon to any organization that has many employees working on a flexible schedule or from home. Workers can agree on a convenient time for everyone and involve them in discussion without needing to be in the same room. 

Remote Access

Not all jobs are created equal and trying to group them all under the same work structure is, too often, an exercise in futility and wasted office space. Many roles can be performed effectively outside of the traditional office environment if employees are given remote access to company computers and files. This is especially true for some technical, sales, and IT positions. Citrix Systems describes remote access as a great tool for providing technical support to clients, as it is infinitely easier to take remote control of a user’s computer and fix their issue personally than it is to try and coach them through the steps. While it’s not necessarily advisable, with this technology, a business could theoretically hire an entire support team without having to allocate a single desk to the endeavor. IT employees with flexible hours could also use this technology to ease their early exit from the office, ensuring that they’re still available to deal with emergencies remotely. 

Social Media  

There’s been plenty of bad press regarding social media use in the workplace, but with the right social media policies in place, it can be a great morale-booster for many businesses. Talent Culture’s Chris Arringdale explains how employees care about more than just how much money they make; corporate culture is important, and people want to establish a meaningful rapport with their co-workers. Company social media platforms and instant messaging can help foster deeper employee relationships, which is always a plus when it comes to retaining exemplary workers and building an awesome team. 

3D Printing

As technologies go, this one is still in its early stages. Cost-cutting benefits from this technology are leading to quick adoption by many design-based businesses. While employees mostly send out models drawn on paper to other departments or companies to create a physical prototype, with 3D printing, prototypes can be created and tested the same day by one or two individuals only. 

CRM Systems

Often keeping track of clients is as difficult a job as ganing new business. CRM (customer relationship management) systems make the job easier by tracking and recording all the information about new and existing clients. Many modern CRM solutions also provide detailed analytics and automate everyday aspects of managing sales, freeing up time to handle other areas of the business. A great CRM system doesn’t need to be expensive. Several web-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) systems are available at an affordable rate, even for small businesses.

Technology is always evolving, sometimes at a pace that can be difficult to keep up with. Luckily, these days, it is designed primarily with the consumer in mind, and it’s more accessible than it has ever been. With access to all these great tools, business owners can save money, reserve time for less mundane priorities, and rest more easily, knowing that their data is secure. If used to their fullest potential, they can do more than just save money; they can make work easier and more collaborative, increasing engagement and overall productivity. 

L. Wang | Contributing Writer

Work-Life Balance in the Era of Working Remotely

Many people are struggling with working remotely during the pandemic. The line separating work from personal life has not only been blurred; in most cases, it’s been obliterated.

The challenge stems from having a full house, all the time.

Why don’t we re-envision the work-from-anywhere mentality, intentionally transforming it to managing the day? Let’s face it, without a deliberate structure consisting of key tools, a successful work-life balance is unattainable. Trust me. As a fitness professional, writer and single mom with two dogs, the struggle is real.

Here are a few simple things you can do to calm the mind and get into the flow of your day.

Remote Work Tip No. 1: Create a Workspace

•        Dedicate a workspace in your home and pay attention to noise levels and proximity to distractions.

•        Watch the temptation to make do with whatever seems convenient, as it ultimately impacts your ability to perform.

Remote Work Tip No. 2: Create a Schedule & Identify Clear Boundaries

•        Set boundaries. Work hours should have a beginning and an end.

•        Schedule movement breaks in your daily calendar. Ten to fifteen minutes an hour is good.

Remote Work Tip No. 3: Reduce Distractions

•        Clearly define business hours to your family/roommates. Close the door during designated hours.

•        Eliminate temptations and distractions. Close additional computer tabs. Keep a pad of paper nearby for jotting down reminders instead of using your phone.

Remote Work Tip No. 4: Develop a Daily Ritual

•         Create a ritual to mark the start and the end of your workday, like having a cup of tea while reviewing the day’s to-do list.

•         Create tomorrow’s to-dolist before calling it a day.

Remote Work Tip No. 5: Utilize Tools

•        Have one central calendar for both personal and business schedules. Use colour-coding to mark out personal and business events on a physical calendar. You may rely on specialized apps like Google Calendar, instead, to schedule your life.

•        Implement time blocking. Working in 15-, 20-, or 25-minute blocks maintains focus.

