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Making employees central to business success in 2021

  • Written by Gordon Starkey – Chief Operating Officer, ELMO Cloud HR & Payroll


As the calendar year draws to a close, many leaders will be thinking about what could be in store for their organisations in 2021 and how they can plan for the future. Undoubtedly, recovering lost ground and rebuilding an even stronger organisation will be a priority for many businesses. While ramping up sales capability and marketing activity will be an obvious first step, businesses need to strategically plan how they’ll best utilise their human capital to achieve their goals. Without the right structures, skills and processes in place businesses will struggle to get out of first gear. There are five factors that leaders should consider as they plan for the year ahead and an anticipated economic recovery in 2021.

  1. Adopt an agile approach across the organisation. The concept of agility isn’t just about stand up meetings and post-it notes sprawled across walls. Adopting an agile approach means the entire organisation is able to identify opportunities and rapidly act to take advantage of it. This capability relies on two elements: having capable people who can take ownership of their roles; and a clearly communicated view of what the organisation is striving for. With these two factors in place, organisations will be on the right path to quickly respond to a changing market.

  2. Constantly communicate clearly with employees. The past year made it abundantly clear that internal communication channels are imperative for businesses. While most people have become used to Zoom meetings and instant messaging platforms, it’s the role of leadership to make sure this communication continues. Having a heightened focus on internal communication and collaboration is invaluable to keep all parts of the business firing in unison.

  3. Never lose sight of employees’ wellbeing. Having a high performing agile organisation relies on employees being in top form. If an organisation wants to achieve success it needs to maintain the wellbeing of its employees. HR technology can help leaders get a comprehensive view of each employee and flag when someone might be struggling. Early identification can help leaders intervene and help with an employee’s wellbeing. This will not only bolster an employee’s performance, but it will serve to create a stronger employer and employee relationship.

  4. Make the most out of each employee by investing in their development. If an organisation wants every employee to be performing at their peak potential to deliver results, it needs to invest in each individual’s development. That requires an investment in the tools to roll out and track learning and development activity. This will mean that people can be upskilled and deployed to different project teams so the organisation can act with agility and each employee is being utilised to their capacity.

  5. Plan talent needs with business needs. Managing the pipeline of prospective employee talent needs to correlate with the pipeline of new business. Leaders need to manage both pipelines and ensure the left hand is talking to the right hand in organisational planning. Having systems in place that provide data and analysis will enable leaders to match the two areas together.

There will always be ambiguity and uncertainty going into any year. Through proper planning factoring in the human capital elements of an organisation, leaders will be able to recover and rebuild in 2021.

Gordon Starkey – Chief Operating Officer, ELMO Cloud HR & Payroll

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