Business plans are a critical part of every business to ensure that every activity you undertake moves you closer to achieving your goals. But how well do you align your business planning activity and your appraisal process?
Often, when clients start to experience performance related issues within their team, they will revisit the most recent appraisals as a point of reference. Providing the process has been carried out effectively, there will be records to support what is expected of each member of the team.
However, if the business plan, and therefore the day to day activities of the organisation, aren’t aligned with the targets and objectives set for your team, people are likely to become disengaged.
Help your team see how they make a difference
For the most part, people want to do a good job. It’s linked to positive levels of job satisfaction, self-esteem and contribution. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule but that’s another topic entirely.
With that in mind, it is incredibly valuable to involve your team in the business planning process. Allowing people to understand your overarching goals and ambitions makes it much easier for them to come on board. What’s more, you will often find that your team will come up with great ideas and suggestions that could mean you reach your goals far more quickly than you thought possible.
The concept of a ‘Golden Thread’ that runs from the objectives of the business plan right the way through to the targets and objectives of every individual within the business isn’t new. But it is easy to lose sight of!
The size and structure of your business will impact exactly how this theory is implemented, but the intention always remains the same. Each and every activity, at every level of the business, should play an active part of contributing to the overarching goals set out in your business plan.
Let’s look at an example:
Business Plan Target – to attract 10 new customers every month.
In order to achieve this, you will need to, amongst other things:
- Allocate financial budgets to allow the necessary activities to take place.
- Set marketing priorities that talk to the right audience in a way that makes them convert and buy.
- Set sales targets that tell your staff how many leads they need to follow up in order to achieve the required level of conversion.
- Have adequate resources in place to meet the needs of the new customers – stock, staff, space etc.
- Ensure your staff are trained in how to deliver your product or services to new customers.
- Implement ‘after-sales’ processes that allow you to retain and maintain an ongoing relationship with new customers.
- Develop management processes that measure success, failure and opportunities for improvement.
- Maintain your business premises in a fit and proper way.
As you can now see, the ‘Golden Thread’ is the series of activities across the whole business that contribute to the overarching aim of attracting new customers.
By defining the targets and objectives in a way that everyone can clearly see how their contribution matters, your team will stay engaged and focused.
Success breeds success
Ultimately, the success of your business is dependent on the success of everyone in it – and vice versa. So, it makes sense to ask the people who will be delivering your vision to play a part in planning how to do that.
For more information about managing your business planning processes, implementing a robust appraisal system or how to manage performance in your business, as well as the full range of HR Support available, please book a call or email [email protected]
As a small business, it is important to keep employee turnover as low as possible as the cost to replace can be a lot more than you think. Offering your staff training as an incentive is often a great way to do this. However, when an employer agrees to pay for the cost of training for an employee it is common for it to want to see some return on that investment through retaining the skills of the newly trained employee. That doesn’t mean an employee can never leave. it just means within a certain period of time after the training has been completed the employer could recoup some or all of the cost of the training.
Why have a Training Agreement?
It is important that before an employer agrees to go fund an employee to attend training (unless it is statutory) that both employer and employee has signed a training agreement. The training agreement will state how much the course will cost if an employee should an employee leave or fail to attend that the employer has the right to recoup some or all of the costs. In some instances you can also include if an employee should fail the course and have to reset.
Training fees agreements often operate on a sliding scale so that the longer an employee remains with the employer, the less he or she is due to refund on leaving. The sliding scale and its time periods will vary according to the length and cost of the training itself.
To provide further protection, the employer should also include a clause in the training agreement to allow it to make deductions from wages. This will give the employer the right to make a lawful deduction from the employee’s final salary in respect of any outstanding training fees if he or she leaves.
Deductions from wages
It is important to obtain this agreement otherwise it could be looked upon as an unauthorised deduction from wages. A lawful deduction is made when it is authorised by statute, for example, tax or national insurance, when it is authorised by a relevant provision in the worker’s contract, or where the worker has previously signified in writing his or her agreement or consent to the making of the deduction.
As with anything having a blanket clause in a contract of employment may not cover you and also it does not state the value. It is a lot more practical and safer to have a separate agreement for each course, and you can have more than one agreement running concurrently.
Note – Under the Employment Rights Act the Employer cannot get authorisation after an event, therefore, needs to complete a training agreement prior to the course starting.
- To ensure a legal right to recover training fees from an employee, make certain that there is a training agreement between you and the employee.
- Enter into the training fees agreement before the employee embarks on the training.
- Use a sliding scale so that the employee’s liability reduces the longer an employee stays with the Company.
- Make sure the agreement gives you the express right to deduct any outstanding training fees from pay – otherwise it could be an unlawful deduction from wages.
- Using a System like BreatheHR to track training and costs, along with training agreements will ensure you don’t miss a trick.
Any questions or support you might need with Training Agreements please do get in touch. Alternatively, click here to schedule a call.
Recent surveys have shown that some business leaders in the UK are lacking key management skills essential for businesses to develop in the way they want to. Whilst leaders appear competent in technical skills, budgeting and financial management, they can sometimes fall short in planning, communication, performance management and people management.
In my experience, there is a business scenario in which employees strong in technical skills are sometimes promoted into roles that require people skills – the two do not necessarily go hand-in-hand. Investment targeted at the areas which are lacking in existing managers and planning training and recruitment of future leaders is the key to ensuring the ongoing success of businesses. Training in delegation and being encouraged to show initiative are two of the areas that are essential for those looking for a future promotion into a leadership role.
So what are the key areas needed to make a better leader?
Communication skills cannot be underestimated in my view. A good leader will command the trust and understanding of the team by communicating often in a positive way and being clear about what is required.
Communication style may differ with each team member and a good leader will show genuine interest in feedback. One action that I would recommend is adopting an open door policy. As a new leader, it takes time to build the necessary trust and knowledge about the skills, motivation and personalities with the team and is available to them is a good start.
A good leader encourages creativity and openness and displays a passion for what they do. Team members should be challenged to avoid demotivation and boredom and be praised with positive feedback when they do a good job.
A collaborative approach rather just telling the team what to do can get better results as can giving honest feedback (or team members will never know what they need to improve upon!). A strong leader will also request feedback from the team on themselves for the same reason.
Delegating is an important part of the job of leading a team. If a leader cannot delegate they cannot possibly get everything done. The leader should identify and use the skills of each member of the team and delegate accordingly.
What makes a bad leader?
A leader who cannot accept the blame when something goes wrong is not taking on the responsibility of the leadership role and, in my experience, this does happen from time to time. Team members will lose respect in this scenario. Similarly, a leader who makes a promise and doesn’t follow through is another example of bad management. A lack of commitment and frequent negativity will not motivate or engage a team either.
If a leader doesn’t understand what motivates the team and shows no interest in doing so, the bottom line can be affected with staff feeling disengaged. Again, receiving feedback can help the leader in this situation.
Who in your own working life to date was a good leader and why?
Attributes such as a hands-on positive approach, being a good listener, moving on from mistakes and the ability to make decisions are some of the skills needed by our current and future leaders within a business. If you think about positive roles models in leadership roles in your own working life, this can be an excellent way to outline what skills and attributes a good worker needs to develop into a good leader.
Sometimes leadership does not come naturally and some support is needed if so why not read some of the blogs of some of my network to see if they might be the right fit.
Astrid Davies – Why Leaders invest in coaching
Incendo – Why I lead like a gardener (and maybe you should too)