In speaking with various friends, family, and even strangers, I find I’m often having the same conversation about the workplace. While each person is in a different industry, job role, and region of the world, they are all expressing the same core issue:
Companies Overlook the Human Element
Let’s start with Aaron the Air Force Guy (don’t worry, Aaron is not his real name). I encountered Aaron on a recent flight to Denver. Aaron is a trainer for new hires with the Air Force (so cool!). Aaron asked me my advice on motivating low performers. My advice, of course, was don’t hire them in the first place!
You see, Aaron is like so many others. He has no say over who is hired, but he is responsible for this person’s success. That new hire’s success also determines his success. Aaron is positioned right in the middle of a very bad people structure.
Aaron has some great ideas on hiring like changing the recruiting process, looking for different hiring criteria, and mostly, let the trainers have a say because they actually have really good instincts on success rates. Aaron’s voice has fallen on deaf ears because he didn’t go to college for HR…so what does he know, right?
Aaron’s company still views the human structure like a factory. Each person is placed in a box with specific tasks and responsibilities. By having everyone functionally isolated, they fail to recognize the fact that the pieces of a puzzle only create something when they interact:
Aaron’s box does not include “hiring.” It has only “training.” Aaron works really hard to fulfill his box of tasks. Sometimes he wins and sometimes he loses. Then he said something really worthwhile…if I can occasionally motivate someone who has 10 years of mediocre experience; imagine what I could do with someone who actually has drive.
People are More Complicated than the Box
I met a real estate agent who started life in college learning film. He learned so much about visual perception and engagement through film. He also learned what arouses human interest. When it came to getting a job, he bounced around a bit until he found his calling. You see, learning film had given him an arsenal of tools to sell, and sell really well. He bridged the gap from film expertise into sales expertise, two seemingly unrelated areas.
But are they really that unrelated?
Is setting a film stage really that different from staging a house to sell? Is writing a film script really that different than creating an interesting sales pitch?
The majority of people didn’t give him a second thought to hire. Like Aaron, he experienced being placed in a box. His hiring box was full of film credentials, and therefore his box could only be placed on the film shelf.
He finally found someone willing to take a chance on him, someone willing to see the complex human value within the film credentials. Someone who saw beyond showing up and putting in time. They saw growth, drive, creativity, and emotional intelligence. These are the things that matter.
This idea of the human element invades all parts of business, from how we view candidates, how we define job roles, and how we treat people.
A perfect example of how we treat people in the workplace is a company’s sick policy. A friend of mine experienced this recently. Her company has created an environment where people feel like they must come to work sick. More so, the managers reward this person who persevered through being uncomfortable. This reward has created an environment where people are perceived as failures or even weak if they use sick time. The subsequent productivity fail as the entire staff becomes sick is ignored…people pat themselves on the back because they surely must be dedicated? Right? The more sick workers, the higher the dedication?
Managers who would rather have your time over productivity or even your wellbeing in mind, are not operating in the 21st century. They are still managing people like an assembly line, in-spite of the fact that most jobs now require higher order thinking skills, not rinse and repeat. The idea of always showing up, no matter what, was important in the industrial era, but the information technology era needs healthy, happy, creative minds to thrive.
The Human Factor: Your Business success is from Your People; Your People’s success is Your Business’s Life-Line.
Learn how social selling takes the human factor to a new level: here!