9 Creative ways to achieve staff engagement during turnaround

working togetherIn any change or turnaround situation, Human Resources plays a vital role in both implementing your chosen strategy and developing a sustainable creative culture.

  1. An Engaging and Open Culture  

The environment needs to create as much safety and security around employees during these potentially difficult times given there is likely to be high levels of anxiety.  The workplace should enable your people to work in their own way, whilst at the same time acknowledging colleagues’ needs within the workplace.  There is a great quote here from Jan Carlzon ex CEO of Scandinavian Airlines

‘A large part of the art of management is finding the right balance between an engaging and open culture and the minimum number of systems needed to co-ordinate its activities’. 

Trust is a massively important component here – both you trusting your employees and them trusting you!

  1. Empowerment of employees

When planning a turnaround strategy, it is vital that the key players know what needs to be done and how it fits into the big picture. Even more importantly, they need to have the authority to get on and do it!  This will create the following benefits:

  • More commitment
  • Increased intrinsic motivation
  • More flexible workforce
  • More Trust
  • Faster customer responses
  • Increased innovation and creativity
  1. Good internal and external networks

The power of networks must not be underestimated when planning a turnaround strategy.  The better that a group of employees are connected both with colleagues and suppliers the greater the chance of success for the turnaround strategy.

  1. Acceptance of mistakes

Greater knowledge and understanding is invariably gained when we make a mistake.  Employees should not be in fear of their lives for admitting to an error.  If someone makes an honest mistake, the culture of the business should be far more about what can be learnt from this, rather than the berating of an individual.  The key is not to make the same mistake twice!

  1. Knowledge freely shared

If the organisation freely shares information between individuals and departments it leads to a greater understanding by all of the workings of the business and avoid the ‘silo’ mentality experienced by so many.

  1. Idea development processes

The sharing of knowledge is just one step towards improving current ways of working. I once had a salesman who was always over promising a particular part of post-purchase service, which led to numerous problems for our support desk.  Once he fully understood what he was doing, it stopped immediately.  Formal or informal meetings should both be encouraged to not only ensure that the problems that caused the turnaround are not repeated, but also to create a forum for the development of new ideas.

  1. Integrated systems/functions

It is stating the obvious that when any organisation works together in harmony, it is more effective.  It is often very surprising to me how some businesses do everything in their power to not do this.  Sometimes the same information is pulled together by different departments that aren’t speaking to each other.  I recently did some work with a business where the same data was being produced by the Sales, Marketing and Buying departments!

  1. Cultural diversity

When pulling together a team to plan and implement a turnaround strategy, it is incredibly valuable to have a range of skills and contacts from both within and outside of the business.  I see many businesses where lots of the senior management are very similar to each other.  The more skills and links that can be brought together will undoubtedly increase the chances of success.

  1. Sense of Mission

A sense of purpose that is more than making money for the shareholders is vital in all organisations.  This is particularly the case in a turnaround where people’s backs are up against the wall and they need to have a real cause or mission around which they can pull together and really fight to achieve.

Company turnaroundSummary

All of the above are vital components when planning a business strategy and will ensure greater employee engagement in the turnaround situation.

Interestingly these are also all key components in the development of a creative and innovative environment. That’s a double win, because it will not only aid the turnaround strategy. It will also help to develop a sustainable business for the future.

If you have any thoughts about ways to keep employees motivated and creative, I’d love to hear your views.

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