Situation: A company is ramping back up following a two-year slowdown. During the slowdown employees were on reduced weeks versus historic 50+ hour weeks. When polled about resuming historic hours, several say that they say they don’t want to work more than 45 hours per week. What are best practices for ramping back up following a prolonged slowdown?
Advice from the CEOs:
Communication is critical, particularly during times of change. Make sure that you clearly communicate the new situation, any change in direction that accompanies this, the need to readapt to the former schedule, and the benefits to the company and employees in terms of ongoing opportunity and employment.
If resumption of normal business includes any change in direction, add metrics and objectives that compliment the new direction. To ease the assumption of new roles and responsibilities, provide process check lists.
Provide more deadlines, and complement this with increased recognition and rewards. Rewards do not necessarily mean money, particularly if your employees are knowledge workers who have to exercise critical judgment in their work.
Make sure that you are providing any training that employees need to move into new roles. Schedule training days on Fridays – but let those involved know that they are expected to get their regular week’s work done by Thursday evening.
During future slow periods, instead of cutting back hours for everyone, offer unpaid vacation to employee volunteers and keep everyone else working at normal capacity. This avoids forcing them to become accustomed to shorter hours at reduced pay.
Key Words: Slowdown, Resume, Work Hours, Adapt, Communication, Delegation, Change, Direction, Metrics, Objectives, Rewards, Training
Situation: A rapidly growing company is expanding both in its primary market and into new verticals. A number of companies are interested in strategic partnerships. How do you select the right partner in the right space?
At the end of the day it’s about a connection with the partner which extends across both organizations.
Look for cultural synergy with the other company. Do your and their managers and employees “click” or are they oil and water? This is a gut assessment.
Is the quality of people in both companies complimentary? Is there similar drive for quality and attention to detail?
Will technical integration be smooth? Are systems complimentary? At a minimum are there the right skills on both sides so that this won’t hinder the project.
Are sales and marketing approaches compatible? Will teams be able to work together? What about other departments?
You need to have strategic commitment across both organizations.
Partnerships don’t work if there is only alignment at the top. Executives can’t shove a new opportunity down the throats of those who report to them. There must be excitement about the opportunity across both sides of the partnership.
There must be complimentary competencies, capabilities and commitment.
Is there a clear understanding of the goals and objectives succeed?
Reward structures and incentives must be aligned down through the two parties. Conflicts will lead to struggles.
There must be a strategic alignment between the two organizations so that both see the partnership as complementing their broader strategic plans.
There must be a fundamental strategic win-win. The venture must be seen by each party as core to their business, plans and results. If this isn’t present, the collaboration can be drowned when a better opportunity that comes along.
Look for some gauge that the partnership is as important to the other party as it is to you. What other partners do they have? Is the size of the opportunity enough so that you are assured of their ongoing attention?