Positive thinking

first_img Comments are closed. Alison Thomas asked readers for their best ways to keep workers motivated ina negative economic climateOne of the latest US gurus to hit our shores is Perry Ludy, president ofLudyCo International. Ludy visited London last month to promote his book,Profit Building: Cutting Costs Without Cutting People. In it, he argues that laying off staff at times of economic uncertainty andrecession not only fails to provide a long-term solution, but it actuallycompounds the problem by creating a negative climate just when you need yourworkforce to be at its most committed and productive. We discussed this issue with the author and some of our readers. Inparticular, we wanted to know how companies can retain skills in preparationfor an upturn, and create a culture of learning and development when budgetsare tight. Perry LudyPresident, LudyCo InternationalWhen a company goes through a rough patch, most employees understand thatbelts have to be tightened. However, they are rarely invited to put forward suggestions for makingsavings and improving profitability, although they possess a wealth of informationand experience. Companies that tap into this resource uncover new, innovative ideas thatshake the cobwebs loose. The challenge for HR and training departments is to facilitate this processby bringing together a group of talented people representing different parts ofthe business, and furnishing them with appropriate problem-solving tools. Few companies currently invest in management training relating toprofitability improvements. Those that do, reap the rewards. Celia NicholsonHead of organisation consulting, DBMDownsizing unsettles not only those directly involved, but also the widerpopulation of the organisation as well. People lose confidence in theirlong-term security and career opportunities and start questioning their desireto stay. Employers therefore have to work hard to help their staff re-establish apositive psychological contract with the company through programmes relating topersonal development, growth and career opportunities. Research repeatedly shows that companies that invest in relevant trainingand development, effective management and good communications, stand a betterchance of retaining staff – even when the employment market picks up. Ettie McCormackDirector, Unisys University, Europe, Middle East and AfricaOne of our key initiatives is a career fitness portal designed to help ouremployees identify potential development and learning opportunities and topursue them with support from the corporate university. Career fitnessconsultants provide the human touch through face-to-face consultations. It is part of our overall objective of enhancing the growth and success ofour employees by taking a holistic approach to career management. Mark ThomasOrganisational development consultant, Marks and SpencerDespite our roller coaster ride of recent years, we got back on trackwithout widespread redundancies. Our approach has been to focus on deploying the skills and capabilities ofour people more effectively. To do that, you must find out what these are –something companies often neglect to do, even though the impact on the bottomline can be significant. For example, many workers are avid gardeners, but in the past, we failed toturn this to our advantage by moving them into plant sales. Why spend moneytraining someone else, while leaving latent expertise untapped? Adrian EgglestoneHead of people development, Co-op GroupOur company is growing. This throws up the same problem facing organisationspreparing for an upturn; namely, a shortage of skilled staff to manage changeand stabilise the business thereafter. Our solution has been to identify staff with potential, and give themsupport and training to bring them through the company more quickly. Our chief executive doesn’t believe in cutting the training budget. How canyou pursue a three-year plan if you cut this year’s training? Ruth SpellmanChief executive, Investors in PeopleA productive company respects the contribution staff can make by capturingtheir ideas not just when tough times are looming, but every day of the week,every week of the year. As a result, staff feel more in control and feel they are driving the bottomline, which, of course, they are. The other big issue is to give them a stake,and talk about careers, where they are going, and what they want to do. When business slows down, people must be creative about finding new ways ofutilising their skills and continually refining them. It is about learning as acontinuous process. Positive thinkingOn 1 Nov 2003 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more