Why you can't afford to not invest in a "People Culture".

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People are at the heart of your business, and how you treat them counts.

In good times, it will be hard to attract and retain the best talent, and in bad times if your business is to survive, you will really need the best talent to stay. And to stay motivated.

In my experience, people know on a cerebral level that investing in and engaging with their Staff is really important, but when numbers are good and investors are happy, they may turn a blind eye to the forceful Boss with the high attrition rate, or the team with consistently low morale. In times of intense busy-ness it can seem like a reasonable approach to plan to deal with this issue in the future, but in my experience this approach will always do harm - both to the people on the receiving end of the treatment, and to the Employer Brand and their bottom line.

It starts in my view with poor recruitment and poor Organisational design. Staff who perform well are promoted to Manager level and it seems like the right thing to do. It feels like a good news story, a promotion, a reward of strong performance to date. But was there an alternative?

Oftentimes, strong performers don’t actually want Managerial responsibilities. They would in fact be infinitely better in a Specialist role. Should the organisation so have one, and one that is equally well recognised and valued as a Manager title. In my experience, the “poor” or “aggressive” Managers, never actually wanted to be a Manager in the first place! They themselves are frustrated and may (at times inadvertently) take this stress out on their team.

So what can be done? Firstly, it is so important to have honest conversations with your team. And to keep these going regularly. Design a business structure that allows your succession planning to play to the best of your Staff and recognise that true Managerial effectiveness comes with training and supporting your new line Managers, and from building a culture that expects this and rewards only this type of behaviour.

I wonder if bonus payments were made less for those Managers with high team attrition, what would happen?

Culture is set from the top of the Organisation and the messages from here must be consistent. Build a culture that rewards Managers who get the most from their Staff, and that penalises those that don’t. But be sure to fine tune your Organisational structure, your recruitment policy and the support and coaching you give your new line Managers first!