Remote Work Tip No. 6: Plan Interaction

•          Maintain colleague connections. Try arriving at calls early to catch up.

•          Maintain a satisfying social life. Schedule virtual happy hours with friends and family.

Remote Work Tip No. 7: Get Your Family on Board

·                   You might not think that getting your family to agree to the idea of you working from home is a big deal, but it is. It’s up to you to ensure that everyone learns to respect your schedule by respecting it yourself first.

•                 Manage expectations. Let them know that just because you’re home doesn’t mean you’re not working.

Remote Work Tip No. 8: Don’t Be Afraid to Disconnect

•                 Working remotely, we can find ourselves distracted by the outside world. Don’t be afraid to disconnect when you need to focus and produce. Try turning off all notifications.

•                 Don’t check your email first thing in the morning. Instead, tackle one thing on your to-do list, first, and then check emails.

The same applies to your personal life. Prioritize yourself and practice self-care. This can mean many different things to many different people, however, the simple fact remains that you need to relax, recover, and revive for what comes next—no one else will do it for you.

Valérie Dubail | Contributing Writer

The End of 9 to 5? How Work Schedules Are Changing

Is the traditional 9-to-5 workday obsolete? Many would say so. There seems to be a consensus among both employers and employees that a shift needs to be made in how the traditional workday is structured. The present-day model doesn’t really promote a healthy work-life balance or stimulate productivity. Too much of a routine can be dangerous. Longer, more rigid hours don’t always equal more work being done. Employees may be coming in for 40-hour weeks, but if they aren’t using that time wisely, then businesses actually lose out in the long run.


The History of the 9-to-5 Workday 

The idea of working from 9 to 5 is a product of socialism during the 19th century. It wasn’t until 1890 that the U.S. government started to track workers’ hours. Up until that point, employees could work up to 100 hours a week and there were no laws protecting children. In 1926, Ford Motors was one of the first companies to adapt the 9-to-5 model and helped to make it more mainstream. In 1938, the U.S. congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act, which made the workweek 44 hours. In 1940, it was readjusted to the five-day, 40-hour workweek that remains the basic standard today.


The Mindset of Millennials and Entrepreneurs

A 9-to-5 simply isn’t for everyone. If you feel trapped easily, especially sitting in a cubicle, dislike routine and/or mundane tasks, and have a problem with authority, then maybe a job in a more creative setting, or of an entrepreneurial nature, would suit you better. At the top of the list, millennials seem to feel the most dissatisfied with the traditional workday structure, placing greater importance on factors like flexibility, impactful or purposeful labour, and economic security. They’re also more willing to seek employment on their own terms and work freelance.


Structured Benefits

The 9-to-5 model does, however, have some major benefits. While some find the routine repetitive, others may find the predictability comforting. Stability and financial security are two of the main reasons many people in years past stayed at the same job for decades. A 9-to-5 job gives people a set schedule they can plan around, as opposed to shift work, where employees don’t always know what their upcoming schedule will look like from one week to the next.


The Possibility of a 4-Day Workweek

One alternative suggestion that’s been gathering support in recent years is for a “compressed” four-day workweek. Employees would work four 10-hour shifts instead of five eight-hour shifts, with Friday becoming a third day of the weekend. Experts have argued for and against it; some say that it would motivate employees to work harder, doesn’t disturb workflow, cuts down on time-consuming commutes (which in turn reduces workers’ spending on gas or transit), eases burnout risks, and promotes other activities. The counterarguments to the new working pattern are that longer standard workdays would be more draining and stressful, and a revamped workweek would potentially affect working parents, who have to deal with things like daycare services.


Our lives are much more than just our jobs. “Work to live, don’t live to work” is a common mantra. The 9-to-5 model may have worked in decades past, but times are changing. Our world is constantly evolving, and so is society. Thanks to recent advances in technology, many businesses can run from a home or out of a remote location. The traditional ways that most workplaces have run are quickly becoming a thing of the past, as the workweek becomes increasingly fluid.


At the end of the day, however, work schedules hardly matter if you have purpose in your life. Regardless of the time of day or week, the hours will fly by if you’re doing something you enjoy.


