It’s been tough to be in business over the past few years. I’ve been working with Hunter businesses for longer than I will admit to you and have never seen conditions as difficult for many, particularly in Newcastle and the Hunter region.
Focussing on improving operational efficiencies and scratching around for any crumb of opportunity have become the norm. And all the while with fewer hands on deck after large scale redundancies have swept through the ranks.
The unfortunate impact on those that have lost their jobs is obvious; emotionally, financially, socially and physically. What’s not so obvious is the impact on those that are left behind and how this ‘survival syndrome’ affects the culture of your business.
We have all heard ‘the c word’ before. Culture has the power to make a business great, but even more quickly tear it down. It can quickly become sick or toxic and, if not cared for, erode bottom line profit, customer satisfaction and employee engagement.
The funny thing about culture though is that the closer you are to it, the harder it is to objectively assess its health.
So how do you step outside the business that you live and breathe every day to assess its performance and nurse it back into good shape?
Well, if you have a strong HR function within your organisation, and in particular resources with expertise in measuring, transforming and embedding corporate culture, then stop reading right now and point them at this task.
Still with me? I thought you might be.
Few HR professionals or executive managers have the experience or know how to undertake such a significant project. Fortunately there are proven and specially designed tools in the marketplace that can be used to make an unbiased assessment of your culture. Once you know your baseline measure and gaps it is easier to determine programs and ideas to maintain or change your culture. There are highly experienced HR practitioners and consultants with specific knowledge of these tools and skills in cultural change that can assist here too.
While the extent of change required will depend on the distance between current and desired culture, all indicators point to an improving market and the business leaders who act now to nurse their culture back to good health will reap the rewards on the upswing.
Taking manageable steps, measuring change and then calibrating positive shifts is the prescription for success. Your bottom line, customer and employees will thank you for it.
Paul Sneddon is a hands on Director of Hunter-based and locally owned Forsythes HR and Forsythes Recruitment. Paul has more than 15 years experience in recruitment and human resource management.
Forsythes HR's team of specialist consultants are experts in specific areas of human resource management including leadership and culture; remuneration and benefits; HR policies programs and compliance; outplacement and carer support; psychometric background and skills assessment; as well as employee relations and mediation. The teams helps businesses, small and large, recognise the influence HR can have on productivity to make them stronger and better performing. They help build a culture of success. The firm has offices in Newcastle, the Hunter Valley, Central Coast and in Sydney.