2014 – 2020: Managing staff in changing times


Welcome to this two minute HR Blast.

In the UK we are just coming out of a pretty tough six years. In employment terms 2008 – 2013 have not made for that many great memories. However we have come through and now with the upturn looking as though it’s more than just a ‘blip’, we thought it time to turn our attention to managing staff through the next six years. That will take us neatly to 2020.

But in order to work out what we might need to do differently, perhaps we ought to summarise what has already changed or what is likely to change in the workplace by the year 2020…

Age and gender Profile

  • 24.5 million over 50’s in the UK – a massive increase of 24% in just 15 years! Then, by 2030 there will a staggering 46% aged over 50.
  • 5% decrease in the number of 16 to 24 year olds.
  • Women in work has risen in recent years from 59% of all women of working age to 70%. Expected to rise to 80%.
  • Only 20% of the full time workforce will be white male and under 45.

Ever more technology

  • Leading edge technology, in particular social technology used within the business.
  • An increase of independent workers, with ‘the office’ being a virtual place for many.
  • ‘Hot desks’/mobile workplaces will be the norm. Computers will be replaced by laptops/mobile devices for greater work flexibility.
  • Voice and robot technology increasing.

How and where we work

  • ‘Sardine-tight labour market’ making attracting staff in and then retaining good staff a priority for all businesses.
  • Increasingly workers will be working 24/7 rather than 9-5 and the lines between personal, professional, social and family will disappear.
  • British people will be accustomed to the ‘nanny state’ telling them what to do creating a lack of those able to independently think or operate without procedure or precedent.

Who we employ

  • The number of full-time employees will decline as contract workers increase.
  • Employees/workers will increasingly have portfolio careers, working for multiple employers, often simultaneously.
  • A core team, managing employee/contractor teams working around the globe.

How we train and develop staff

  • Training will be lifelong and virtual. Mobile learning and simulations will be fully integrated in development programmes.
  • HR focused on employee engagement and improved job satisfaction, training and development will be a key focus for businesses.

So, given this information, here are a few of our ideas about what you might be thinking about in order to ensure you create and manage a positive and highly motivated workforce.

Line managers

Employees respect and value line managers who can manage both the tough stuff and the positive stuff with confidence. However too many line mangers lack confidence when it comes to managing people who are not performing well or who are misbehaving. Managers often lack confidence too during periods of potential conflict or change. So, how about putting some money aside to invest in and build up your line managers’ skills and confidence? Don’t forget to also actively support and encourage them so that they can gain and then maintain the respect of their staff.

Making your business look attractive to recruits

Drawing in good calibre people is going to be increasingly essential. A good job ad is one thing, but you need to ensure the whole organisation is ‘joined up’ in its approach to recruitment in order to really create the right image. In other words think about your website, the recruiting managers, the agency you use, the interview environment, the admin and paperwork they see, the package offered etc. All these things, if well thought through, can combine to create an enticing offering. And don’t forget that increasingly staff are taking a keen interest in the community initiatives and corporate social responsibility activities of their employers. Are you talking enough about what you get involved in, or are there opportunities being missed?

Retaining staff

Early and competent conflict management is great for ensuring a good workplace environment which staff enjoy. Also, managing performance on a day to day basis throughout the year is great for ongoing communications with staff and avoids those awful moments when issues are suddenly and unexpectedly brought up in an annual appraisal. To retain good staff you also need a holistic approach to salary and benefits packages, flexible working opportunities, training and development provided, professional career management support, work environment etc. You can’t just think about one or two of these areas or aim to tackle them one by one. Instead you need to think about the whole ‘package’ and keep revisiting it and amending it in order to ensure it continues to hit the right notes with staff.

Cultural change and adapting to change

Change is endless and if you want to operate in a positive forward thinking environment, then you need to ensure your organisation can adapt to change as fast as change is occurring. This means having both directors and managers thinking on their feet more, constantly reassessing, reprioritising and revising what the organisation offers, what the organisation does and how it does it. Do you have line managers, directors and HR who can think and move this quickly and who feel comfortable doing so? It’s a skill you might need to build up. Time to start?

Training and development ownership and budgets

We all know that staff love to be developed and have their careers and CVs enhanced. To retain good staff, as well as to attract in good staff, your training and development opportunities need to be well thought through and being continually reviewed to ensure opportunities are not missed. Training needs to be ‘owned’ by those who don’t just protect the budget, but who know how to use the budget to train, develop and retain great staff. Budget ownership and strategy ownership may be best held by someone who is great at driving change, identifying opportunities and who has great commercial awareness. Leaving it in the hands of someone who will keep it safe is unlikely to deliver what you need.

IT Staff

It’s not often that we focus on IT staff, but technology is complex and fast changing and staff often feel overwhelmed by it all. It’s also very common that staff have technology that they don’t really know how to use properly. Nowadays your most valuable IT staff may well be those who are great at educating others, encouraging those who lack confidence and who are passionate about ensuring that all staff know how to use the technology available to them. IT workers with great communication skills are likely to be more in demand than ever before. Whilst those who lack good communication skills could well cost you dear. Any changes needed in your IT Department?

In Summary

If you want to position yourself for the next 6 years to recruit and retain great staff, we think the most successful organisations will be those that take an holistic approach to creating a great environment and managing their staff. This means that all departments and all functions work together and know how to pull in the same direction. Its not rocket science but equally its not that common either! And the successful managers of the future will be those who are confident and competent as opposed to just being shoved into a role with fingers crossed it all works out and they somehow find a way to learn as they go.

Interested in any training for managers? We provide a whole range of training including:

  • Supervisors and managers development programmes
  • Assertiveness training
  • Effective communication skills training
  • Programmes to develop competence in managing staffing issues
  • Managing Change Successfully
  • Developing commercial Awareness

We also are able to provide ready to use training materials for many of our courses and also offer one to one coaching for individuals where group training is not the preferred option. Please call us for details.

We also deliver seminars and workshops on the topic of HR in the year 2020. A great two or three hour opportunity for HR teams to get their heads around what needs to be done. Please call for details.

The information contained within this article is for general guidance only and represents our understanding of employment and associated law and employee relations issues as at the date of publication. Jaluch Limited, or any of its directors or employees, cannot be held responsible for any action or inaction taken in reliance upon the contents. Specific advice should be sought on all individuals matters.

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