In August, we began a series looking at the use of HR software such as Sage People. Among all the departments in your company, human resources are probably the last department to use data and analytics to improve performance. It may seem cold and unkind to refer to people as data or statistics, and we would agree that you can’t reduce human beings to numbers. But you can manage your organization better if you do so with the numbers in mind; the number of new hires, vacancies, training days, and more can all help you improve how your company recruits, hires, and retains employees.
The Challenge of Becoming a “People” Company
People-based companies run a little differently from other companies. While the definition of a people-based company may vary depending on who you asked, the accepted definition is that a people company puts people first. People are viewed as the most valuable asset, not the land the company owns or the patents they hold or another asset. The knowledge, skills, and abilities of the workers are paramount.
Even during times when it is difficult to find people with specific skill sets, a people-company typically has no problem attracting great talent. That’s because it develops a reputation for being a wonderful place to work. This leads to fewer recruiting costs and challenges and continues to generate positive results for the organization.
Leader Perspective Differs from Employee Perspective
Sage produced a study earlier this year that examined many aspects of companies claiming to be “people” companies and the attitudes towards such companies. One thing that stood out in the study is the discrepancy between how corporate leaders viewed their companies and how employees within viewed them.
The results indicated that 55% of senior management within a company viewed it as a people company while about 29% of employees within the same company held that view. Prospective employees viewing the company from the outside were also asked if they thought the same company was a people company, and 34% said it was.
What accounts for the discrepancy? Leaders seemed to hold a different opinion of the company from the workers and potential employees.
One key area that may account for the difference is in the area of communication. The leadership team may be aware of all the things the company does to put people first and to treat people as the most important asset, but somehow, this isn’t being communicated to the employees. For the employees, the company feels like “business as usual.”
Another reason may be that leaders aren’t listening carefully to the feedback they are receiving from their employees. The leadership team may be implementing actions they believe make the organization people-centered, while the employees are telling them they want and need something different. The results can be a discrepancy between what leadership thinks people want in an employee-first organization and what people actually do want.
Building a People-First Corporate Culture
To build a people-first corporate culture takes time. But there are several steps you can take today to work towards a great people-centric organization.
- Set a purpose: Purpose-based organizations tend to gather people together around a shared, common goal. It acts like a compass, pointing the way forward. Purpose then builds employee engagement, which leads to a people-centered culture.
- Improve communications: Work towards two-way communication, with leadership listening more than they talk. Have mechanisms in place for gathering employee feedback. Don’t just go through the motions of gathering feedback but actually listen and respond to it.
- Add technology: The right technology can put into place the mechanisms by which you can listen and respond to your employees, fostering a culture that puts people first. Sage People helps you gather data on things like employee turnover rates so you can see which areas of your company may need work to help build a better culture. It also helps you assess many areas of your human resources that can be built upon or improved upon as you work towards a people-first goal.
People-oriented companies aren’t new, but they remain rare. The Sage People survey indicates that only about 29% of companies worldwide can make the claim comfortably that they are people-first organizations. Perhaps your company, if it can successfully make the shift, will boost that number. The results you achieve can help you build a better, happier workplace.
IWI Consulting Group
IWI Consulting Group helps businesses gain insights into their operations, inventory, and profitability. We provide software and support for a wide range of industries throughout Canada. For more information, please visit IWI Consulting Group or contact us today.