Competitiveness and how Human Resources support Competitive Advantage
Some companies are competitive by nature, it’s in their DNA that the whole company is looking for a way to maintain its market leadership. Unfortunately, most companies start out as small predatory pikelets, but over time they become lazy fish that are just guarding their territory. They have lost their competitiveness over time. In a company, status and maintaining it is suddenly more important than taking healthy risks and seeking new opportunities. And this is an opportunity for Human Resources to revitalize the company culture and values. And together with the CEO, make the organization a predatory fish again, unafraid to explore uncharted waters. That’s the only way the company will find new opportunities for growth.
Without competitiveness, a company cannot survive in the long term. If it does not actively fight for its market share, it gradually weakens and runs out of the necessary resources for innovation and investment. Such a company may continue to operate by its nature for some time, but it gradually loses its place in the market and the best employees leave for better career opportunities.
If a company loses its ability to compete and aggressively fight the competition, it has a big impact on employees. The best employees slowly start to leave because they feel they will do better in another company. They may be better rewarded or they may have better and greater opportunities for career growth.
Moreover, a competitive company forces employees to move outside their comfort zone. It can constantly push them slightly to think about their work and come up with ideas on how to do things differently and better. It encourages them to actively try new processes and innovate the way they work. He doesn’t promise them big changes, but he ensures that the company changes a little bit every day and keeps moving forward.
If a company stops competing with its competitors and becomes a complacent organisation, it gradually loses its competitive advantage. If one company stops, it doesn’t mean that competitors stop too. On the contrary, they will understand such a situation as an opportunity to strengthen their market position and gain some additional market share.
How can Human Resources support competitiveness?
Human Resources must take good care of the company culture and corporate values. HR Managers must keep a good eye on the whole organization and must intervene together with the CEO when they see that employees and managers are starting to move only in their comfort zone.
At such a point, they must initiate a big discussion about the purpose of the organization so that the discussions will generate new impulses to get the company eager to grow again. For without the desire for growth, any competitive advantage will gradually disappear. Once complacency reigns in a company, the first step is stagnation, which always leads to decline. No company is guaranteed its place in the market. Even Google will be surpassed one day. Probably its competitor already exists somewhere, but so far it is so small and insignificant, but it has the desire to break through.
The only way to prevent this is for a company to constantly monitor its surroundings and invest resources in maintaining its privileged position. It is constantly innovating and its customers are not looking for a reason to look for any other solution in the market. It constantly reminds its employees of its purpose and tries to make sure everyone lives up to it. It always evaluates critical decisions against its purpose to make sure it is doing the right thing for its customers.
A competitive company gives its employees a lot of flexibility, it doesn’t ask them to follow every internal policy without thinking. On the contrary, it asks them to think about how to do things better, with less effort and or better results. This will ensure that they maintain their edge over the competition. Flexibility is the key to innovation. Innovation cannot be mandated, it can only be encouraged.
Empowerment and the right to make a mistake are an important part of competitiveness. No one wants to take a risk if they know there will be no consequences. Of course, this is not risking the future of the whole company, but risking within a well-defined framework. Every test is a risk, and therefore one cannot be punished if one makes a mistake. And adapt Internal Audit practices to that, so that they don’t just monitor how honestly employees are following all the steps in the internal guidelines. That’s a sure way to kill innovation.
HR also needs to worry about employee engagement. You can’t do competitiveness without it. The best ideas don’t come from managers, they usually come from employees who are in direct contact with customers. And then Human Resources must have a system to get those ideas to the right places. And how to ensure that employees are interested in talking about their ideas.
And finally, Human Resources must develop its Change Management competency. It must become a guide for employees through change and help them adapt to new conditions. Threatening to leave if someone doesn’t adapt is not the way to achieve real change. Rather, resistance will only become covert and the company will lose its drive.