Rhea Braganza | Contributing Writer

Considerations for Workplace Holiday Celebrations

When celebrating any religious holiday within a multicultural workplace, it is important to make participation optional. The decision-making process to celebrate this type of holiday should focus on ensuring that each individual beliefs are respected. Try to celebrate different types of festivities so everyone will feel included. Employees should not feel excluded if they choose not to participate due to their beliefs. Here are a few things to consider when celebrating office holidays:

Greetings – Try to avoid religious sentiments like “Merry Christmas” or “God Bless You” instead use generalized greetings, such as “seasons greetings” and “happy holidays”.

Decorations – These should be kept moderate and tasteful. Stay away from noisy singing figures and excess use of lighting this may be blinding, garish and not to mention distracting. Decorations for individual desks and cubicles should also be kept simple to avoid disturbing co-workers or overwhelming clients.

Music – Music should be tasteful and kept in the background, if used at all. This too should not be disturbing or distracting staff or clients.

Dress code – Multi-coloured sweaters with flashing lights and jingling Santa hats that light up can be overwhelming. Instead, select a theme for your office, such as “red and white” or a “touch of gold.” This way, everyone is co-ordinated and tastefully dressed.

Gifts – A gift exchange event such as secret Santa is fun. However, participation should be optional. It is polite to still offer non-participants gifts as well; this way they don’t feel forgotten. It is a season of giving and receiving.

While these considerations should place any workplace in good ethical standing for celebrating the holidays, there are a few situations where overkill is acceptable.

For example, if you operate a store where holidays (Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, etc.) are the core of business then you have free reign in the décor, music and dress code departments.

Celebrating the holiday within a multicultural workplace can sometimes be tricky. However, as long as we thoughtfully consider all staff members when planning celebrations, the holidays can be an enjoyable time for everyone.

 

Natasha | DBPC Blog

Workplace Wellness Programs

Studies have proven that the physical and mental conditions of employees affect the productivity of a business. Therefore, companies should implement workplace wellness programs to improve the health and nutrition of their workers. In addition to benefitting existing employees, these features also attract other skilled workers to join the company. Here are various examples of effective workplace wellness programs that will make your company a coveted place to work at.

Health Programs

This is one of the most important programs that employers include in employment packages. This can range from health/dental insurance to therapeutic massage sessions. In Canada, OHIP covers general health care, but areas that they do not compensate are major concerns for the public. It would be an attractive incentive if companies included benefits that the government didn’t. This reflects the company’s consideration in their employees’ well-being.

Onsite Gym

A lot of people these days are conscious about fitness. This is why the gym industry is making good business through membership sales. Going to the gym has become a routine for many people. However, a lot of working professionals would complain that it’s too time consuming to juggle work, sleep, and the gym. As a result, they would have to sacrifice either their sleep or the gym, both of which would affect their health in the long run. Having a gym facility in the office would solve this dilemma.

Other Fitness Alternatives

Of course, an onsite gym would be a large expense for most companies. Other alternatives include a regular yoga or Pilates session. These exercises are cost-friendly; each session can include a big group of people. They are stress-relieving methods and will give you a break from the normal routine of the work environment. In addition to encouraging their fitness, these sessions would inspire mental recovery.

Free Meal/Organized Lunch

A cafeteria with a set schedule of different meals per workday could prove beneficial for the entire company. In addition to saving time and money for employees, it allows the employer to monitor the regular diet of their employees. The typical half-hour lunch break offers employees little option of food to choose from. If they aren’t able to bring their own lunch, they will tend to choose something from a fast-food menu. Eventually, this will take its toll on the employee’s health.

There are numerous workplace wellness programs that your company can implement. More employees are looking for these benefits in their job searches. The more wellness programs your company has, the more it will persuade effective workers to support you. It might require the business to expend more money; however, the benefits will reap in the future. As long as your company looks out for the employees’ well-being, the workplace will emit a positive atmosphere.

– J. Tjoandi

Personality Tests in the Hiring Process

The vast majority of Fortune 100 companies use personality tests to separate the candidacy wheat from the employee-to-be chaff. What do these tests do? Are they worth the time and resources? And more importantly, are they effective?

Kathy Brizeli, the Senior Director of Member Services and Client Success at McLean & Company, worked in psychometrics for 12 years at Caliper. Psychometrics is one of many tests used to measure how an applicant’s traits relate to job performance. As an evaluator, Kathy interpreted assessment results and relayed them back to the potential employers for the candidate being evaluated.

