Next Generation Leadership

Your business is only as good as your people – it is a commonly used and accepted adage. But in the case of your own organisation, is it actually true?

There is little point investing in internal staff if you are going to cut workers at the earliest sign of a downturn. Training and employing staff is a costly process and it is surely remiss to write off such investment.

Before getting to the point of redundancies, your organisation needs to have a strategy to ensure workers are committed, productive and ambitious. Start by thinking about what type of company you would most like to work for.

If your business is only as good as your people, how can you ensure existing staff are capable of being future executives – and how can you attract the up-and-coming generation?

Concentrate on what types of things would improve the status of your organisation and make people more likely to consider a position in your firm as the right opportunity. That question is only likely to become increasingly important.

Leave nothing to chance. First, select recruitment tools that can help you identify the individual that is likely to be the best fit for your organisation. Weighted matching will ensure the right candidate is offered the right opportunity.

Then look for software that can help you create the right development projects for your new and retained staff. Trained workers feel wanted; prove your commitment through well-managed work experience, workshops and mentoring.

On an ongoing basis, use specialist analytics software to ensure worker performance is valued, rather than just monitored. The right metrics will show how staff are aligned with the broader goals of performance, ensuring people costs are not wasted and promotion is more likely.

Finally, make sure the obvious details – payment terms, absenteeism levels and succession planning – are not ignored. Workers will quickly feel aggrieved if they believe their efforts are being ignored at the expense of other less productive employees.

An integrated approach to human resources software can help with all these elements. Your business is only as good as your people and the right technology will attract employees and keep retained staff keen.

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Mark Thompson is the managing director of COA Solutions, a UK provider of business management and information systems to the UK mid-market service sector. Mark trained as an accountant before joining the infant business software industry with Olivetti in 1981. This was followed by a sales roles with Multisoft and Tetra (now part of the Sage Group), two of the early pioneers of branded accounting software for SMEs. In 1996, Mark joined COA Solutions, moving rapidly from sales manager to sales director and then onto managing director in 2002. Mark subsequently oversaw COA Solutions' rapid expansion as turnover grew from £12m to £60m over the next seven years. During this period, COA Solutions completed nine acquisitions as it established itself as the leading UK business software vendor to mid-sized organisations. In early 2010, Mark led COA Solutions into negotiations with Advanced Computer Software Plc (ACS Plc), resulting in the business being acquired for £100m in an all cash transaction. COA Solutions now operates as an Advanced Computer Software Group company.