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I’ve heard that geese flying in a “V” formation can fly at least 71% further than a goose flying on its own.  It’s an interesting thought.  A single goose could choose to fly from one place to another without any help.  Or all the geese could head out from various locations with the intention of getting to the same place.  But when they fly in formation, they can be much more efficient – all pulling together at the same time, in the same direction, each bird creating uplift for the bird that follows.

This makes sense for distribution companies as well.  If you have good employees that work hard, it should lead to success.  But if each employee has the right skills and is working efficiently on tasks aligned with your business strategy, then you can achieve even better business results. 

To realize this kind of success, companies set employee goals based on the current business strategy.  Employees are then measured against these goals and paid based on performance.  This is just part of a larger people strategy.  In addition, current and future employment needs are assessed and steps taken to develop employees or to recruit new hires.  A successful plan could include:

  • Goal setting and performance management – To be certain employees are working on the most important tasks, they should have goals that are aligned with the company strategy.  From the warehouse to the purchasing department, employees can be measured against business results, given meaningful feedback, and rewarded as appropriate.
  • Compensation – People perform better when they are paid based on achievement.  Top performers are rewarded and productivity can be increased throughout the organization.
  • Succession planning and development – Wholesale distributors often have low turnover and employees with many years of service.  As these employees leave – and really, at any time – it’s important to anticipate and plan for staffing changes at any level of the company.  It’s also important that employees have the right skill set to prepare for future needs.
  • Recruiting – Recruiting supports your people strategy, especially in cases where you don’t have the people or skills internally.  With the right tools in place, you can manage your process and hire the best new employees.
  • Learning – Training strategies include more than just learning materials.  You must also efficiently manage and deploy both classroom and online training.
  • Collaboration – Internal teams should have an easy way to communicate and share knowledge.  This makes it possible for employees to learn from one another and to share ideas.
  • Workforce analytics – In addition to covering these key elements, you need a way to gain insight into your workforce and improve decision-making.  Strong analytics tools provide visibility into things like progress toward goals and potential gaps in employee skills.

Companies that implemented these elements have seen an increase in employee engagement and financial performance.  When employees understand how they can impact the business strategy, they are more fully vested in the company’s success.

The right software solution can help to support these processes.  The BizX Suite by SuccessFactors – An SAP Company, can help you align your organization, optimize employee performance, and give you greater insight into your workforce.  Their cloud-based solutions are scalable, affordable, and easy to implement.  Learn more at www.successfactors.com.

These solutions and more will be discussed with industry analysts at the SAP Industries Analyst Base Camp to be held in July.

There is a second benefit to geese flying in “V” formation – it is easy to keep track of every bird in the group and may assist in communication.  With the right processes and systems in place, you will be able to focus, reward and develop your employees as they efficiently fly toward their goals.

(And for those of you who thought the title of this blog was referring to a guitar, you might notice that if you turn the Gibson Flying V sideways, it looks like geese flying in formation.)

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