Make constant evolution a part of your HR strategy.
Since the dawn of time, evolution has been a force of nature that has helped all species to adapt to survive and thrive in the present and the future. While much has been written about what can be expected in a post-Covid world and workplace, it goes without saying that businesses need to continually evolve to thrive.
Success creates one of the greatest vulnerabilities any business can experience. The reason for this is that, when a business enjoys success, those leading the business are inclined to start feeling comfortable and think, “Things are going so well, “What could possibly go wrong? Things will probably always be like this!”
And, because things are going so well, the leaders of such a business can be forgiven for applying the “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” principle and leaving things as they are. Let’s face it, no-one wants to mess with success.
Alas, that mindset usually results in evolution coming to a standstill if not by default, then by design. And that’s when a company gets left behind by their competitors, realising only too late that they should have made key changes to remain relevant and competitive.
Here are three ways HR professionals can ensure their businesses continue to evolve to stay relevant and competitive.
1. Evolve your company’s culture through learning, innovation, and growth
In these days of unprecedented change, lifelong learning has moved from nice-to-have to a must-have. Knowledge, skills, practices and qualities that were applicable at a certain point in time can quickly become irrelevant, resulting in a drop in competiveness, productivity and profitability.
It’s therefore critical for the learning and development team to ensure they know what knowledge and skills their people need to acquire, and provide ways for them to acquire these.
This requires ongoing collaboration between the learning and development professionals and the HR leader to ensure strategic imperatives are passed down the line for implementation. If the HR leader doesn’t set a precedent by staying abreast of – or even ahead of – evolving trends, they can’t expect anyone else in the organisation to provide the necessary leadership.
HR leaders who create a culture of curiosity, experimentation and innovation will help their companies to enjoy an advantage in the marketplace. Instead of playing catch-up, they will force their competitors to do so. It’s an unavoidable fact that companies that fail to innovate are forced to imitate. They will thus only occupy the number two slot at best, with the sector leader calling the shots.
By nurturing a culture of innovation and growth, HR professionals will be creating an environment that enables a company to position itself ahead of its competition.
2. Evolve your technology
Because the pace of evolution with regard to technology will never let up and will become faster, companies should invest wisely when it comes to their technological needs. Thinking strategically when it comes to your technological needs will avoid unnecessary cost and frustration.
Gone are the days when one purchased a variety of independent software applications that didn’t integrate with one another. Now one can get an integrated and holistic view of your business by bringing all the aspects of your operating environment together, using business management solutions that give you the ability to control your financial situation and your relationships with customers, suppliers and employees.
Such solutions provide real-time insights into key business performance metrics, enabling one to make better informed decisions. In addition, cloud-based solutions can help businesses to minimise stock-outs, simplify ordering and reduce excess stock for efficient operations.
Ensure your employees are suitably trained on any new technology you acquire – the technology is only as good as the people using it. Well-trained employees will take your business to unanticipated heights.
3. Evolve your brand
Would you insist on still wearing clothes you bought 20 years ago if you could afford the latest styles? Probably not. Outdated clothes will say something about your mental state. They will suggest you have not moved with the times and are out of touch with – or don’t care about – current realities.
The same applies to one’s company brand. Because nature is in a constant state of growth and development, you need to ensure that the perception your customers and potential customers have of your brand fits with their constantly evolving needs. When a company doesn’t allow its brand to evolve, it risks being regarded as outdated and irrelevant – and no business wants to risk that.
Brand evolution enables you to not only retain existing customers but also attract new customers. What’s more, it allows you to draw attention from your competitors to yourself in a good way.
Refreshing your brand provides an opportunity to send fresh messages into the marketplace that your products and services are geared to meet your customers’ needs today and tomorrow.
HR professionals are ideally placed to facilitate these three action steps in the evolution of their companies and their people. After all, none of the above can be achieved without people.
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Sonia Tshabalala is the People Director at Sage Africa and Middle East.