Global Human Capital & Associates

Obeservation Trends

Industry Observations — There is a trend where employees are becoming much more independent due to the “hire and fire” trends that have occurred during the early 2000’s and they are not reticent about leaving for an alternative company. As a consequence, retention is becoming a challenge for companies and replacement costs are becoming higher. In order for employees to feel differently about their overall comfort level with the company, they must need to feel of being part of the company and be part of the overall team planning in the overall direction of the company. Part of the solution is for the leadership team to lay down an effective strategic road map and involve the organization with agreed milestones, with regular review of accomplishments along with problem solving sessions. I have observed that many companies are not fully utilizing or getting the appropriate individuals involved in assisting the leadership team to execute. It has also been my observation that management takes charge in overseeing the direction of the company and frequently does not get individual contributors involved. As a consequence they do not feel invested in the process. In order to address and change this behavior, you may wish to consider the following:

Develop a plan — Create a work-force development plan that is closely aligned with your business goals and obtain a wide selection of individuals to be involved in this effort. This group should get a good handle on the growth of resources for the company from a new hire perspective and internal promotions. Establish a recruitment strategy with a proactive employee referral program so that they feel that they have some ownership in the quality hires. Send out monthly newsletters to keep employees connected to different departments’ activities. In addition, the growth path highlights that the company has an outstanding culture, which includes autonomy and accountability to ensure that your company is an appealing company to work for.

Establish human resources infrastructure and systems — Put formal programs and systems in place to address your employees' needs and boost retention. Among other initiatives, companies need to develop a compensation program, an effective benefit program and a recognition and rewards strategy. Development and training programs are also needed in core competencies and leadership areas such as management skills and team building.

Keep an eye on the market — Be prepared to address the changing industry landscape. New technologies and markets mean new types of expertise that you will need to hire or develop internally through training. The organization should have or develop processes to address the change in landscape. This should include a review of compensation levels. If employees are not being paid the market rate, it is necessary to make adjustments to avoid costly employee turnover.

Prepare for a changing organization — All companies, from startups to established firms, need to transition from a heavy R&D emphasis to one that focuses more on sales and marketing. This will require the skills and competencies of the work force to change radically. Plan for these changes and how you will develop employees to be able to assume new responsibilities as your company grows.

Create an outstanding culture — There is nothing that can substitute for a strong culture when it comes to building and developing a powerful work force. Culture consists of many things: work/family balance, open communications, development opportunities, etc. Management should be visible, walk around the office and solicit staff input to truly know what employees want and how the corporate culture is being experienced.

Employee Assessment — Be proactive with the current organization in identifying and addressing key issues before they result in an exodus. Share this information with the organization to address key exit issues. Why wait for an Exit Interview to find out the issues?

Review your plan periodically — Review your work plan as an ongoing process. Be flexible about making adjustments to adapt to business changes. Work force planning is essential and we need to understand where one is now, where one wants to go, and what one needs to do to get there, against the backdrop of evolving market dynamics. Companies need to constantly align their work-force plans with business strategies and establish key development initiatives that take advantage of opportunities that lie ahead and remain competitive. Again, share as much of this effort with the task force and with the company employees

Thinking outside the box — Traditional companies have a tendency to follow the standard industry patterns. Only companies that "thinking outside the box" will truly be leaders. One company that comes to mind is Google, who has been recognized by Fortune as the #1 place to work with 0% voluntary turnover and 67% annual job growth. Their motto is “Google is not a conventional company, we do not intend to become one – mission accomplished”. Also, engineering and land planning firm Kimley-Horn & Assoc., recognized in Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For 2007”, takes a truly unique approach to team building and employee loyalty: "any employee can award $50.00 on-the-spot bonuses to a colleague." I strongly urge you to ask your employees to brainstorm “outside the box” ideas; you will be amazed by the amount of unique ideas that will be presented.

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