Charan Sarai - FPM Practice Manager Adviser

Undertaking a critical appraisal of staff resources

We all know that without good staff our organisations will fail.  What we have also come to learn is that we are only as strong as our weakest link.

Whilst I agree with both these quotes, I think it proves that there are two camps - one suggests focusing on your strengths, while the other that says you will never go forward unless you address your weaknesses.

The ideal manager, however, should be fully aware of where their teams’ strengths and weaknesses will sit.

Managers can use this information to conduct performance appraisals that offer positive feedback and advice for improvement during the conversation between management and the employee.

Here are some helpful tips for improving staff resources, and something to think about as appraisals approach:

Keep data organised

Ensuring real-time access to employee information and automating routine tasks, frees managers to focus on the ‘what and why?’ of talent management, not the ‘how’s?’

By integrating succession, performance, skills and competencies data, your organisation can improve efficiency, accuracy, and profitability.

Offer rewards for high performers

Tie organizational goals with the management system. Giving bonuses to hard-working employees encourages smart use of resources.  Your high performance employees are more likely to stay motivated and committed and your under-performers are then not overcompensated.

Managers tip: Use this as a good way of controlling costs while encouraging productivity.

Set out goals

Goals are the true building blocks of a good business, and tangible objectives inspire greater performance.  By setting, tracking and consistently evaluating progress, employees connect to the business mission, culture and plans for the future.

Managers tip: Use the power of focus on common goals to create long-term health, sustainability, and profitability for your practice.

Training is key

Meaningful training builds engagement and supports leadership development, while helping you plan for the growth of the company and your employees.

The Confederation of British Industry’s 2009 report on employment trends shows that during a recession, 44 per cent of employers reduce the amount of money they spend on training during a recession.

This is despite 57 per cent saying that a loss of talent and key skills is a threat to their business during the economic slowdown in the Hay Group’s Fight or Flight in 2009.

Organisations that invest in their people’s skills and development have a better chance of surviving an economic crisis such as the one we are currently seeing.

Managers tip: Retain high-performance employees while improving productivity – a win-win for both budgets and the practice.

Build on competencies

While a check-list of competencies can aid both hiring and evaluation, teaching these same competencies can send job performance into the stratosphere. Competencies tied to training plans stimulate engagement through the creation of measurable outcomes to learning.

Managers tip: Tangible outcomes to learning foster growth and engagement.

Summary:

  • Empower Managers with the right tools to do the job.
  • Drive the culture within the organisation/practice
  • Encourage goals and team alignment.
  • Rank high employee development.
  • Teach to build team competencies

Managing Partners have to look their largest cost and without doubt it is usually staff costs.  Therefore the efficient use of people is one of the most important things to get right.

Questions to ask yourself

Lastly, I have put together a list of some questions you might find useful to ask yourself before appraisals:

  • Where is the practice going?
  • What impact will direction of travel have on the staff?
  • Where do you need to make efficiency savings?
  • Is there a duplication of roles within the practice?
  • Do you know the staff’s skills, strengths and weaknesses?
  • Have you looked at staffing rotas and patterns? What effect do these have on staff?
  • Can elements of work be delegated to different members of the team?
  • Do staff know what training is available to them?
  • What extra training is needed?
  • 4

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