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Optimizing Talent in Uncertain Times

These are challenging times for both managers and employees, with so many working remotely, the economy in the tank in some places, and revenues down.

In addition to looking out for the company, managers look out for the staff more than they usually would. Many employees work remotely and are dealing with health and mental health issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Is productivity down? Is there resistance to change for these new circumstances?

No one knows how long this pandemic will last or the economic damage it will inflict before it is over, but now is a time to take a hard look at job roles and current employee talents and characteristics. Companies can assess their current workforce and make necessary adjustments to build future success.

Nobody is suggesting cleaning house. For one thing, everyone is in a tenuous situation right now, worrying about job security and finances, along with those health issues. But as a business owner or manager, it is your responsibility to figure out how to navigate these uncharted waters with the best crew for the job.

For starters, you need to take every step possible to protect your employees’ physical health and wellbeing based on the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. You also need to take care of the company, which keeps those employees on the payroll.

Try some talent optimization tools.

Rather than replacing employees, consider offering training for specific jobs that may be new to your business in these changing times. This helps better to align your workforce with the needs of the company. Seeing your employees succeed is essential to you. Figure out how to preserve your company’s culture and move forward.

Charles Darwin said: “It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives, it is not the strongest that survives, but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.” You can help your employees adapt by ensuring they have the training and skills they need to move the company forward.

Your company’s survival depends on your talents to keep your team moving, so your decisions determine whether people will be an asset or a liability. Problems occur if the employees are not aligned with any new strategies or if management pays no attention to employee struggles. The same is true if leaders poorly manage the impact of a workforce reduction or if those hiring do not re-evaluate job requirements and skills.

To keep good employees at a time when other companies are seeking skilled talent, use these steps to optimize your labor force for 2020:

Determine Needed Staffing

Have the executive team examine the company’s finances, business plan, and capabilities. If necessary, conduct a comprehensive overhaul of the company’s strategic direction. If employees perceive changes as a cultural conflict, they may leave, so weigh this option carefully.

By writing a restructuring plan now, you can ensure that you keep those with special skills and processes even as the company shifts. By creating a positive view of leadership, employees are more likely to view changes more favorably.

Do You Have the Right People?

Narrow your view of the corporate outlook by determining the talent characteristics most important to your business. For one company, ensuring they have a strong project manager on board may take priority over having a great estimator, or vice versa. Evaluate job roles throughout your organization and prioritize positions or teams that are most likely to move your company forward. If those teams do not currently exist, create them.

Perform Evaluations

Do not be hesitant to evaluate employee performance. Focus on results, as well as behavior. You do not necessarily need to tie these evaluations to bonuses or raises. Use them to offer clear and objective commentary of an employee’s job performance and how they reflect company values. Find out where they want to excel or improve. In some cases, you can use this information to inform management on building new structures within the company.

Discuss with employees their future potential and how it aligns with the company’s future goals. Do this with care since everyone will not feel like they fit ideally into the planned organizational structure.

Look from Within

Even if you are looking to reduce headcount, there may be key management positions you need to fill. Look at the current workforce for candidates who might fill those positions before making cuts.

Remember, it takes time and money to bring in new employees and get them up to speed. Consider filling gaps with retraining for current employees and, when necessary, recruiting from outside.

You may also consider hiring independent contractors to fill in some gaps. This is generally done to satisfy interim needs or accomplish short-term projects.

Purge with Care

If it comes down to the need to terminate some employees, use consistent criteria that reflect the company values and strategies. Do not neglect critical input from team members. Evaluate employees quickly and quietly to avoid rumors.

Determine in advance whether you will provide additional severance benefits, ongoing health insurance, or outplacement services.

Using talent optimization practices will translate into positive business results. Senior managers report that they met nearly all of their strategic initiatives by practicing these techniques, which can be a massive differentiator for your company.

Use these tools to help your company pivot quickly when circumstances change. Make tough decisions now to meet tomorrow’s challenges.

Cotney Consulting Group wants to help your roofing business enhance your leadership skills and develop team-building strategies that will strengthen your team’s trust, improve company morale, and overall lead to increased productivity.

To schedule your free consultation, reach out to or call (866) 303-5868 for more information.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.