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A Pivotal Moment, 2021

Cultivating SELF for the collective good by changing Human Resources to Human ASSETS

With the market being slow and unstable under the current global situation, many companies will look at cutting cost by laying off staff, freezing headcounts or salary reduction.

Whilst this may work in the short run, the long term impact can’t be ignored.

Company Culture and Image

“In good times, we hire. In bad times, we fire.”

That statement or image certainly isn’t the best message to send to staff and definitely not the way to build or sustain a supportive and welcoming company and its culture, as sound and logical as the business decision may be given the current backdrop. 

Companies that think and act carefully, especially seeing personnel as human assets before revenue/profit in mind in this challenging time would see their existing goodwill being built faster and easier, amongst staff and in the marketplace.   

Having the Good People

When time is good, companies talk about how hard it is to attract the right people. And when the next round of good time comes around, hopefully, it will be sooner than we think, the good people will look for good companies to join once again. So now is the perfect window to make companies “good” and build upon the existing goodwill and image.

All companies want loyal and hardworking staff. If they choose to focus primarily on profit/revenue, leaving the staff to fetch for themselves in this challenging time, how could companies expect to have “the good people?”

With many under a great deal of pressure, be it financial, mental or emotional, people are finding it difficult to be motivated at work or in life. News in social media is constantly on the negative side. If companies choose to step into this negative wave of mindset, personnel will have even less to lean onto.

Challenges are easier when handled together. Now is a great time to show that we truly are a community and that companies see themselves bigger and more than the profits they need to make.

Productivity and Efficiency

All companies want productivity and efficiency. One important point that is often missed is that the ultimate driving force behind the productivity and efficiency, and therefore profit and revenue, is the human assets in the companies, not the assets on P/L statements. Without human assets, other assets are of little use.

Whilst companies can find ways to cut loss and cost, in the end, they are also, directly or indirectly, cutting short the motivation and drive in the employees, brand and goodwill, team spirit, rapport amongst personnel and company culture. Cutting loss and cost takes no time but the same can’t be said when it comes to building and sustaining great companies.


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Where we are now collectively, as grim as it may seem, gives us the perfect window to address these important issues. That is if companies are willing to change their way of thinking and pivot on how they approach personnel.

Develop Human Assets

With human assets being the driving force behind it all, in good times and challenging times, it is paramount for companies to utilize this window of opportunities to support and empower their personnel if they wish to maintain and build the company culture, unify and support personnel, unite teams, and get staff excited and motivated about possible opportunities ahead.

Many companies will look at how to up-skill and re-skill staff. Indeed this will enable personnel to rotate from one position to another. However, this is primarily skill or role-specific. The full potential and ability of the personnel can still be largely hidden, even more so if and when the personnel don’t even know what they love and can be good at on top of what they do and are good at currently.

An existing or a new position/role a company is looking to fill externally could very well be filled within the company if only companies are fully aware of the desire, passion, ability and potential of the personnel, not simply what they have done, can do or will do.

Many companies match people with jobs according to their experiences, skills or knowledge. Very rarely do they see the great benefits of understanding the people first. That is to find out what they love and (can be) good at, and then match them in a position/role where they can fully and truly flourish, as personnel as well as an individual.

Skills, knowledge and experience can be gained and acquired but passion, aspirations and inspirations can’t. And it’s the latter that drive all key performances in the long run.

If we want “good people”, we need to cultivate and develop them holistically as WHO they are, not just for the job they perform.

If we want motivational and driven personnel, provide them with the tools to find their TRUE motivation in life and understand what drives them (other than financial benefits and within the company framework).

If we want true and good leaders, SELF needs to be on solid ground before leading anyone.

Focus on developing personnel individually will bring out the best of each individual. Then focus on developing personnel collectively will get us the best performing teams and leaders.

With personnel who are full of passion and drive in life, groomed and developed in-house and aligned with company’s vision and culture, companies will find themselves in a far better position to serve the greater purposes, lead the society and build the community on top of their missions and visions.

Build and Enhance Mentoring Culture

Developing a mentoring culture within the companies will also further enhance the foundation. When personnel feel supported and fulfilled, not only in their jobs but also in their life, they naturally become the “good people” many companies look for.

