In today’s landscape, business transformation is not only inevitable, it’s vital for organisations to survive.
There are businesses that will foresee disruption and adapt accordingly, and there are businesses that will sink.
Somewhat like the Titanic, it’s the companies that consider themselves “unsinkable” that will suffer the fate of their complacency first.
Our ‘Teslas’ on the other hand are those organisations that don’t accept the status quo, pave a new way and think big. They are constantly improving, and scaling their businesses fast.
So where does your company fit?
If you know you’re in Titanic territory, it’s not the end of the world, so long as you’re willing to change and steer that ship around. The truth is, many well-established businesses are in this position, but they do have a good opportunity to circumvent the iceberg up ahead if they start transforming their culture and processes now.
What do many leading innovative companies today have in common? You’ve probably noticed many of today’s tech giants and Silicon Valley success stories have slightly unorthodox management structures, interview processes and even dress codes (or lack thereof).
This doesn’t mean you should fire all of your middle management, start hiring people based on their favourite TimTam flavour or let everyone wear sneakers to work, but what it does mean is you should do whatever it reasonably takes to put your people first.
What we’re talking about is the mantra of people, product, profit. That is, focus on hiring and retaining a great group of people and you’ll be able to create a great product, and in turn, generate profit.
Attracting and retaining the best talent can only happen if you create an environment where people feel valued and empowered to do their best work.
But attracting and retaining the best talent can only happen if you create an environment where people feel valued and empowered to do their best work. If that means installing sleeping pods and getting an in-house barista, then so be it, but keep in mind these perks can wear off pretty fast if your people feel they don’t have a voice.
Empowering your people starts with giving them the tools to do their best work every day. If you’re doing these things already, congratulations, you’re in Tesla territory. If you’re not, think of it as a checklist to help you steer around that iceberg up ahead.
Is your organisation collaborative or instructional? Are people free to try new things and think outside the square – or do you stick to one process because it’s ‘how we’ve always done it’. Of course, there are some decisions that need to be made from the top, but chances are there is also a lot of room for improvement in your organisation that could be easily uncovered and resolved simply by giving people an opportunity and permission to speak up and share their views.
If one of your staff members was suffering a conflict in their team or lacking the resources they needed to do their job, would they be able to ask for help? Or would they be forced to try and power on, performing at a lowered capacity and eventually exiting the business?
Even if you don’t think you’re actively silencing your staff, if you haven’t provided a safe avenue to provide feedback, that is exactly what you’re doing.
The latter is a toxic cycle that will be the downfall of any organisation that doesn’t listen to its people. Even if you don’t think you’re actively silencing your staff, if you haven’t provided a safe avenue to provide feedback, that is exactly what you’re doing.
Your company review process, ratings scales and even goal setting practices say a lot about your culture too.
Are you conducting annual reviews where employees feel they have to prove their worth to stay employed or get a pay rise?
Do your rating scales read something like ‘Below Expectations’, ‘Meeting Expectations’ etc?
Are all your employee’s goals set by management?
If you answered yes to any of these, whether intentional or not, all of these processes can send a message to your employees that they are not valued.
So, how can we fix this?
We need to create HR and Performance Management Processes that not only foster a culture of open and transparent communication but also reward it.
An automated check-in every few weeks gives every employee a chance to provide real-time feedback to questions like:
The answers to questions like these, inform one-on-one catch-ups between every manager and their direct reports, helping start meaningful conversations and drive a culture based on open communication and feedback.
The biggest benefit of a process like this is that any potential issues can be identified and handled proactively before they escalate. Furthermore, employees actually see value in giving this kind of feedback, as it is not only read, but acknowledged by the manager and generally acted on.
No one wants to say they’re ‘below expectations’, and let’s face it, once an employee reaches this point, it might already be too late to help them turn things around. So why even ask questions like these? People come to work wanting to do a good job, but we all experience blockers from time to time. In order to combat these blockers, we need our people to feel comfortable asking for help before it’s too late. We also need to help frame the mind of the manger to the desired outcomes of measuring an employee’s performance to start with. Consider replacing rating scales like ‘Below Expectations’, ‘Meeting Expectations’ and ‘Above Expectations’ with a rating scale like ‘Need Help’, ‘Good Job’ and ‘Great Job’ or similar.
Using the right online system to set and track goals is key for giving your people a sense of direction and purpose. When done right, it also ensures that goals are actually prioritised – and achieved. Writing out goals only for them to sit and hide in a spreadsheet does not get you anywhere.
Using intelliHR, everyone in your organisation can set their own goals or cascade a shared goal to a team member. Leaders can even have chat-style conversations with their direct reports through goal chat making goals a living and breathing tool supporting strategic alignment and operational delivery. Most importantly, everyone can track their own progress and gain a sense of achievement by actually seeing how they’re contributing to the big picture.
What is the culture around learning like in your organisation? Do people feel comfortable asking to undertake training in work time? Do employees have a set training budget? Do people have the autonomy to find and organize their own training?
Regardless of an employee’s experience or tenure, there is always room to improve performance, expand their thinking or learn something new. The best employees are those willing to try new things and keep your company at the cutting edge. Make sure you’re encouraging this.
The best employees are those willing to try new things and keep your company at the cutting edge. Make sure you’re encouraging this.
Start by calculating a training budget for each employee. This can be difficult without past data, but know that training is an investment that you can measure against performance to determine ROI. Once you know what training programs are bringing the most value, you can then adjust these budgets accordingly. Don’t forget to factor in time-wage costs for the hours spent undertaking training as well any travel costs incurred.
Even not for profit organisations or those with limited cash can invest in their people by giving a ‘time budget’ for staff to spend on training. There is a plethora of high-quality training courses coming out online that employees can do from the office and are very low cost or even free.
Once you have clear guidelines about what training investment you’re willing to make on each employee, and a system to keep track of training, the approval process will be far easier. So now it’s time to start welcoming employees to come forward with what training they want to do.
During regular check-ins with each staff member, make sure managers are asking their people if they feel they would benefit from training or development in any areas. Over time this will foster a culture where lifelong learning is encouraged and your people will feel comfortable asking for training where they will benefit from it most, increasing value for the business.
Employee experience goes beyond having a nice office or on-site parking. It’s every daily interaction people have with your workplace. Do new starters get buried in compliance paperwork? Is it a mission to get training approved? Does everyone have the resources they need to do their job? If not managed correctly all of these things can equate to a poor employee experience – no matter how many free coffees you pour on top of it. Ultimately, your people need feedback, recognition, clear expectations and an alignment with the ‘why’ behind what they are doing.
By implementing intelliHR, our customers are ensuring all their people have the same great employee experience. The entire onboarding process is completed online in a few clicks, staff members can track and provide feedback on their own training and easily ask for help if they need it.
Of course, a system like this can only provide value to your people if they actually want to use it. To help ensure a high adoption rate among your staff, be sure to select a platform that is user-friendly, enjoyable to use, and makes people want to come back again and again – you might even say, make it addictive. Here at intelliHR, we’ve started integrating gamification concepts into the platform, so every user can feel a sense of accomplishment each time they complete a task, and in turn make everyday tasks into habits that add value.
So, where does your company stand? If you’re not doing these things already, hopefully you’ve identified some areas you can evolve your practices, steer around the icebergs ahead and start taking off for Mars!
What do you think sets innovative companies apart from those who stagnate and fall behind?