The Perfect Storm series - Thought Leadership

5 Ways to Empower your People for Success

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Nothing moves until your people move. While organizations everywhere face unprecedented change and new challenges, the future of business is still people.

Recruiting and retaining talent at all levels matters more than ever in a labor market hit hard by The Great Resignation. The most successful C-suite executives are engaging their people so that they’re aligned with the business’ vision and mission.

In this fourth and final installment of the Perfect Storm series, we’re focusing on your most important asset—your people. Read our recent blogs in the series for an overview of what comprises the Perfect Storm of our generation, which we define as the unusual combination of events in today’s business world that have produced an especially powerful and difficult environment for leaders to navigate and lead their companies into the future.

Below you will find four Key Areas to focus on and 5 Value Creation Levers to pull from so that you can achieve the engaged and empowered workforce you need to either keep pushing the business forward or transform it to achieve new levels of growth.

Key areas of impact for focusing on people

No organization can successfully go through change without engaged people. That’s especially true during today’s turbulent times. Focus on these areas to accelerate operational transformation through people:

  • Retainment: A global workforce survey found 20% of employees expect to leave their jobs in 2022. To retain talent, invest in the development of your people through coaching, mentorship, and training and advancement opportunities.
  • Capability development: Millions of workers retired early due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s critical to develop a strategy for transferring knowledge to your people while advancing skills and capabilities at all levels.
  • Cultural shift to fit the new world: Many organizations are adopting a hybrid workplace model that blends in-office and remote work. Although employees may not be physically together every day, cross-departmental collaboration remains vital to aligning people and ensuring you are running a productive business.
  • Purpose: Provide your employees with a purpose they can get behind while supporting their own sense of growth and belonging. Making sure people feel included in everyday operations and, especially, during transformation programs is a must for sustainable change.

5 value creation levers to prioritize

Within the key areas highlighted above, your organization can start pulling some specific value creation levers today to better find, develop, retain, and engage people. Some of these levers include:

1) Offer fair compensation

Ensure compensation remains competitive, as employees have many options in today’s labor market. A strong benefits package—such as health care, retirement, and professional development opportunities—can play a pivotal role in attracting and retaining top talent. Regularly review how your compensation and benefits package compares to similar-sized businesses as well as other companies in your industry.

2) Create a healthy work-life balance

Many changes in employee expectations are long-tail impacts of COVID. A survey of U.S. workers found 64% say working from home has made it easier to balance work and personal life. To keep employees motivated, offer an environment that manages the risk of burnout and improves productivity through generous paid time off and flexible work schedules.

Developing new operating models for how your people work, virtually or in-office, is no longer a thing that was for the COVID era only, it’s here to stay and you must think of your remote-work strategies.

3) Keep people engaged in a remote world

COVID caused a cultural shift in the way people work. With increasingly remote teams, continuing to engage with your people is vital. Workers should still meet regularly—even if it’s via video conferencing—with their manager and other team members so they feel connected with the organization’s mission.

Embrace daily touch points within your leadership team and ensure your front-line leaders and managers are also having daily huddles with their teams, either virtually or in person.

4) Lower the decision levels

Empower your people by allowing for front-line decision-making opportunities. This helps speed the solution cycle and delivers higher value for your customers. It can also reduce overall costs of overly burdened decision pipelines.

Perhaps most importantly, it empowers your people to accelerate change and play a pivotal role in transforming the organization. Lower decision levels mean higher response times to potential problems and, proven with some of our clients, higher productivity and lower operating costs.

5) Enable effective knowledge transfer

As the older generation retires, they take an immense amount of institutional knowledge with them. It is critical to establish pathways for knowledge transfer and mentorship within the organization before people retire and knowledge is lost.

Also, consider alternatives to full retirement, such as part-time or contingent working opportunities, or developing advisory programs from your most trusted and long-tenured employees taking on retirement.

CEOs need to shift to a growth mindset

It’s easy to hunker down and try to simply survive today’s challenging economic climate, but strategic C-suite executives are taking an offensive approach. This is the best time to examine where you can make changes that enable growth.

External factors like inflation, labor shortages, and rising supply costs are out of your control. The way you respond to those pressures is what matters and can set the foundation for long-term growth. Dig deep to uncover what drives the most value for your customers and eliminate unnecessary expenses.

We’ve described in recent blogs how to create change that is not just a defense mechanism, but an offensive approach for Managing Growth and Managing Cash, Operations and Cost.  For most, these two areas are the logical place to develop a growth mindset.

Yet, a lot of leaders fail to realize that developing a growth mindset goes beyond the boardroom. Developing a culture of growth requires CEOs and members of the leadership team to bring along all the people in the organization with them in that journey.

From front-line operators to the highest office in the business, everyone must be committed to growth. From understanding why growth is important to having a clear definition of how they play a part in that growth, every person should be able to see how each action they take can catapult the business forward at speed.

We know that it is much easier said than done to create a cultural en-mass change; yet it is doable.  We have seen some of our clients take substantial leaps forward by creating and cascading Key Performance Indicators at all levels and tying transformational changes to actual results in the P&L.

Sharing those results widely and making them visible will allow people to feel that they are trusted and can truly make an impact for their, and the company’s future.

How Proudfoot can help you navigate the Perfect Storm

Across our series on the Perfect Storm, we discussed three key areas that your organization can prioritize to stay ahead of the storm: Managing growth, Managing your operations, and Focusing on people.

All three areas need to be addressed holistically by analyzing the value creation levers across them. When you understand which levers to pull, you can develop a roadmap that accelerates change and creates long-term solutions.

At Proudfoot, we take both a top-down and bottom-up approach, so you quickly address issues in your organization now and build a vision for the future.

We do this by leveraging our True Profitability approach to pull your data out of silos and dig into the business details, working throughout the business to improve operating models to deliver higher productivity, cost reduction, or creating and implementing the integrated Target Operating Model of the future,  all while also working with your people at every level to transform behaviors.

Tackling the Perfect Storm is a big task, and it doesn’t seem likely to pass in 2023; if anything, the strong pulls of the storm are only getting stronger and more difficult to manage in the year ahead.

With the right strategy and a clear roadmap, business leaders can emerge from this business storm stronger and ahead of the competition – as a leader, make sure you are looking at all the levers and all key areas to establish the priority that is right for your business today while delivering on the strategy of tomorrow.

Connect with our team to start building your personalized roadmap for navigating the Perfect Storm or to discuss how you’ve been managing so far and how to help accelerate your already underway Perfect Storm strategy.

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