In this article, we take you through some very convincing reasons on why leaders should focus on people and not data, when making decisions or planning.
Today’s competitive business environment means that good metrics and financial results are the primary determinants of a leader’s or company’s strength. Many experts define it as a “metrics-driven” leadership and business culture, especially because it doesn’t focus on people.
Peter Drucker, a management guru, is on record saying, “if you can’t measure it, then you can’t make any improvements to it.” The corporate goals identified by corporate leaders are measurable and quantifiable. It’s the reason they’re known to drive metrics related to all business activities.
Increased data availability and the ability to monitor, store, and track different data sets have made it possible for corporate leaders to boost annual performance based on these metrics. On the other hand, successful corporate leaders understand the need to focus on people instead of merely relying on data analysis.
Such leaders soon begin to shift their focus towards creating meaningful relationships and connections with the people around them. Through this, they get to foster trust among their customers, employees, vendors, and partners.
Why leaders should focus on people and not just heavily analysed data
It’s not uncommon for corporate leaders to focus on metric-driven performances when trying to analyse employee performance. Most do so because such metrics are easily measurable, which isn’t the case when dealing with traditional employee engagement.
The lack of proper team management skills makes it hard to quantify employee engagement, making it almost impossible for leaders to focus on their personnel. Nonetheless, this is expected to change as these elements get recognised as significant drivers of business success. They’ve also proven to be the hallmarks of all successful companies.
It explains why most companies have begun investing in software solutions that allow supervisors to track employee engagement. Using such solutions, the management can track the engagement of each worker from the day they started working for the company in question.
Leadership is all about relationships
There’s a huge difference between a good leader and a great leader—the difference lies in their ability to create long-lasting, trusting, and deep-rooted connections with the people they work with day-in, day-out.
Although it takes effort to achieve this fete, treating your customers and fellow employees as lifelong friends can help a leader find the right team. It also paves the way to develop long relationships built on mutual trust.
According to Kouzes and Posner, taking time to base leadership on a person’s relationships with others encourages them to effect change and become more daring. Employees who dare to take risks are better places to make progress in a workplace environment.
How can leaders foster relationships?
Those in management positions can use different techniques to foster relationships with their co-workers. They can:
Create a Culture of Trust
Leaders need to share their vision and passion clearly throughout the company. They need to encourage their employees to work towards achieving this vision. Sharing their vision and passion will create a sense of purpose, and this can assist in powering workers to attain the expected goals.
Listening to What Their People Have to Say
A great leader can listen with compassion to help them understand their people’s interests, concerns, and sentiments. Effective listening allows you to build a safe environment where anyone can come to you to voice their concern and get heard. Creating a safe place where co-workers can ask questions and receive candid answers is a great way to get started. Consider using the readily available tools to foster a two-way connection with all the others in the organisation.
Leaders can develop a trusting relationship with their employees when they get to a point where they can easily put themselves in their position. Compassion calls for leaders to become vulnerable, as their co-workers can easily see that they aren’t different from them.
Does HR have a role to play in shifting the focus to people from data?
Understanding technology to gain an insight into advanced analytics will ultimately provide human resource leaders the “right to play.” Nevertheless, they need to generate value and build organisational resilience using team bonding activities for their teams to connect.
For this to happen, their teams will need to connect the insights gathered to the organisation in several ways:
Engage directly and at a deeper level with their employees
Many leaders have continued to allude to what they view as an uncomfortable paradox: it’s become impossible to create personal relationships with employees due to the strategies that the HR departments have been promoting for a while.
A good example of such strategies is:
- Trying to channel employees towards self-service
- Remote performance management
Today, most of the tools and platforms that have helped rewire how HR departments operate have also introduced changes to how employees live and work. To a large extent, the reason for this is the varying performance range between committed and disengaged employees.
Most HR leaders are looking for ways to become fully engaged with their employees in an attempt to move away from solutions advancing the self-service model. Many believe that processes need to be undertaken in a face-to-face setting to make remote attractions more personable.
Such processes need to include much more than negotiations touching on promotions and salaries. They should also touch on onboarding new employees, innovation and brainstorming, mentoring, and coaching. If possible, leaders need to look for new ways to build better relationships using the existing models.
Some HR leaders have already started to look into what they would like to retain Post Covid-19. For example, while some managers were initially excited about the possibility of coaching employees via video calls, not all employees were perceptive to the idea. As a result, there’s a likelihood that coaching may come back to in-person coaching once again.
It’s a welcome change, as it will provide the leaders with a chance to look at their workforce from a broader viewpoint. There’s also a need for all those concerned to begin taking steps that will allow them to recognise the individual capabilities of all their people. Companies that work with partners should also look into extending their attention to such groupings.
Close proximity with the workforce plays a significant role in identifying any challenges that the crew may be experiencing. It’s also the best approach to help a company identify hidden champions and future leaders who make their contributions without creating a fuss. As things stand, HR may fail to make any meaningful impact in an organisation if it doesn’t know its people.
The lever for those in management positions lies in using segmentation. They need to learn to apply robust survey methodologies when assessing organisational health. Once done, they should begin segmenting the responses of personnel having specific needs.
Challenges will continue to persist, even as hybrid working becomes the new workplace normal.
Allow employees to bring their ‘whole person’ to the place of work
HR leaders have already started looking into ways to address talent management and mechanistic skills in a manner that’s more dynamic and targeted. It’s a move that will require them to do more than just engage with employees’ safety and contractual moments. The only way to make this work is by adopting a broader view of diversity.
For example, some studies have shown that companies have started to rethink employee experience by relying on methods that identify and respect their differences. They’re doing this while at the same time attempting to adapt to circumstances that are constantly changing.
By drilling down to locate employees who require varying types of support, the leaders also get to act in a manner that may create varied feelings of cohesion and well-being. The relationships between the employees and their manager play an essential role in matters related to job performance and satisfaction.
But despite this appearing in several studies, most employees insist that the most stressful interactions they find themselves having in the workplace involve superiors. HR leaders are advised to educate department managers on their pivotal roles and embed quality workplace relationships into performance appraisals.
Great leaders understand the need to help individual employees attain their goals. It’s something that can’t be achieved through an app. An excellent talent manager has to find a way to sit down with the employee and the boss in person.
For these, there are two main management levers:
I. Purpose: Research has shown that employees will be more excited to work at a company that spends a portion of its reflecting on the impact its services and products have on the world.
II. Inclusion: HR leaders should create programs that focus on inclusion and purpose to encourage the employees to bring their whole person to the workplace. Several studies have shown that whenever an employee experiences inclusive behaviour from their peers and leaders, they become more likely to attend to their responsibilities feeling included.
Human resource as a role model for future organisations
For human resource teams to lead all these organisational changes, they must start working as inspirational groups. And this is in addition to serving as magnets for great leaders and upcoming talent who will one day want to sit at the top table in the organisation and effect change.
Therefore, HR leaders should focus on people and other internal cultures without overlooking the company’s capacity and readiness for change. They also have to find a way to remain aware of the larger human ecosystem, including the markets from where they will need to draw talent.
Apart from ensuring that core processes are working as required, the concerned teams should spend a large portion of their time proposing, listening, explaining, observing, and convincing. These are ordinary skills for most HR leaders, but their skills that they will need to spread out to all their teams to guarantee overall success.
Using the tactics mentioned above will assist a leader in showing their people that their concerns are indeed being heard. It also communicates that the leaders have chosen to focus on people instead of concentrating on the data coming in from various quarters.