Valuable management advice from experts
TEXT: MALIN NORMAN | PHOTOS: SIGNUM HR & MANAGEMENT
With the help of Signum HR & Management, managers and CEOs can get full support in all things relating to the crossover between a business and its people. This year, the company also launches its brand-new service, Management Habits.
Since its start in 2004, Signum HR & Management has been a successful business partner focused on recruitment, selection and assessments, and (re)organisation with a client base consisting of large corporations such as BP, but also local family businesses, often with international subsidiaries.
According to Cathy Gemis, who owns Signum together with Daniël Deleus, the company has received plenty of additional questions from its clients over the years, such as, “Can you help us with this conflict? What do we need to do with our customer service department? How can we integrate our warehouses into one location? I have managers, but not a real management team — how do I build that?”
So, in response to their clients’ needs, in 2015, Signum took the opportunity for somewhat of a restart. “It was clear that with a width of new ideas, old ideas that had not come into reality yet, and clients who wanted us to help them with ‘more’ than what we had been able to offer before, the company was ready to develop further.”
Helping through stormy waters
Signum’s clients require more knowledge, insights, advice – call it a sounding board – in two main areas. The first is how to manage a business through stormy waters. For instance, finding a strategy for growing, downsizing or facing other changes in the market. Here, Signum makes the action plan customised, concrete and practical.
Looking at the specific company, its goals and its people, Signum helps build a clear, actionable implementation, which will allow companies to make the necessary changes themselves. It also provides support during the implementation with assessments of people, support in the change process and communication, or by giving targeted training, coaching and mentoring for key people in the process. “Reality is always more complex than the best plan can prepare you for,” says Daniël. “During the implementation phase, we are the change facilitators.”
Daniël admits that many companies are good at creating strategies, but not in making actual decisions. “Often, our clients have a lot of discussions about their strategy and what to do, but without coming to any concrete agreements. We help them in making it a habit not to stop until they have made a decision.” As part of its implementation support, Signum also provides communication plans including recommended points, channels and timings.
Managing and motivating people
The second area where businesses need a bit of help, is how to manage and motivate people. Most of Signum’s clients are so-called knowledge companies, creating added value based on their expertise. But how can they bring on board the right people, and also lead and keep them? To help managers make their jobs easier, Signum offers unique, hybrid training programnes with integrated mentoring sessions.
“We build the practical bridge between the enormous number of interesting theories and approaches that are out there, and we size them to our clients’ needs — so that they can do something with it,” says Daniël. “Then we look at how we can help them sustain the change, and how they can turn what they have learned into new habits, so that it comes naturally.”
This autumn, Signum is introducing ‘Management Habits’, a new way of building and integrating healthy habits for managers, so that they can feel more at ease in their roles and to help their teams perform better. It will include online resources and face-to-face talks, inspiration sessions and workshops.
Cathy elaborates, “It’s about creating psychological safety. Many companies focus on the knowledge that they have, but often, relationships are not given enough attention. One of the habits that can really help a manager in their job is creating this safety, making sure to care for the actual person and not just see them as a technical resource. If you give team members safety and their own space, they will contribute more and come up with more creative ideas. Ultimately, they will feel happier but also perform better.”
By the end of this year, Signum will also move into the Signum Penthouse, a more comfortable and centrally located office.
Want a sneak preview? Take a look at the brand new blog, where Signum HR & Management shares some of the stories and insights from working with clients. The small changes in mindset and habits can lead to even more professional success.