“What we found out were the candidate’s innate tendencies – strengths and weaknesses,” notes Brizeli. “I would recommend their use as an additional piece of information, but never the sole determinant of a hiring decision; they should only be a piece of the puzzle. Assessments don’t necessarily consider experience or skill development.”

Personality testing is in the news: Merve Emre’s The Personality Brokers is the just-released book on how the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator was invented by a mother-daughter team in the early twentieth century. According to Emre, personality testing is now a two-billion-dollar industry.

The New Republic weighed in on the topic, saying that Myers-Briggs, taken by two million people each year “is used by universities, career coaching centers, federal government offices, several branches of the military, and 88 of the Fortune 100 companies.” CPP Inc. sells it for $49.95US. On the flip side, organizational psychologist Adam Grant wrote, “The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is better than a horoscope but less reliable than a heart monitor.”

Robyn Knezic, Delmanor’s Director of Human Resources uses the Wiley – Global Assessment Profile XT.

“We are able to see areas where a candidate excels, and where they may have challenges. Some of those areas are: verbal skills, verbal reasoning, numeric reasoning, energy level, assertiveness, sociability, manageability, attitude, decisiveness, accommodation, independence, and objective judgment,” notes Knezic. But this comes with a caveat: “I think it is important to keep in mind that the personality profile is only one piece of the process and should not be relied on solely when making a hiring decision.”

With fifteen years of testing experience, Maryann Romano, Vice President of Human Resources at Distinct Infrastructure Group, also worked with Caliper, which she says costs $600 per test. “If you are limiting it for one or two candidates, fine. If you’re filling ten candidates over six months, the costs can get significant, especially if things don’t work out for whatever reason.” She claims that personality testing has shone light on, “knowing the warts, deciding if you can live with them, how to manage them, and how they like to work.”

Meanwhile, Mardi Walker, VP of Human Resources for the Ottawa Senators shares similar experience with personality testing. “Personality testing,” she says, “has worked out well for store clerks and store associates.”

In addition to Caliper, Walker used Gallup’s StrengthsFinder Personality Test – what she refers to as “very intense”. “It tested arithmetic ability, a person’s honesty and integrity, and how likely they’d be to ‘help themselves to the merchandise’.”

Vered Lerner cautions if the test is not administered properly, or if the tested individual isn’t honest, “the results may be misread or misunderstood.” The CEO and Founder of Bizstance Services has been working in HR and management for over 20 years.

The employer, moreover, ought to understand that a test doesn’t reveal everything. “Not all roles require testing, and employees are complex individuals with emotions, and the ability to change and adapt, given the right conditions and support.”

– Dave Gordon

How to Have a Difficult Conversation with an Employee

It’s never easy to have a difficult conversation in the office, especially if you’re deathly afraid of confrontation. However, it’s impossible to manage a company and not have to approach an employee at some point about their behaviour, insubordination, or work quality, and sometimes even terminate them. Brushing the issue under the rug or simply ignoring it can make the situation worse and negatively affect the workplace, productivity, and other employees. There are several different types of difficult conversations that you might need to have at some point, including policy breaches, coworker complaints, dress code violations, and even workstation cleanliness. As a manager or supervisor, it’s important to know the proper way to handle these conversations, or it could do more harm than good.

Prepare Yourself
Before deciding to have the conversation, get prepared by asking what the behaviour is that’s causing the problem, and what outcome from the behaviour is impacting you, the team, the environment, etc. You need to have an understanding yourself before providing clarity to someone else about the issue. This will also keep the focus on the issue and avoid derailing the conversation.

Choose an Appropriate Location
Before entering the conversation or even calling for a meeting with the individual, decide where it will be held. Finding the right location will set the tone of the meeting. Your office is usually the best place, but depending on your company culture, it might ease the tension if you talk over a cup of coffee or lunch at a food court in the building or nearby; this can lessen the chances of the employee feeling embarrassed. However, if it’s a more formal conversation, your office, a conference room, or a boardroom is probably the most appropriate place.

Leave Your Emotions at the Door
When starting the conversation, be straightforward and tell the individual what the purpose of the meeting is. Be sure to not get caught up in your emotions; keep your feelings in check and don’t let them drive the conversation. Focus on the facts and be careful not to say things like, “I feel disappointed,” which will only add biased emotional elements. It also helps to be aware of your preconceived notions about the situation and the person involved, so make sure to leave that at the door as well.

