Being people-focused is a verb not a noun.


Being people-focused is a verb not a noun.

In these challenging times I would like to share some thoughts with you why being people focused will have longer term benefits once we move out of lock down and toward more favourable times.

The term of the month seems to be furlough and I understand the need for businesses of all shapes and sizes to take whatever steps they need to take in order to survive however we would urge all organisations that have needed to take these measures not to fall into the trap of “out of sight out of mind”.

Never before have we had an opportunity as business owners and organisational leaders and managers to show that our people focused cultures are indeed what we do and how we act. I wonder how we might meet this challenge.

Taken from an excellent guide from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) to an explanation on the rules and regulations around furloughed workers  here we can provide a brief explanation furloughed working regulations.

Employees that can agree to being furloughed are those working for businesses that would otherwise have to be dismissed as redundant or laid off. The furloughed employees must have been on the employer’s PAYE payroll on 28 February 2020, including:

  • full-time employees
  • part-time employees
  • agency employees on agency contracts (provided they are not working at all)
  • zero-hour contract workers (provided that they are employees albeit on flexible contracts).

Employees must be consulted and have to agree to be furloughed. The minimum furlough period is three weeks. The scheme is set to run for three months (until 31 May) but may be extended. People who get furloughed must not work for the employer during the period of furlough.

What is not expressed however is that once furloughed, as a caring employer you should not keep in contact or offer some additional form of pastoral support. And it is here that we might see the difference between a true culture toward putting our people first and those that just talk a great story. Of course, there will be those that in normal times do provide a great working environment, but I wonder how well we are truly able to support our teams and furloughed workers and show we care over the coming weeks?

There are some obvious benefits to staying in touch, not least of which is to maintain a sense of belonging and self-esteem for each member of our workforce. If we can help in someway to reduce some of the anguish our people might be feeling then that has to be a good thing. But there are others too.

During the furloughed period, I wonder what we might do to ensure that our respective teams are able to come back to work having used the lock down as a period of self-growth and development. I have spoken to several of my clients who have shared some great examples of support which do not breach the contractual requirements of working such as providing training opportunities. One client organisation has provided some training videos to help those workers who are having to school their children during the lock down with resources and tips on how best to do this. What a wonderful gift. They are fortunate to have in place an e-learning module which makes this offer of support fairly easy to deploy. For those with less sophisticated services I wonder if a quick raid of the training budget might provide individual options to use LinkedIn’s extended features through the learning products offered? Below are just a sample of some of the topics offered.

LinkedIn Training sample

What a great way to be able to show your team members that you care and that they are still part of the team. What a fantastic way to evidence that you truly are an organisation and a leader who puts people first.

Additional benefits for the longer-term prosperity of your business might include:

  • A work force returning with newly acquired skills.
  • A workforce that feels valued and included.
  • A workforce that feels secure and therefore less likely to leave a truly great employer.
  • A workforce that is motivated and eager to get the wheels of commerce back in full flow.

Finally, I am indebted to one of my connection Rosanna James who shared this on Facebook this week:

I wonder how we are showing up as leaders and supporting our teams during these strange and challenging times? What are we doing to make being people focused a verb and not a noun?

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About Tim Anderson
Tim has over thirty years’ experience within the sales environment as a sales person, a sales manager, a sales director and as a mentor and coach. He has run sales teams as a sales director within the IT sector as a direct re seller, a VAR and as an MSP. He has developed and exited from two IT businesses and supported three training and development organisations to grow their businesses by supporting their commercial offering. He has taken these teams through change initiatives . Tim continues to develop himself as a coach and has successfully taken his coaching into executive and leadership coaching. He has combined coaching with management and leadership development and regularly supports senior managers to take their next step upward in their careers. He is a qualified coach and a Chartered Manager and also holds a degree in professional consulting.

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