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How to build confident teams

Published on: 29 Aug 2013

When funding is tight, and confidence in the public sector is wavering, finding the right people to instigate and drive changes to service delivery as well as shift public perceptions is crucial. Gill Kelly, explains how to navigate the choppy waters of shared services and transformation by building confident teams.

Along with the private sector, local authorities are facing years of budget cuts and this extended period of reduced funding is creating significant change to the recruitment process. At the heart of this change is the requirement to transform local government and to move towards shared services and partnership agreements.

Partnerships between the public and private sectors can result in the type of savings that help an organisation to survive and continue to deliver services when funding is tight, plus boost confidence in the local authority itself. Employers, therefore, need to get to grips with the complexities of shared services and partnership arrangements as these will shape the future of local government along with the teams that make them.

Sourcing the right talent to ring in these changes is vital and will determine whether an organisation thrives or fails. Human resources and recruiters must ensure that new appointments to senior management posts have the following core attributes; an ability to identify and unlock potential assets, financial modelling expertise, and advanced project management skills.

The good news is that there is a wealth of expertise and talent out there to tap into. Recognising, shaping and retaining talent is the tricky part. The following are ten tactics to adopt to help you transform your organisation:

1. Appoint people who can unlock assets
This is critical. People who can unlock assets will be an asset in their own right. With revenue streams drying up faster than our back gardens in the heat, and in some instances disappearing all together, appointing experts to senior management posts that have the ability to source and utilise untapped resources and assets is imperative. Securing new revenue streams will help in lean times as well as going some way to compensate for loss of income.

2. Recognise influence of cultural capital
Is your organisation stuck in a rut? Cultural change is an important stepping stone in the path towards shared services and partnership agreements. Good change management practices should be embraced and applied across the whole organisation. One approach might be to emphasise incentives to push forward behavioural change. Seek expert advice from outside your organisation if needed to help put the right practices in place.

3. Embrace knowledge sharing
Don’t hide away. Sharing and communicating knowledge will help all involved. Equally, HR must ensure skills and knowledge are transferred to a newly merged department. When two finance departments join forces, for example, there are immediate savings to be gained. But, it is crucial that knowledge and talent is retained in the newly formed merger. Managing this process is important.

4. Speak plainly
Communication must be clear and transparent for agreements to work. Too often organisations pay lip service to the role of communications, yet the move to shared services or functions will result in changes to, how an organisation is structured, employees and their roles, locations, and procedures. In order for these changes to take place and to work effectively interaction and collaboration are required. So remember to speak up.

5. Need a hand?
If your organisation is lacking expertise then why not consider using interim help to deliver transformation projects. Interim teams made-up of skilled specialists with project management and financial modelling knowledge will generate long term gains for an organisation.

6. Get social
Whilst social media is not everyone’s cup of tea the hard reality is that many people are already taking a sip. The latest generation are constantly assessing and evaluating their information and experiences. They are already sharing. Tapping into this agile workforce will deliver dividends, and for a generation already adept at sharing they will bring a fresh perspective to the benefits of collaboration.

7. Shine a spotlight on talent
Showcasing existing talent, expertise and experience is a great way to boost confidence in your organisation and what it is capable of achieving. Don’t just focus on one individual, draw attention to teams and use case studies to demonstrate know-how. Local authorities need to evidence their often overlooked contributions.

8. It’s nice to talk
In the world of recruitment one of the most powerful sourcing tools we have is conversation. From a short discussion a lot can be gleaned about a candidate including, their suitability for a role, how they may come across in an interview as well as fully understanding what is driving their search for a new public sector role and how they will add value to the team.

9. Change your tone
Speaking your target audience’s language will convey your messages clearly, open doors to communication and collaboration, as well as enhance confidence in your organisation. As the face of the public sector changes, each local authority needs to adopt a ‘tone of voice’ which appeals to the ears of its listeners.

10. Stage an intervention
If your team, with or without new appointments, is not ringing in the changes and working to reinstall confidence, then it is time to stage an intervention. It may be that you need to focus on leadership or fulfilling the potential of all individuals to deliver maximum results. Alternatively, you may also need to consider bringing in outside expertise to manage and deliver change.

Working in partnership, if done successfully, can result in a reduction of costs and the transformation of more than one organisation to suit leaner times. Successful sourcing and recruitment of talented individuals with a specific skills set to drive these transformation can prove a challenging task. Utilising some or all of these strategies will help you to focus your attention on key requisites and to tackle the complexities of shared services.