HR Directors play an integral role in building the capability and confidence of their people.
“To attract and retain the best talent, and to be an employer of choice, you will need to be known in the market as an organisation that offers many opportunities for people to do engaging work,” explains business development author Robyn Haydon.
Within your business, there are probably three different kinds of work that your people could be doing, according to Haydon.
1) Engaging work: Work that people love, and want more of. This is the kind of work that builds careers and reputations, and that people switch employers for.
2) Routine work is the solid work that comes easily to your business, pays the wages, the bills and keeps the lights on. People don’t usually mind doing this kind of work, provided that it keeps them gainfully employed and their skills up-to-date.
3) Marginal and painful work means work has become dull, is unprofitable, or difficult to deliver. People complain, call in sick, or at worst, resign.
“The most successful businesses are those where everyone in the business understands the role that they play in creating value for a customer,” says Haydon.
As an HR Director or practitioner, here are four ways that you can contribute to the long-term business development success of your business, according to Haydon.
1. Ensure everyone’s job description contains at least one thing that requires them to contribute towards your company’s business development effort. Across your business, there are three categories of business development you want your people to deliver. Firstly, professionalism, meaning customers can be confident that your people know what they’re doing. Secondly, pipeline, meaning your team is positioning themselves to help customers with new work when it arises. And finally, preferred supplier, meaning your business is strategically positioned to win the big contracts you really want to win. The primary owner of the professionalism category is your operations team. When it comes to the sales pipeline, it’s your line managers, who are in contact with customers at a more strategic level. And when you need to be seen as the “preferred supplier” that responsibility rests squarely with your executive team.
2. Invest in training that builds business development skills, confidence and knowledge. People at every level need to be able to do at least three things: to identify the value they create for customers, to write persuasively on their area of knowledge for bids and tenders, and to contribute their best thinking to retaining existing business. More senior staff also need strategic pursuit and proposal leadership skills.
3. Reward people for contributing their knowledge and time to important bids. Proposals have become a “five to nine” job for most people. Recognising that they have made a contribution towards important bids will go a long way towards preserving their goodwill for important pursuits and bid projects that require them to go above and beyond the requirements of their day job.
4. Encourage strategic, cross-functional teams to work on value creation projects. This means giving them the time and space away from the rigours of their “day job” to do so.