Be Open and Listen
Be calm and fair during the discussion. Don’t project anger or judgment because that may result in the employee getting defensive and things might get heated. Find a balance between polite and firm; be caring but remain professional. It’s important to be open to hearing what the other person has to say. Be mindful and treat them with respect, even if you completely disagree with them.

Brainstorm
It’s important that you brainstorm solutions during the meeting. Ask the employee in question what they think will work. Out of their ideas or suggestions, build on something you like. Asking for their point of view can create a safe atmosphere and encourage them to engage.

Always Follow Up
Following up after the conversation is a good way to smooth over the relationship between you and your employee. It’s also a good way to check up on their progress if there are any changes they need to make. Don’t micromanage, but keep track of how they’re doing, for as long as you think is necessary. If progress needs to be made, there is a possibility they might backslide.

Putting off a difficult conversation will only do more damage to your business. Holding off on speaking to an employee about their performance or attitude won’t help productivity and might even affect the rest of your team. Practice these tips and prepare your points so that you can mentally prepare and be more effective, confident, and comfortable with having difficult conversations. That way, you can get everyone on your team working together and at their highest potential.

 

Helen Jacob | Staff Writer

Creating Openness Within Your Team

Human Resources

Everyone who has ever worked on a team will agree that the key ingredient to a successful team is collaboration, yet few have a thorough understanding of what this entails. Collaboration is a team’s ability to interact efficiently and work towards achieving a common goal. However, numerous studies show that without openness, any opportunity for collaboration will be lost, and the team will fail.

What’s the best way to create a sense of openness within your team? Consider the following tips:

Open Communication is Key

Open communication is not limited to your organizational hierarchy or a set team meeting. Team members should have access to opportunities and resources to communicate whenever and wherever it’s necessary. One way to create an open communication dynamic is for yourself and your team to familiarize yourselves with Tuckman’s Team Development Model. Assess what stage your team is at, and proceed from there.

Actively Listen to Team Members

While many of us hear what others are saying, we rarely truly listen. By encouraging team members to listen to one another and acknowledge understanding of their peers’ ideas, you’re facilitating improved productivity in all relevant processes. If your company employs remote workers, always make them feel as if they are in the room with the rest of your team to help encourage effective participation.

Establish Transparency Across All Operations

Transparency in your business practices is one of the shortest paths towards creating an open and supportive workplace. Before team members can trust one another, they need to be able to trust that the company’s mission, vision, and values are in line with their own. Not only will this improve collaboration within your team, but it also encourages accountability for every action taken.

Turn Failures into Learning Opportunities

The largest setback for many a team is the fear of failure, which often stems from leaders who focus on the here and now rather than the big picture. Remember, there is no innovation without risk. The simplest way to get this message across is to openly encourage risk-taking within your team. Although not all risks lead to rewards, allowing your team members to implement their own personal touch in company operations promotes trust and flexibility in the workplace.

Plan Regular Team-Building Exercises

At the end of the day, a team is a group of human beings who must feel comfortable to step outside of their respective comfort zones to share their ideas with others. In addition to open group discussions, members should be encouraged to grow closer through informal activities, such as lunch outings, to help promote mutual support and trust.

Openness inspires creativity. As Steve Jobs once said, the larger your “bag of experiences,” the more diverse the connections you can make between the ideas set before you. Creating a sense of openness within your team is not only beneficial for the team’s overall performance, but also for each team member’s individual growth and development.

 

 

Diana Spektor | DBPC Blog

Tips for Workplace Holiday Safety

Christmas is coming! Usually, offices and shops start to decorate their work spaces to get into the holiday spirit. Beautiful Christmas trees, pretty lights and shiny ornaments – these are all aesthetically pleasing for onlookers but can prove to be a hazard for all. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported over 15,000 Christmas decorations-related injuries in November and December of 2012 alone. Unfortunately, that was the fourth consecutive year that the injury statistics have risen. So before you decorate your office, make sure you follow these tips:

  1. Fire-proof your tree

If your workplace decided on an artificial tree, purchase one that is non-flammable/flame resistant. A real tree would be a major concern because it can dry up and become a fire hazard. Dry trees are more flammable than well-maintained ones. With this in mind, it goes without saying that your tree should never run out of water. Keep at least four litres of water under the tree every two days. Keep watch of the water level and refill when necessary. Additionally, you want to keep the tree away from overcrowded power outlets, heaters, fireplaces and spaces where people might knock it over.

