This stage of transition is generally characterised by reflection and improvement, where organisations may choose to ‘take a step back’, reflecting on what is in place already and assessing whether it is right for their future direction or whether change is needed. The amount of time spent in this stage can be due to good reason, through conscious choice and often not due to failure. However, it can also be a product of the external context.
Business strategy now tends to be planned rather than emergent. Therefore in this stage a more forward-looking, systematic and strategic HR approach tends to be adopted, ensuring practices support achievement of the organisation’s goals and are aligned with the organisation’s strategic direction and values.
Development of a more planned and embedded approach to people development is needed to increase SME capability and their competitiveness. As well as developing their in-house training approach, our case studies have engaged with various training courses and general support provided by the Singapore Government.
Typically organisations have more management layers or dispersed operations, making a formal two-way communication strategy essential. This helps to ensure the right messages are being communicated, and that employees still feel their views are heard.
Serene Tan, HR Manager, Jason Marine
“HR has evolved. No longer are the processes enough; HR has to understand the business and build their strategy to realise the company’s business goals. It is not HR for HR’s sake; HR has to be an integral part of meeting the company’s objectives.”
Although HR policies and processes tend to be in place and aligned to the business strategy at this inflection point, the cracks begin to show if they are no longer suitable for the next stage of transition, perhaps due to the organisation’s size or changing context. Difficult decisions need to be made about what existing approaches should be preserved and which need to now be refined or let go as they are no longer suitable or adding value.
What has become apparent during the consolidation stage is that it’s the intangibles such as knowledge-sharing, the organisation culture and employee engagement that require attention. For example, working as ‘one organisation’ is critical. If the organisation is to transition further, these issues need to be addressed.
In addition, employees’ expectations of the employment ‘package’, including engagement and retention drivers, are changing. In the early stages of an organisation, people tend to be strongly engaged with the organisation, what it stands for and the founder themselves, enjoying a large degree of face-to-face time with them. However, by the established organisation stage, different engagement drivers emerge, such as having a career path (there may now be fewer opportunities for internal progression), having an engaging manager and the same competitive reward package typically offered by larger organisations.
Low Cheong Kee, Founder and Managing Director, Home-Fix DIY
“We introduced a new HR management system, which made the HR processes more efficient. Employees can use the system to check their payslip, request leave and update their personal particulars.”