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Best Practices - What Great Companies Are Up To


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Great companies consist of great people. Companies that consistently outperform their competition have learned the great mystery of business. That great mystery is this: people are the differentiating factor in overall success.

Companies who recognize the value of investment into their people reap the rewards of higher profitability and progress. They have dispelled the myths or limiting ideas that prevailed in the post-industrial work environment. Progressive thinking at the executive level along with full management participation in the area of people management is the differentiating factor of great company success.
Companies that are accelerating progress at this time do the following:

  • Plan, Execute and Measure
  • What Great Leaders are Reading
  • Programs Great Companies Are Exploring
  • Ongoing Education Company Wide

Plan, Execute and Measure

Progressive companies have recognized a trap called complacency. The most dangerous trap of all because it is an attitude of 'everything is okay as it is' versus an attitude of 'what can we consistently improve in order to remain competitive?"
Change is an integrated part of company operations- it is no longer talked about as much as it is a reality in the work environment. The changes can consist of organizational reviews or restructures, raqpid market shifts, technological advances and people changes such as resignations or retirements.

Top performing companies have put plans into place for each possible change based on experience from the past and in addition plan for contingencies or things that could possibly happen that could alter business results. For example a client of mine (a top Fortune 500 company) experienced a major setback when they had an exodus of top performers in their sales division a few years ago. It took them two years to recover from the loss of talent, expertise and lost client relationships. They did recover due to their willingness to completely shift their paradigm. They did not want the same thing happening to them again and they wanted to be better positioned to prevent the exodus in the first place.

They created a plan for retaining their top tier performers that consisted of a step by step process for ensuring employee satisfaction. They didn't just perform an employee survey and then keep doing what they were doing before. They took the feedback, analyzed it, discussed it and fed it back to directly to the employees with a detailed action plan. Once the plan was ciruclated they needed to demonstrate commitment to the plan so each management leader took part in the execution of the plan which is a fancy way of saying they followed through on what they said they were going to do. Finally they created a system to measure success so that they could report that back to the employees as well. They used the employee survey after the exodus as the start point, conducted anonymous surverys during the communication of the plan and when the plan and execution was complete asked for a complete evaluation of the entire process including asking the ever important question: "Does this employee retention plan appeal to you and will the plan keep you wanting to work here?"

What Great Leaders are Reading

The CEO's and leaders I am currently working with are reading a number of excellent books out in the marketplace. A new book by Malcolm Gladwell titled "Blink" is a top read of many executives right now as it talks about the power of quick decision making and using internal judgement to make decisions accurately. The Harvard Business Review consistently lists Jim Collin's book "Good to Great" as a leaders must read.

Programs Great Companies Are Exploring

Organizations like systems that save them time and that address issues relevant to their people. One major organization I recently worked with is an advocate for the Six Sigma approach which is a program/tool for disseminating information, analyzing it and testing it to see if it will work company wide in regards to specific challenges within the company.

Ongoing Education Company Wide

Top performing companies tend to set aside substantial budget for education for their employees. The format of the education varies from formal degree programs to shorter courses specific to a skill. Notably one company I work with has a minimum of four sales meetings per year for their entire sales team. They work with a professional event planning company and do it up right with preferred venues, music, networking opportunities and high content expert speakers. Guess what the sales results are for this particular company? Training and education used to be viewed as a nice to have for a many organizations. Great companies know that in order to remain on top of industry events and to prepare their people for handling change they need to invest top dollar in providing the necessary tools to their people. Not surprisingly education is a factor in employee satisfaction. Employees who have educational opportunities through their employer tend to remain more loyal and committed to the company.

About the Author

Cheryl Cran, CSP President of Synthesis at Work Inc. works with organizations in significantly increasing productivity and profitability through communication strategies that improve employee performance, leverage team synergy and build extraordinary leaders. Many of Synthesis at Work's clients are award winning industry leaders.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2007-08-23 00:22:29 in Business Articles

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