Belfast Telegraph

Invest in leadership and improve your company's prospects

Sandra Herdman, the head of coaching and development at social enterprise Futures (NI), says the business that will succeed in the next five years are those which engage their employees

Well 2012 looks set to be just as challenging as the past year for Northern Ireland's business leaders and managers.

The pressure to reduce costs and increase productivity are leading to increasingly low levels of trust and employee morale.

This at a time when businesses need motivated employees who are willing to go above and beyond for their company. Engaged employees are happier, healthier and more productive.

It is critically important that companies develop strategies to manage their people through the challenges brought by change if they are to survive and prosper into the future.

These strategies must ensure that employees feel engaged - that they are motivated to work and care about the job they are doing.

Of course, maintaining engagement when employees are anxious about job security or the future of the company will be challenging, but establishing trust could enable you to retain your employees' support while taking and implementing difficult decisions.

The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) recently called for employers to invest in training managers to counter the increasingly low levels of employee morale.

The CMI highlighted how vital it is that employees are supported by managers and have the right skills to lead, motivate and inspire during these challenging times.

Recent Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) research showed that engaged employees are more likely to stay with their employer; enjoy greater levels of wellbeing and contribute more through being more innovative. Your employees are the most important asset in your armoury as you face the upcoming challenges and by motivating them you can ensure that they are committed to the success of your organisation.

In a time when organisations are required to deliver efficiencies, implement lean strategies, manage workforce change and meet strict budget targets, businesses need managers who can effectively respond to the challenges that they face today.

By investing in the leadership skills of your senior team, you can instill and promote productive behaviours and relationships that will improve your organisation's prospects.

Futures (NI) is hosting a leadership and engagement breakfast seminar in the Baby Grand at the Grand Opera House, Belfast on February 28, 8.45am until 11.30am. To register contact business development at Futures (NI) on (028) 9039 3579, or email