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2021 – Glad that’s over; 2022 a new beginning? By David Smith on Dec 10, 2021


Well, it’s been hard to find raving fans for the year 2021. COVID tired set in. In and out of lockdown and the uncertainties surrounding it. That said, it’s been far from a disaster for the majority of professional service firms. It’s just that people are a bit worn out – looking forward to a holiday. Looking for something different to Groundhog Day.

There’s talk of the great resignation. There’s talk that there’ll be a rush on holidays as things start to open up again. That’s not encouraging in a profession where labour is already scarce. Let’s hope the government starts cranking up immigration and the university students rise to meet demand.

We need to do a better job communicating with year 10 kids and their parents about their career choices and options. It’s better to choose career opportunities where there is a demand for labour than those sexy courses with no job at the end of them. Are you getting out to the schools to talk to careers advisers?

Of course, the best management of your labour resources starts at home. Are you looking after your people?

Are you throwing away performance reviews and developing “Career Development Plans” for each of your team members? This involves outlining with the team member where their career is heading and specifically details what needs to happen for outcomes to be achieved. There’ll be some things the employee needs to do (improve performance, study, take on new tasks etc) and there’ll be things the employer needs to do (delegate new tasks, give them experience in new areas, provide opportunities for study, and research etc). These need to be written down and reviewed quarterly to ensure that commitments made have been met.

Are you involving your team in your firm’s strategic planning? A common complaint from many is that they don’t know where the business is heading and/or they don’t have the opportunity to contribute their ideas. I have recently facilitated a few of these involving the whole team for a day. It is a very positive team-building exercise and also gives people a sense of involvement in the strategic planning process, with some good ideas unlocked. With some games thrown in, it’s an energising exercise for the firm at a time when energy is needed.

Other firms have been involving their team in community initiatives to help others less fortunate or help struggling start-up businesses. Most of us know that more often than not the giver gets more out of the experience than the receiver. COVID has made such initiatives difficult over the past couple of years but perhaps 2022 is the time to recharge your community activities?

Are you having enough fun with your team? Some firms have a Chief Happiness Officer whose job is to keep an eye on morale. They address issues that are having a negative impact on morale and build a plan of initiatives aimed at creating a happy and motivated workforce. Creating a new environment for your firm might be just what is needed in 2022 to encourage the team to stay and remain committed to the firm. As they say – work hard, play hard.

Do you have an effective capacity and resource plan? Firms I have worked with have often reflected that a quality capacity and resource plan is the most important initiative they have undertaken. It involves spreading the work out through the year in a planned way. Clients are involved in the process. The benefit is that it reduces stress from too much work in some periods and too little in others. It gives people a sense of their work plan which gives them a feeling of being in control. It creates space to enable continual engagement with clients and develop advisory work.

So in a world that is hopefully opening up (Omicron permitting) many of your team might be wondering about their career. Your job is to show them in practical ways why there is no better place to work than where they are at right now. It needs to be more than words. Some practical action is needed.

Consider sending your stars to our Young Guns Workshop in February as a recognition of their contribution through 2020/21 and to kick start them for 2022 with a range of new skills and relationships with other like-minded professionals. To learn more click here.


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