Our company has extensive experience in the formation, launch and maintenance of Supervisory Boards in medium-sized businesses. Here are its main functions, which we have identified during the practice:
1. Normalization of relations between co-owners is a task that is usually solved with the involvement of experts or independent directors - “guests”, whose presence stimulates the participants for a constructive dialogue and increases the chances of resolving urgent conflicts. The problem is solved especially productively when specialists in the field of human relations and group dynamics management are invited to the meetings of the Supervisory Board.
2. Providing "buffer mode" for painless exit of the owner from operational management with the transfer of control to a hired manager or heir. In this case, the Supervisory Board manages the preparation of the company for the transfer to new hands, coordinates the necessary organizational restructuring, and also provides "in training" the development of the role and functions of the business manager.
3. Another of the key functions of the Supervisory Board is to be a body of collective thinking necessary to solve complex complex tasks, such as forming long-term strategic plans, analyzing the current situation in the company and the external environment, multi-scenario forecasting, finding ways to eliminate threats and seize opportunities.
With properly structured council work, especially at its face-to-face meetings, the participation of senior managers and invited experts gives owners a "synergy of minds" that brings them to a new level of understanding of problems and opportunities, to wiser and more far-sighted solutions. However, the potential and capabilities of an effectively built neural network are not exhausted by these three functions.
Another area of application of the Supervisory Board's forces is personnel work. Yes, the company has heads of departments and divisions, there is an HR director with his own staff, and they all have their own rather big front and their own tasks in personnel management.
But there are also strategic issues in personnel work, decisions on which are best made at the level of the Supervisory Board. One of these issues is the definition of the company's personnel policy. Personnel policy is a set of principles for working with personnel.
These principles may differ from company to company:
• In some, they are looking for the best specialists in the labor market, in others they rely on the value of the team and direct all their efforts to growing their own professionals.
• Others are dominated by formalized rules, while others base their corporate culture on informal patterns and “oral history”.
• In the third, the search and experimentation are encouraged, in others, on the contrary, they value the precise implementation of the assigned tasks within a strictly defined framework.
• In the fourth, people are paid higher than the market, in others they are paid lower, but they try to make the company as attractive as possible due to other factors and decisions. Searching for personnel principles that are close and understandable to the owners and at the same time give the maximum business effect for a given company is the most important task of the Supervisory Board.
Note also that in today's increasingly complex world, the world of "twists and turns and surprises", intense competition and a multivariate future, personnel is becoming a more important resource than financial or material assets. In these conditions, personnel policy becomes a battlefield for companies for competitive advantages, and many owners and top managers are already beginning to feel: the role of correctly found principles and strategies in working with people is increasing every year.
Professionalism and dedication of people - this is what the main competition is now for. And in order to successfully lead it, it is extremely important to honestly and wisely answer the question: what is inscribed on the banners under which we call people? What are our values? What is the point of what we do besides making money?
Here is a small example from our daily practice. The owner of the majority stake in the development company has long since moved away from operational management, but, being a deeply religious person, he devoted a lot of time and effort to working with people - communicating with the team, personal meetings, organizing corporate events. And for him it was extremely important to formulate the mission and values of his company, clothe them in understandable formulations and fix them in personnel policy.
Interestingly, taking on this challenge in the tenth year of the company's life, he formulated a mission in accordance with the principles and values of teamwork. And ten years later, I realized that the values proclaimed and not unsuccessfully introduced by him can and should be associated with the idea of Orthodoxy. In the personnel policy, the leading values are formulated and disclosed, in accordance with which the selection, cultivation and promotion of people takes place, their work is assessed and a payment system is built, the mechanisms of non-material motivation are determined.
The task of the personnel department is to translate these principles into specific methods, be it methods of recruiting employees, organizing their training, certification, holding corporate events, etc. daily work with their subordinates.
At some points, the HR tasks of the Supervisory Board coincide with the tasks of managers and the HR department: the same search, selection, cultivation, training, assessment, encouragement, control. Only these tasks are solved by the Supervisory Board in relation not to ordinary employees and line managers, but in relation to the general director and top management. And the methods for solving these personnel problems can differ significantly from the methods of, say, recruiting and testing salespeople.
In Russian business, a pattern can be observed: small companies, when deciding whether to take personnel from outside or grow them inside, more often adhere to the second option. As a result, after 15–20 years in the company there is a gap between the requirements for the profession and the ability of people, albeit extremely devoted and loyal, to meet these requirements.
This gap is especially critical in situations when a company has grown from a small one to many thousands, and all top positions in it are occupied only by veterans. If we talk about today, out of people aged 45 and older, only a few are motivated to “keep pace with the times” and continuous professional development.
Constantly monitoring the progress of strategic tasks, the members of the Supervisory Board urged the CEO to replace the CMO. However, the general had his own opinion on this matter. According to the adopted distribution of powers, the Supervisory Board could not make a decision on the dismissal of a top manager: such decisions were made only by the CEO.
It was only after almost a year, when the marketing director's blunders could not be overlooked, that the CEO made the decision to fire him. In this regard, the Supervisory Board will sooner or later be faced with the task of replacing the old generation of employees with a new one - a non-trivial and architecturally difficult task, both technically and morally.