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Workforce Planning for SMEs

The truth is that if I slip into using “Corporate Talk” of workforce planning with some of my clients, they break into a cold sweat and think I’m about to make managing a team really hard. The reality is very different. Workforce Planning doesn’t have to be hard.

It is just as important in a smaller business as in a big business – possibly even more important. In a big business, you always have someone to cover a role and more than one person with the skills, but in an SME life isn’t always like that. So before your heart starts to pound and you feel queasy, let me explain what I mean by Workforce Planning.

In simple terms, it means ensuring you have the right people, with the right skills in your business to deliver your business plan or goals.

Most of us don’t deliver everything in our business ourselves, we employ a team to make it possible. Workforce Planning is about making sure you have the right combination of team and technology to achieve your goals and should take into account some or all of the following things:

Current and Future Workloads
An honest picture of what is happening in your business is essential to a workforce plan.

Market & Technology Changes
Is there new technology change that will fundamentally affect how your business operates? Are there new products or competitors that you will need to adjust your business to compensate for?

Team Performance & Skills
Who are your employees (age, salary, skills) and what do you need in your business? Do you have what you need to be successful? Do your employees like working with you and how many employees leave your business in a year

Client Expectations
Are your clients or their expectations changing? What do you need to do to ensure the clients are satisfied with your work?

Once we have the answers to these questions we can start planning so your business is always ahead of the competition, with the right number of skilled people to have your clients singing your praises. This process will make sure that the focus is where it needs to be instead of playing catch-up after something has gone wrong.

The start of a new year can be a strange time in an SME. For some, it is the busiest time of year and for others, it is slow as we wait for people to make decisions in the post- Christmas lull. Regardless of what it is like for your business, it is a great opportunity to look with fresh eyes at what positions and skills are needed in your business for it to thrive.

If you would like help to Workforce Plan for your business call us now, or send us an email. We would love to support you through this important process.


Q&A With HR Expert Kerry Downes

We’re excited to announce that the Impact HR team is expanding. We welcome Kerry Downes — she’s a Senior HR Expert who has over 20 years’ experience in Human Resources working for a variety of companies in hospitality, entertainment, manufacturing retailing and distribution.

In this Q&A, she tells us about her career highlights and what she thinks is the most important thing when it comes to achieving a great team performance.

Q: What’s your professional background?
I have worked in Senior Human Resources roles for a variety of companies including International Game Technology (IGT), Brightpoint where I oversaw the HR Function in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Dubai and India, Global Food Equipment where we relocated manufacturing, call centre, finance and spare parts to the Philippines and most recently National Human Resources for Radio Rentals – which counts 90 stores across Australia, 550 team members and an HR Team of 8.

Q: What brought you to join Impact HR?
I have a passion for wanting people to succeed – no business can operate without people. I strongly believe that people who feel valued will always achieve more than expected.

Q: What’s your biggest career achievement?
I have had many achievements throughout my career including winning awards like Hewitt’s Best Employer and AHRI Award for Excellence in People Management, however, my career highlight is taking a dysfunctional HR Team and transforming them into a high performing team

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Q: What makes you passionate about your job?
It’s always the people! I believe everyone comes to work to do the very best they can – it is our job as leaders to ensure we create an environment for them to be able to excel.


Q: In your opinion, what’s the most important thing when improving your client’s team performance? 
Always my first question is when we are talking teams… Do you know what motivates them?  You would be surprised at how many times I hear “No”.

Interested in talking to Kerry about your team? Leave her a message on our Contact Us page and she will get back to you.


The Art of Giving

As a small business owner, budgeting for Christmas gifts can be challenging. There’s the Christmas party, potentially slow cash flow during January to think about and (in some industries) the burden of leave loading to get your head and budget around. However, after working hard during the year, the team deserves some recognition. How do you reward your employees without getting an overdraft from the Bank?  Read our tips below for simple yet useful gifts.

OUR TIPS TO MAKE GIFT GIVING EASY

1. Step Away From the Marketing Cupboard
As tempting as it might be to kill two birds with one gift, don’t give your team your unwanted and unused marketing collateral. Yes, you may start the year with a clean marketing cupboard but will the lack of team engagement be worth it? They know that it is unwanted and that’s the last emotion you want them to feel as they start making New Year’s resolutions.