  1. Avoid certain ornaments

About 11% of holiday injuries are cuts and gashes obtained from dangerous ornaments. Remember how the two thieves in the movie Home Alone comically fell on the floor after slipping on booby traps that the boy set up? As funny as it may sound, incidents like these are a reality. Ornaments that drop from Christmas trees are accidentally stepped on, causing injuries to the victim. Try avoiding fragile or heavy ornaments such as glass spheres. The last thing you want is to have a colleague or customer hurt themselves on a Christmas decoration. Better to be safe than sorry.

  1. Watch your ladder

At 34%, falling is the one of the highest cause of injury during Christmas. Yes, it is recommended that one should use the ladder while decorating; however, take precautions before climbing it. Personally, I would suggest decorators use a stepladder when decorating indoors. Even so, make sure the spreaders are fully open and tested for stability. Climb down and move the ladder when needed; do not attempt to stretch and reach too far.

  1. Keep burning candles in sight

While it is no doubt that candles are obvious fire hazards, there are several ways to prevent it. First, you would want to keep them away from the tree, curtains, blinds and drapes. Candles that are lit should be supervised; never leave the candle burning in a room alone. You would also want the candle to stand on a stable and heat-resistant surface. Avoid placing lit candles among other objects such as paper, tissue boxes or stationaries. Candle-related incidents have caused 70 deaths, 680 injuries and $308 million in property damage between 2009 and 2011.

As much as we enjoy seeing Christmas decorations being set up in workplaces, it is also important to take action in reducing the number of possible accidents. Let this holiday season be full of good memories. Remember: something as simple as vigilance can make all the difference.

J. Tjoandi | DBPC Blog

Succession Planning in Small Organizations

When we talk about “succession planning”, the first thing that comes to mind is the “seamless process of replacing a top executive when he or she decides to leave the organization”.  However, as business trends change, so does the system.  The procedure is now more inclusive with wider scope.  Aside from exit strategies, it takes into account the (short-term and long-term) stability and sustainability of a company’s human resources plus the individual development of its employees.

Businesses, irrespective of size, legal structure, nature or industry, are always faced with uncertainties – employees or executives leave.  They may reach retirement age, become incapacitated, receive a better position within or outside the company.  Regardless of the reason, the institution must always be ready to fill that void with the right person to ensure continuity of leadership and operations.

There is no prescribed formula in succession planning but here are a few points to consider:

  • Develop and maintain an updated demographic profile of the workforce. This identifies each member’s roles, determines key position(s) that are critical in the short- and long-term operations and recognize personnel with the potential and eligibility to replace or assume other posts.  The data also helps in conducting an analysis of the current office’s collective expertise and what it needs in the future.
  •  Staff development as part of succession planning, requires organizations to provide further training to ensure employees acquire the needed know-how. Equally important is getting the “soft” skills associated with the demands of the job (decision-making, leadership, critical thinking, interpersonal and communication).  Develop programs and coach/mentor them while helping them acclimate to the situation.  This phase likewise involves increasing the scope of their responsibilities and, most importantly, getting the individual participate in the action plan.
  •  Conduct a regular review to re-assess if targets are achieved. If there are changes in goals and/or job requirements, be proactive and make adjustments.  Creating a plan is not enough, it must be updated periodically to reflect the shifting demands of the enterprise and the market.
  •  Select individuals based on competencies and not personalities. Hiring internally is almost always more preferable than contracting out.  However, the pros and cons must be carefully considered.  Regardless of what management decides, it must be communicated to all stakeholders to avoid resentment and confusion.

The success of an enterprise highly depends on its qualifications, knowledge and experience, which are tied to its people.  The moment a staff member walks out, they take with them this valuable asset.  Instead of scrambling and making hasty or uninformed decisions, it is always best to prepare for any eventuality.  Make sure to find the individual who will and can support and complement the company’s vision, values and objectives.

Succession planning is not a one-time event, it is a continuous process – it evolves with your trade and your experiences. It is never too early to start one.  Do it now!

 

Z. Ricafrente | DBPC Blog