There are many elements needed to make a business successful. Broadly, these include; effective project and budget management, understanding and satisfying customers’ needs and wants while being able to deploy internal key resources effectively.
However, one of the main drivers of business success is the on-going behaviour of its workforce. When employees, managers and leaders practice certain behaviours consistently and are able to translate values and vision into purpose and actions, companies become more successful.
To really make a difference, these behaviours must be adopted and promoted at all levels. It is largely one of the responsibilities of an L&D team as an extension of the HR function to see that these behaviours are more widely adopted. Over time, consistent practice of them makes for a positive and enriching company culture that, in turn, fuels success.
Below are some key behaviours that can be fostered across all sectors, to promote business success.
If there is anything that is likely to prompt stress responses in employees it’s volatility, uncertainty, complexity or ambiguity in their role. As a result of the current V.U.C.A environment, caused by so many recent challenges, many organisations are seeing increasing levels of stress and mental ill-health amongst their workforce, as they strive to manage all the change being thrown at them.
While it’s important that the organisation as a whole works to address and mitigate this, there is an important role for L&D teams in developing programmes to focus on these specific areas, and equip employees with suitable tools and skills to manage some of this on their own.
The Covid pandemic brought recognition for the need to develop greater workforce agility. Despite enforced periods of labour restriction and constraint caused by lockdowns and furloughs, businesses still had to offer a similar- or sometimes different – service with fewer members of staff.
The businesses that performed well, those that were able to thrive or pivot successfully, generally had a high level of cultural development within their organisation that pre-dated the pandemic, and were able to weather the storm.
It brought workforce agility to the fore; that ability for an existing workforce to pivot and apply their existing skills, knowledge and behaviours to other roles as and when the business required it. It required a high level of specific role-relevant competence but also a degree of more general ‘business skills’ that could be applied to other roles.
Capacity for change.
‘Do what you always do, get what you always get’, or worse, ‘we always just do it that way’. In order to succeed, particularly in a changing landscape, employers need to think differently and develop a capacity for change within their workforce. Individuals may not have all of the skills required to take on new roles or responsibilities but they must, as a bare minimum possess the attitude to try and learn them.
While a generation ago, training undertaken at the start of a career might have been sufficient to sustain a job for life, now the half-life of training- i.e. how long the impact of training lasts- has shortened to less than five years. It means that anyone entering the workplace 10 years ago may simply not have the skills needed to fulfil roles today.
Make it happen, attitude.
Attitude is the way a person thinks or feels about a specific situation, action or experience. It encompasses their particular emotions and the way in which they respond towards someone or something. Attitude is a specific disposition that combines factors like beliefs, opinions, experience moods and emotions. It can be learnt. Maintaining a positive attitude can help develop healthy coping mechanisms in times of stress or challenge. Someone with a ‘can-do-attitude’ is more likely to overcome obstacles, find more opportunities and achieve goals, both personally and professionally than someone who hasn’t.
In order to achieve optional performance, all departments need to work closely together and be available to support each where necessary. This cross-departmental working requires effective communication and collaboration to allow quick decision making and implementation when rapid change is needed.
Collaborating with the right external partners is another vital component to business success. Long gone are the days of insularity when organisations developed and produced everything in-house. Today, that method is a sure route to failure and rather businesses that collaborate with external partners find they can be more nimble, more efficient and most likely to succeed.
Look for strong partnerships and benefit from the expertise of others, which can shorten your time to market for new products, and introduce new talent and new thinking into your company.
While it may have killed the cat, curiosity brings many benefits to the workplace. Being curious, having a willingness to consider other options and look outside the confines of a role, department or organisation to discover other opportunities or possibilities can lead to faster product development, providing better solutions to challenges, increased agility, and increased readiness to move in different directions.
In the past, Learning & Development (L&D) teams have focused primarily on providing training and testing for knowledge or skill retention. But the role of learning in the workplace has grown. Today, L&D teams must influence employee behaviour to elicit optimal performance across many roles not just those focused on skill repetition.
To develop a more rounded L&D function, many businesses are using their apprenticeship levy to invest in L&D practitioners. Learning & Development apprenticeships empower your teams to unlock the human potential of your organisation by implementing tailored learning and development opportunities across all areas of the business to address skills gaps and create a positive set of behaviours.