The benefits of having a mentoring culture in a company include but not limited to:

  • To assist personnel to develop and grow holistically will increase their motivation, loyalty, productivity, rapport with colleagues and work ethics.
  • To have an informal channel of communication to express and share concerns, thoughts and suggestions.
  • To develop rapport amongst personnel and build team spirit.
  • To provide insights on potential issues before they become major challenges that may affect the company’s goodwill, productivity, teamwork/spirit, company culture etc

Providing tools and access to help personnel to reflect on their lives, not their job which is often done via performance appraisal, on a regular basis will help them see how best they can live their lives and do their jobs (in that order!) on top of what’s expected from them.

When freedom and trust are given, coupled with the tools, people feel more empowered and will naturally thrive to do a better job and be “the good people” to avoid any potential letdown.

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The Best Parting Gift

If laying off personnel is not avoidable, in addition to financial compensation, one of the best parting gifts, as a gesture of goodwill and building the company brand and image is to help the personnel to gain clarity on where they are and what the next steps are and can be in life.

By providing them with the access of a professional mentor, not someone or a company to look over their CV or interview skills for the next job, the perceived unfortunate incident could turn out to be the major pivotal moment they need in order to move their lives forward and upward.

Open Communication

Now is an excellent time to convey company vision to all staff once again to ensure that they are kept in the loop in an open and transparent manner, informing them where and how the companies are doing and where they are heading to collectively in this uncertain time.

By keeping everyone in the known, it helps to keep the company on the positive side even though the market currently carries many negativities.


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Instead of looking at training programmes to improve the job performance, it is far more effective to firstly help the personnel to look at where they are at present – WHO they are, WHAT they want and WHY they want what they want. From there, companies and the personnel will have a much better understanding of where they are, where they want to be and what needs to be done to get them from here to there, professionally and personally.

Those who are a good fit with the companies can be further groomed and trained for the current roles or to better-fit ones, as both parties see fit. Those who are better to be elsewhere could be given access to professional assistance to find out what the next steps in life can be.

Many companies do have the need and desire to further strengthen personnel and company goodwill and image. Whilst budgets can be tight at present, companies can’t afford to ignore this window of opportunity to enhance areas which would put the companies in good stead when markets pick up again.

As important as it is to have all personnel developed, companies can pick one team to start off with. It can be a few key personnel in the management team, development heads, sales and marketing team or the senior personnel in HR Dept.

Holistic individual Self-assessments are to be done first. This can be done either individually or in a small group. Depending on the total number of personnel and how it is done, this can be either a half a day or a full-day programme.

Once the programme is completed, a discussion will take place with the management on the possible next steps forward, based on the feedback from the participants and suggestions from the professional in the field. Possible options include but not limited to:

  • Develop the next programme based on the findings from the first one for the same batch of personnel.
  • Run the same programme to another batch of personnel.
  • Develop an on-going mentoring programme for the personnel who feel they can benefit from further support.

The above options can be run together, be it simultaneously or separately. It is crucial that they need to be tailor-made based on the companies’ needs, resources and the strategy going forward.

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Visible and inspirational leadership with clear messages is one of the best ways to help the companies navigate this challenging time. Department heads need to be equipped with the clear message, that is aligned with the company’s direction going forward, to ensure all team members are motivated, onboard and ready to ride the waves together.

For the key personnel who needs insights and advice on how to convey the key messages, an individual session focusing on how best this particular personnel can deliver the message, not a box standard training programme on presentation or interpersonal skills, is instrumental. This session needs to cover what the key messages are and more importantly why they are the key messages going forward, and how best, that is the method, they can be communicated.

Companies also need to consider if they would like to do the same with clients and customers. It’s paramount that companies take an active and assertive approach to advise clients and customers that they remain in service and that they thrive to continue to be the best at why they do what they do.

The year 2021 is going to be pivotal. How it will pivot is dependent on the choices we make, individually and collectively. If we approach it with clarity, authenticity and truthfulness, together we can ride the waves and make the impacts we want to see and need to happen.

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