The Corporate Spring Clean

The end of financial year comes around a little too quickly these days. For some it suggests that a “new year’s resolution” is necessary to apply purpose to the fiscal 12 months ahead. For others, it is a time of reflection on how the business performed. Or perhaps, what the culture of the company has become. It might even be that critical turning point in time where senior managers consider how best to change their organisational design for maximum impact.

The common thread for any business, large or small, is health: of the organisation and of its people. One of the health hot spots in the current Australian market is that of people performance and talent management. Gone are the days of laborious annual performance reviews requiring employees to reflect on up to 12 months of performance to support their business case for a salary uplift or perhaps a promotion point. Now – in keeping with the world of instant gratification and “real time” feedback – there has been a strong push in the direction of continuous performance management. What does this mean for you and your business?

You have a choice. What is your management and leadership style? Do you regularly provide feedback (positive and constructive) to your staff whilst at the same time offering guidance on best practice and alternative methods of working? It’s all about the “feedback sandwich”. Keep it real. Keep it balanced. Do not let it overflow with non-essential ingredients. Offer one point for each topic of conversation – do not lose quality of thought in a myriad of detail. Encourage your employees to respond to the feedback and even perhaps “repeat” their understanding of what it means for them in practice. That way, you find your synergy. You find your meeting place. If you are both on the same page then the unity required in teamwork can be more readily achieved.

What about your talent. Your succession planning? Does your organisation have values that promote home-grown talent? If so, the proof is in the pudding. The most detrimental mistake an organisation can make is to say one thing (particularly as part of an Employee Value Proposition), but not demonstrate this in practice. If you make a commitment as a business and as an individual to develop the skills and expertise of your team, the best way of servicing this promise is to provide a transparent and visual pathway to succession within the organisation. This in turn feeds engagement which has a direct impact on the elusive “culture”.

The culture piece is huge. We read articles daily on LinkedIn and social media blogs on how best to promote a happy and healthy work culture. This is often a misnomer as it implies some kind of veil of corporate security that can be bought. Rather, culture is an output. It is the proof in the pudding. The end result of vision and values being demonstrated by senior leadership and filtered through the ranks of any business. Upwards, downwards and sideways.

So, as another season ends, and the tax year draws to a close, why not prepare your “spring clean checklist” and make sure your business is on track in these key areas of corporate health. Just like that annual visit to the GP to check your blood pressure and iron stores, this quick corporate measure could be just the thing to save the life of your business in an unpredictable global economy.