"A stitch in time saves nine"
Although we’re qualified and experienced trainers, in our day-to-day jobs we also work as HR consultants within Loates HR Consultancy, providing an outsourced HR department for small businesses that don’t have their own internal HR teams.
Time and time again, we are faced with helping businesses sort out situations that would have been so much straightforward and cheaper to resolve had they been tackled earlier. Remember the old proverb “a stitch in time saves nine”? Well, with HR it’s true. Or for a more academic perspective, just read about the ‘Cost of Change’ curve, which is as equally applicable to HR issues as software projects. What’s particularly frustrating is that many of these time-consuming and expensive problems were entirely predictable, and could have been easily avoided altogether.
So, if it's all so obvious, why does this situation keep arising?
Are your managers managing?
Well, in our experience the underlying cause is often rooted in the effectiveness or otherwise of your managers. Maybe they simply aren't experienced enough to spot issues in their early stages, or aren't confident enough to deal with them when they have. Or they don't have the required technical knowledge regarding HR or employment law to know what actually should be happening, or what they should be doing about it. Or they aren't familiar with the HR frameworks and best practices that would support the robust people management processes necessary to prevent issues arising in the first place. In short, many managers feel overwhelmed and out of their depth, so don't take action when they should.
And this can particularly be the case with those who have been promoted by necessity from within the existing workforce, as often happens within a fast growing small company. You see, just because someone is good at doing a particular hands-on job, it doesn't mean they will automatically have all the necessary skills to manage a team of others doing that same job. Just see the 'Peter Principle'.
As a business owner of a growing business you need to be able to let go of being involved in tiny day-to-day details, and have the confidence and trust that your managers can keep everything running smoothly at an operational level. But if you keep getting dragged back in to deal with workforce issues, despite having introduced of a middle layer of management to your fast growing small business, what have you actually achieved? Apart from increase your overheads and make your business less efficient? After all, your managers are a significant non-fee earning cost, so they should be freeing you up as a business owner to spend your time and energy doing something more useful. Otherwise why do you have them?
But we can help you get things back on track.
We can train your managers
Initially, we began offering management training simply as a natural follow up to the HR issues we resolved, in order to make sure that they never happened again.
Ensuring that there are good people management systems in place ahead of time just makes everything so much easier. Having well defined rules and ways of doing things means that everyone knows exactly where they stand, what's expected of them, and what needs to be done. It's then far easier to deal with any workforce issues at an early stage, before they get completely out of hand, because it's so much more obvious when the line of acceptable workplace behaviour has been crossed, and so much clearer that action should be taken.
But it doesn't make much sense repeatedly 'closing the stable door after the horse has bolted', does it?
So, now we’re making it our mission to help small business owners put all the necessary management training in place beforehand, so that they will never need to call on our HR problem solving expertise.