2. Ask Them
Let’s face it. They work with you and know your budget. They are not going to be asking for the newest Ipad or an all-expense holiday to their dream location. So why not talk to your team and learn what they would really appreciate receiving this year? It’s not about the surprise, it’s about a gift your employees really want. An authentic gift will be appreciated regardless of how much you spend on it.

3. The Gift of Time
In the month leading up to Christmas, count the times your team tell you “I’m so busy, I don’t know when I’m going to fit it all in!”. Have you lost count yet? I always do. Examine your clients’ needs and your budget and consider gifting an hour or even a half or full day off work for your team. They will appreciate it more than a $5 scratchie ticket that they know they’ll never win anything on. The gift of time will give your team a chance to get some of the Christmas chaos under control and you will have a more relaxed and happy team back at the office. Expensive maybe, but priceless when it comes to employee loyalty and focus during the push to get things done before the silly deadlines.

4. Coffee Anyone?
Most of us have a regular coffee (or in my case hot chocolate) addiction to feed, so why not get them a reusable coffee cup and fill it? Talk to your local cafe about a bulk deal and buy some gift certificates to support a week of coffee runs. They’ll appreciate you when they are getting their fix and you are promoting sustainability.

5. A Night at the Cinema
Treat your staff to a voucher for a local cinema. Bulk purchasing tickets can make a huge difference to the price.
There are so many movies that come out at this time of year and they get to relax and enjoy! It may even be possible to find something that they all agree on and turn it into a team building activity as well. Bonus!

6. Living Gifts
Small and beautiful pot plants are often something that keeps on living for years. Talk to your local florist or nursery about the best options. There are so many easy-care plants to chose from that you are bound to find something within budget and that will be appreciated by the team. Often you will see the plants strategically positioned throughout the office for months or years to come.

7. Festive Goodies
Chocolates, wine and speciality foods will always go down well. It is almost impossible for you not to find something in this line that your team will appreciate.

8. But most important of all, make it personal.

Don’t forget…Even Santa has elves! Have to squeeze in hours into your busy schedule to think about Christmas presents?
Before you tear up the to-do list and throw your hands in the air, remember that help is at hand. Wrapped and beautifully presented gifts can be delivered to your door with little more than an online order or call. But remember to make it personal! Write that card or do something else to let your team know you care.

If you need an extra help, talk to us and we’ll be happy to support you through this Christmas season while you focus on business. Call us on 02 9907 6837 or send us an email at therese.ravell@impacthr.com.au today.


Want The All-Stars Playing For Your Team?

Life is so much more rewarding and fun when you are working as part of a team that is successful and achieving the desired outcomes. Let’s face it; no one wants to be a failure. We all want to do well and be a part of something successful – that’s just human nature.

So why is it such a challenge to create high performing team at work?

When we are so busy doing all the things that need to be done, it can be hard to take the time to actually think about what it is you need from your team and then help them understand it.

There are five steps to create a high performing team:

1. Tell them why
Share your vision for your company, your clients, your dreams, your values. If the team doesn’t understand why they are working so hard they won’t share your passion or your commitment.

2. Tell them what
Be specific about what you need them to do and by when. Set the standards early and be consistent with the entire team and you will win their respect and the results will flow.

3. Tell them how they will know when they’ve done a good job
We all need to know what we are striving for, so set goals and targets. If possible break it into milestones that are achievable in reasonable timeframes.

4. Reward them when they do well
Celebrate successes. Small wins. Big wins. Let them know that you appreciate their efforts and find ways to thank them for it. It may be simply taking the time to say thank you personally those involved, or it may be something much more.

5. Be prepared to act if they don’t
And the most difficult point of all – be prepared to tell them if they are not meeting your expectations. If you don’t tell them, they may never know that you are disappointed and then they will never strive to improve.

Take some time out from running the business and work on the performance of the team. You’ll be amazed how much the team will reward you for it in return.

If you would like some tools to support your business and make your team performance easier, feel free to call us on 02 9907 6837 for an obligation free chat. Sometimes the simplest of suggestions from one of our experienced Consultants can have a huge impact.


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