The most important asset for any organisation (including the family) is its people. Organisations that get the best out of people shall get ahead of the others in the race for productivity and effectiveness.
Let us confront the elephant in the room right away. Why do organisations promise to give their staff T.L.C, but in practice fail to deliver? It’s apparent that companies find it easier to talk and deliver good technical leadership, strategy and design, but not good people management. The people management OV tends to remain a paper exercise. Due to the pressures of the fast-moving, unpredictable business environment, it’s the enablers of the People OV that get sacrificed first. Postponing action on people matters is a natural choice for organisational honchos, yet dangerous as we shall see later
Organisations, like parrots, regurgitate politically correct phrases about people management. You must have heard or read phrases put out by companies like: people are our most important asset, respect is our number one value, we are a tightly knit family that work to achieve a common goal in a homely work environment, everyone is a valued member of the team, we demonstrate extra amount of dedication and sensitivity to our employee needs, etc.
Indeed, some organisations do all they can to live up to their people-hype and politics; others do the opposite and don’t even remember that these people-statements feature prominently on company websites, in brochures, and interview meetings.
In effect, people management for some organisations merely is political talk. It’s hubris at its best. And we do not blame these organisations at all. We understand so very well how such organisations end up in this predicament. Effective people management is a complex matter. Like spaghetti, effective people management is an entanglement of various pieces – i.e. organisation Vision and Mission, technical leadership pedigree, the character and values of the organisation’s leaders, the environment the organisation operates in, the business of the organisation, labour market demand vs supply dynamics, etc.
Faced with a people management complexity like above, and the fact that it doesn’t immediately affect the bottom line, organisations get tempted to push it to the side. In the shark-tank environment of the corporate-suite, the business of T.L.C for people gets pushed down the priorities list. Afterall, strategy, leadership, and design OV challenges have an immediate negative impact than people.
When people management gets relegated to the bottom of the C-suite task list, politically correct statements and soundbites kick in to hold the ground. Organisations pronounce themselves on certain people matters but avoid what it takes to untangle and straighten the People OV spaghetti. The latter is too time-consuming, requires very careful and precise attention, and its rewards aren’t immediate in a bottom line driven corporate world
Yes, effective people management won’t give you immediate tangible returns. However, the cost of not managing people well, inconsequential as it may be initially, is in the long-term debilitating to any brand big or small.
Dealing with the falsehood:
That because the impact of poor people management may not be immediate on the company, and that business can continue to run for many years, should not fool companies that all is well. It’s only a matter of time before your bottom line or impact is undermined.
Poor people management may not bring about immediate or medium-term collapse at the company, but it steadily undermines value creation maximisation and ultimately, brings the company to its knees. It should be noted that although it’s slow to bite, when it does, the effects are often irreversible.
While people are a core asset to any organisation, a good brand is equally important. And if people that work for the company are its most effective brand ambassadors, then, they ought to be given enough T.L.C
Now, we know that there are multiple schools of thought when it comes to T.L.C for employees
Sadly, T.L.C is all about an individual company or leader preference. We are all schooled in different ways when it comes to employee T.L.C. As explained above, more often than not, there are various factors at play – type of business, leadership DNA, labour market dynamics, etc.
Some organisations use T.L.C as a tool to achieve a win-win, consensual position with its workers, others look at T.L.C from a militaristic paradigm – i.e. orders are given, and they are followed without question, others consider T.L.C a marriage of un-equals where one side has and will always have much more power, and leverage than the other – i.e. the employee is desperate to put bread and butter on the table and for that, they have no choice but to follow what the organisation asks of them. In effect, merely holding a job at such a company is enough T.L.C accorded to an individual worker
In this people OV sub-series we will discuss various elements of what we consider effective people management; these elements drive sanitised employee T.L.C: communicating with Impact, treating people as people and nothing else, good performance management, team dynamics, negotiating with others, dealing with difficult staff, etc
If all the above is done right, T.L.C accrues to company staff, and it’s used as a lever to realise and sustain successful leadership, execution of strategy, and effective operationalisation of the organisation’s design.
It’s clear once again that effective organisations are about intertwined systems
See you next week