Can your People Strategies make you competitive?

Competitive advantage means positioning your company ahead of other companies to achieve superiority in quality, cost, value, market position or innovation. Regardless of what it means to a company, it may be the single factor to attaining success and business sustainability.

There are many strategies that contribute to achieving a competitive advantage but maximising your people strategies is a major contributor to achieving a competitive edge in the marketplace.

Linking People Strategies to High Performing Companies

Numerous studies [D Ulrich] indicate the importance of aligning people strategies to achieving business goals and enhancing business performance.  Organisations that leverage their people to achieve their business objectives, especially growth have more positive results. These companies have well-defined people practices that align with the company’s business goal. Their employees stay employed longer and contribute positively to the overall financial performance. Companies without a clear people plan are at risk of losing or never obtaining a competitive advantage.

What are the key people strategies that can they help you gain a competitive advantage?

Each company has different business objectives that contribute to developing a competitive advantage but getting the culture right is the bedrock to achieving success. 

Diversity & Inclusion – In today’s global competitive arena, successful companies capitalise on diversity and inclusion as a source of competitive advantage. The target market of the company is far from homogeneous. Likewise, the workforce comes from different backgrounds, skills, and aptitudes. Far from being a challenge, diversity can create competitive advantage by increasing innovation, acceptance, and problem-solving capacity.

Leadership – Organisations that understand the importance of having leaders in their teams who inspire, influence and guide people towards common goals to achieve organisational and personal development – make the difference.

Innovation & Learning Culture – Developing innovation is fostered in a company culture that provides opportunities that support intrapreneurship (Intrapreneurship is the act of behaving like an entrepreneur while working within an organisation). Which allows employees from all levels of the organisation to solve problems in either a group setting or individually. As part of this initiative, allowing employees to fail and look at failure as opportunities for growth will generate better results.

Engaged Employees – Developing opportunities that encourage creativity can serve as a platform for managers to engage with their employees in this environment. A work environment that fosters intrapreneurship and innovation typically has a high level of employee engagement. High employee engagement will lead to high employee retention and increased productivity which leads to profitability.

Behaviours – In addition to the technical aspects of the role, developing a competitive edge means selecting and retaining employees with specific traits and behaviours that support competitive strategies. Such as adaptability, risk taking, independence, accountability, adaptability, results orientated, independence.

When recruiting and selecting employees, these traits should be evaluated on applicants as part of your selection process. For existing employees, these traits can be developed in a company culture where management supports intrapreneurship and innovation.

At the end of the day, your people are your competitive edge 

They are the ones interfacing with your customers and producing your products and services. They are generating new ideas and solving problems. They represent your quality, value, and innovation. Make sure you have people strategies to attract, develop and retain the people you need to be competitive.

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