Wed, Jul

Evolve your workforce

HR specialist consultancy Page Meir Global considers how your HR policy needs to grow and adapt with your business.

As the print industry in general, and wide-format in particular, seeks new opportunities for growth and profit in the ongoing difficult marketplace, exacerbated over the last three to four years by the global economic difficulties, leaner, fitter and sharper is the business approach for success. In recognition, many companies have already instigated strategies that take into account the new market conditions by diversifying into new products, new services, and new markets where higher margins are possible.


 But this approach has its challenges and, mismanaged, has the potential to create havoc in the workplace.

Managing change is key any business success. Creating discord can all too easily result from poorly thought out and executed development plans, potentially ruining the birth of a positive future. Everybody knows that getting the whole workforce on board, making sure that everyone adopts the same ethos and that every person’s contribution is optimised, is vital. So why is this not always put into practice and why can HR be such a nightmare for companies going through change?

The traditional recruitment and personal development process is, frankly, out of date for this dynamic market sector. As companies expand their services in response to market conditions it is essential to have the right people doing the right jobs. These needs can be filled by external recruitment or by existing personnel adapting to new roles and receiving necessary retraining.

The process of optimising personnel contribution starts with analysing the needs of the company. This may sound simple, because it is - in essence. If you don’t start with knowing your present business inside out and your future strategy then the chances of success will be low. Many print companies do not have the employee numbers to warrant the permanent employ of a HR specialist so for those who don’t it is worth looking into using a consultant with knowledge of the print industry who can provide highly practical and professional advice on a non-employed basis.

For instance, Page Meir Global has designed a management system to help companies with their HR policy as they move through times of change. The process is designed to concentrate on the key issues. In the wide-format digital print sector, which has a good number of relatively young companies, there’s a real need for them to monitor, assess and upgrade their control systems and their organisational structures to keep pace with their growing businesses.

As the Widthwise Report 2012 confirms, there is a quest to expand services, to add value to jobs and to increase turnover and profit by offering a broader offering – creative design, website design and management, project management, fulfilment and integrated services are all potential routes. Many companies are planning to recruit new blood to help them do this – so they need to get their HR strategy right.

The PMG principle is keep it simple and transparent so that everyone in the company from top to bottom can understand how the business is changing and is fully engaged with the development plan and process.

As previously said, the first step is therefore to analyse the needs of the company to ensure the necessary competencies are available. A company needs effective talent and reward programmes together with processes and technology to deliver results and this in turn requires a talent and rewards strategy that aligns with this business strategy.

Once the talent and workforce needs have been identified then strategies and programmes can be designed and implemented to address these needs, to drive higher performance and to maximise the return on the investment in people.

To ensure that only the correct elements are applied, it is necessary to review the overall organisation structure, to carry out job mapping to identify each role in the organisation and job profiling to produce core competency profiles for each position. Once established, a job grading structure and career ladders can be introduced together with pay strategies, performance reviews and talent management and development.

A key element of this review is also to identify change management issues and barriers and transition issues so that employees will be influenced positively through in-company communication.  

Interviews with key executives within the company helps to understand the framework of the organisation.

The next key step is to assess, and redesign if necessary, the organisational structure in line with the business strategy. In effect this means everyone is using all their talents to the best advantage for the company and that every position is tailored to the needs of the company within sustainable cost bases.

 It is important that accountability is placed in the right positions and that flexibility is built into the system together with the creation of efficient teams.

Change creates uncertainty with the workforce and carrying out job evaluations tends to create further uncertainty and concern. It is important that at every stage reassurances are given that the process will benefit all, pointing out opportunities for personal training and advancement and developing a career map for each individual.

As many print companies are relatively low in numbers, there has been a tendency not to formalise the HR function. However this can often lead to inconsistencies and a perception of unfairness if any discrepancies are created in the system. Formalised or not, an HR strategy must be consistent and transparent in order to be accepted across the workforce.

People need to see security and a path to progress from their talents and skills. For the company it is vital that key functions do not rest exclusively with one individual and that other individuals should be trained in case of illness, departure etc.

Training of individuals to maximise their performance in the current job and for the future helps to prove that the company is a good employer, is a company worth working for and one which can deliver a good future.

Employees recognise and appreciate an employer who understands their concerns and fears, especially in the current economic climate. Introducing a clear HR policy helps everyone in the organisation understand what is needed from each employee and how this could be linked to performance and pay in a positive way. It ensures that people better understand their jobs, their abilities and their shortfalls and focuses attention on the company’s needs.

 It is most definitely worth the effort of developing a formalised HR policy and structure so that everyone can work to their own and the company’s best advantage. It will pay dividends over and above the more informal approach where the boss or the board judge on a personal rather than a structured basis. It is one of the keys to a successful company.


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