leadership blog

Are you future-proofing your people strategy?

So, as we head towards Step 4 hoping that all the final restrictions are removed, what does this mean for leaders? In our previous blogs we have talked about agile working, what that means and included some key thoughts to consider. As things appear to be moving in the right direction to getting some semblance of normality, do we, as leaders, need to reconsider our people strategy?  I would suggest that we do need to update, amend, or even start completely afresh.

Looking at our people strategy, we may need to relook at our job descriptions. Where are these roles to be based in the future – home or office? Or both? Who decides where they are based? This is an interesting conundrum; how often do we refer to the job descriptions? Maybe on an annual basis when the performance review is due, or when we are looking to recruit a new or additional member of the team.

Looking at some recent research by Idowu (2017), around the Effectiveness of Performance Appraisal System, motivation is described as either intrinsic or extrinsic. Intrinsic is described as self-motivation, general feeling of well-being and increased responsibility. Whereas extrinsic motivation is depicted as more of a focus on promotions, salary increases, and fear regarding possible dismissals / redundancy.  There is an argument that states extrinsic motivation is the employee rewards for their actions, but which is most successful in promoting the well-being and motivation of the employee? This research suggests intrinsic is more effective. So how does this relate to annual performance appraisals?  This outdated model, in my opinion, holds little value for either the organization, the leader nor the employee. For many it feels like a ‘must do’ task to tick off the list, and not a value-added event.

With the pandemic and the need to work in different ways, this perhaps is an opportunity to overhaul your People Strategy to consider removing annual appraisals, rethinking job descriptions, develop digital processes, updating onboarding, team, and individual development, as well as many other elements.

Some thoughts to reflect upon.

  1. Instigate monthly check-ins with individual team members which all contribute to their overall annual performance. This would focus more on the intrinsic motivation which appears to be more effective.


  1. Revisit the job descriptions – consider asking the current job holders to revise their own job description in line with all the changes since the first lockdown, looking at processes, location, hours etc.


  1. Plan, budget and implement project plans to design, develop and implement more digital processes geared around supporting both employees and clients, as well as supporting future sustainability.


  1. Onboarding – what does this look like? What should it look like? Up to 30% of new starters leave within the first 100 days due to poor onboarding and leadership/management.


  1. How are you going to develop your team and the individual team members? How has your TNA changed since the pandemic? What skills and knowledge do you need to develop to future proof your individual members and your team? How are you going to develop them?


  1. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, what develop / support do YOU need for your future?

Coaching is on the increase. Developing the coaching skills of leaders as well delivering individual coaching to team members. This can be more cost effective, and deliver greater results, as it supports intrinsic motivation, and focuses on the skills needed for that person and avoids the ‘sheep dip’ approach. If coaching and counselling are offered as an integrated approach, then the well-being of the individual is encouraged, and any potential personal / business issues will be identified early, and thus early interventions can be deployed to ensure full support is provided.

More and more leaders are taking the opportunity to have personal business coaching to help identify areas to further develop and to look to the future for their own careers.

I feel that this is appropriate to share “A company is people. Employees want to know – am I being listened to or am I a cog in the wheel? People really need to feel wanted.” Richard Branson.


Idowu, Ayomikun. (2017). Effectiveness of Performance Appraisal System and its Effect on Employee Motivation. Nile Journal of Business and Economics. 3. 10.20321/nilejbe.v3i5.88.