A great place to work is a place where you feel like you "fit in". But what does that mean?
From being children we learn to fit in to groups by adapting our behaviour from those we perceive as having authority. Those with such authority might be our parents, a sibling, a classmate, or a teacher - depending on the situation. In this context a person's authority is not their position, it is their capacity to influence the behaviour of others, no matter their position or status.
As we mature we continually enhance and adapt the nuances of our behaviour to fit in. We feel unsafe and insecure whenever we experience that feeling of being an outsider. It is natural to fear isolation and exclusion, so we do our best to avoid it.
At first we learn to fit in with our family members, then we learn to adapt to fit in with our classmates and teachers, and then we adapt further to fit in to our workplace.
This is what culture is - the understood norms of behaviour that enable us to fit in. It's the 'way things are done around here'.
At every stage, we identify those with 'cultural authority'. We do it subconsciously. The cultural authorities are those that influence through leadership (good or bad) the behaviours that are acceptable in each situation.
LEADERSHIP - CREATING CULTURAL AUTHORITIES
We have observed and experienced that in the best places to work there is a highly effective established way of doing things. Every person seems to fit in, even despite varying personalities, experience levels, and backgrounds. Everyone knows the desired objectives, and their part in 'the way things are done around here'.
These work places consistently exceed the performance of others, because their leaders have consciously created the rules and protocols, which are mostly unwritten, and they have given clarity of how people can act and interact within them.
Conversely, the work places where people are unsure of how to fit in are where we see dysfunction, gossip, disruption, and low morale.
The great places to work are those where people fit in, because the leaders have consciously created, communicated, and encouraged an established way of doing things. They've clarified the standards of work ethic, behaviour, and values. Those leaders have made it clear of what it means to fit in, and they constantly develop others to guide and encourage the established way, so that everyone can safely and fully contribute to achieving the desired objectives.
The H Factor is designed to build on the capability of leaders to establish their cultural authority for their team. It is created from an evidence based model that results in practical actions for leaders to build on their natural abilities.
We often question the strategic value that HR brings to business. Too often it is focused on risk minimisation rather than strategic contribution.
Perhaps that is finally starting to change. We're a part of a movement to re-focus HR systems and processes on meaningful strategic contribution. We understand that the more we focus on compliance, the less we inspire performance.
In an article in the Human Resources Director Australia magazine dated 16 August 2018 entitled ‘This Is Why It's Such An Exciting Time To Be In HR Today’, Bridget Loudon, founder and CEO at Expert360 states:
“The systems that they (HR Professionals) put in place need to not just be systems of record but systems of interaction that allow them to create a really great experience.”
We’re in total agreement!
Every HR System that we’ve seen puts the focus onto compliance; ticking boxes, and people ratings and rankings … Yuk! They completely miss the human aspect of performance and the value of engaging conversations around desired outcomes.
We spent a great deal of time trying to find the system that would deliver what we wanted: an online hub for people and culture that provides a single place where people could easily access the things they required to allow for high performance and accountability.
We couldn't find one, so we decided to build it.
We set out to create a tool that the people will want to use, rather than something that is just another tool for HR risk management, not for them!
THE 4 THINGS THAT GUIDE OUR WORK PERFORMANCE
There’s four things that govern what we do, and how well we do it, when we’re at work:
A great culture and accountability tool is one where there is:
t was with this desire, and the fact that we were frustrated with the status quo of HR, that we built the H-Me System.
Business has long persevered with a process that doesn't work, creates anxiety, fuels disengagement, encourages internal conflict, and ultimately leads to resignations.
If there was any other process in a business that had no measured 'benefit' for the effort and time it takes, then it probably wouldn't last long. Yet, many have persevered with the dreaded formal performance review even though both employers and employees have, generally speaking, hated the whole process.
Let's be honest. There's something inherently uncomfortable about sitting across a table from someone (often with tissues at the ready), and talking to them, about them.
Even if we are giving great feedback, or receiving it, we know we are still judging, or being judged. Yuk. The process is confrontational.
Worst of all though, especially for us H Agents, is that we have never seen this process actually positively change behaviour. Ever.
The performance review is usually used as a tool against someone, rather than a tool to guide someone. The intention is usually to "performance manage" - which is, in many workplaces, the not-so-secret codeword for being "managed" 'out', not managed 'up'.
For the rest of the team, they are not involved in the conversation, but they see it, and they wonder when this might happen to them. Everyone keeps their heads down.
Perhaps businesses have persisted because people feel like they have to do something.
LONG LIVE THE OUTCOME CONVERSATION
We agree - businesses should have a formal process for talking about performance, so that clarity of what it is can be established, and people can be guided to achieving it - but let's do something that works.
At The H Factor, we believe that the key to having an effective process to guide performance, is to shift the focus. Instead of talking about the person, we shift the focus on to the outcome that the person is accountable for achieving.
We ask, "If this is the outcome that you are responsible for, how would you like to deliver it ... and what do you need from the business?"
This questioning process removes the personal judgement, and enables an effective conversation - and negotiation - about the delivery of the desired work outcome. Everyone can focus on what is to be achieved, rather than the personality traits of the person tasked with achieving it. People are more likely to open up about their difficulties and challenges, rather than hide them. This questioning process sparks innovation, flexibility, and productivity.
The H Factor performance management process is based around the Outcome Conversation.
During the implementation of the system, we train our clients and their teams on how to change the process of performance management from one that is ineffective at changing behaviour, to one that works. It's not always easy, but once learned, our clients see the benefits of an engaging, enjoyable, and inspiring conversation about their business outcomes, with the people they employed to deliver them.
You've started your business; you've got busy, and you're looking to grow. Now what?
The classic next step is to simply start looking for people to help out. It's a trap. Here's how you'll fall into it.
You'll recruit friends of friends who know something about such and such. You'll surround yourself with a group of well-meaning people who are unsure about their accountabilities, and you will end up responsible for everything. They will be all care, minimum responsibility. You'll end up all frustrated and left wondering why everyone is working from their own agenda.
We want you to avoid this trap.
Find people who can help you up, rather than grabbing people to help you out. It's about working smarter; it needs a more strategic approach.
You can follow a sound and proven process:
We created The H Factor system for small business owners so that they can grow their businesses faster, and more profitably, by getting people who help up, rather than just randomly getting people to help out.
H Agents write about the joys and challenges of entrepreneurship and managing people.