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People, projects and a model for employee engagement

Bruce Nixon
August 5, 2013

We’ve heard it time and time again: people are an organisation’s greatest asset. Encouraging the best from your staff and engaging them in your organisation’s mission is essential to business growth.

But aligning your people’s capabilities, responsibilities and motivations with your business goals is often challenging. It requires great understanding of the individuals and groups that comprise the organisation, how they interact with each other and how they produce business value.

Where many businesses have failed is not so much in identifying these various networks, but in:

  1. Recording them in a way that clearly establishes the relationships between people, processes and objectives.
  2. Managing them so they can be optimised and used to the benefit of the organisation and its people.
  3. Sharing this information across the organisation.

The answer to these problems can be solved by developing a flexible living model or diagram of an organisation which relates employee roles to business operations and goals. This true representation of the organisation can be used by senior executives to improve their strategic business planning as well as provide employees with a direct line of sight of how they contribute to the success of the organisation.

The model should include visual diagrams that capture the DNA of the organisation (its services, structure, roles, projects, values and goals) in a single, flexible business management system.

This allows the company to visualise its operations from a number of different perspectives and engage all stakeholders by demonstrating how individual responsibilities contribute to the entire process.

By capturing, organising and managing information in such a comprehensive manner, organisations will achieve:

Greater accountability
One of the major sources of internal friction in an organisation is conflicting instructions from different lines of management. By using a living model of business, you can map lines of accountability to reveal any conflicting objectives. You can then balance the competing authorities in line with the overall organisational objectives.

A boost in creativity
A key feature of human performance is how creativity emerges through cooperation. Therefore, managing individuals is not enough. Human performance must be managed at the group level as well. A model that outlines formal and informal structures within the organisation will help identify potential synergies and communities of practice where creativity could be leveraged.

Increased performance
To motivate your employees and drive the business towards the desired direction, your model of business needs to include incentives and KPIs aligned with each individual, department and division according to their skills, capacities and motivations. Outcomes from performance management should also be recorded and aligned with these rewards.

A catalyst for improvements
When people see how their responsibilities contribute to the business success, they are more likely to take ownership and embrace change because they better understand the purpose of change and their role in it. Performance improvement becomes something done with staff, not to them, giving senior executives greater buy-in and support.

More than 80% of improvement suggestions originate at an operational level and are crucial to successful continuous improvement implementations. Employees need to be empowered to proactively capture and share improvement suggestions as a natural part of their day-to-day work.

As such, your business management system should enable your employees to recognise, initiate and build further improvement into your operations. These improvements can be recorded directly into a central repository of knowledge, assessed and modelled to determine the impact of change.

Bruce Nixon
Bruce Nixon is the CEO of Holocentric, a business management systems provider. As CEO, Bruce is consistently encouraging the building and delivery of solutions that are better aligned to customer needs and that provide more strategic value.
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3 thoughts on “People, projects and a model for employee engagement

  1. Bruce,

    I was asked by senior management recently what creates an innovative culture. I respond with the following.

    “For a company to create an innovative culture, they must ensure that all employees embrace such a philosophy. This involves empowerment, reward and opportunity for such. Individualising career paths, training, and skill requirements enhances the platform for innovation and allows the company to better measure performance”

    Your article vindicates my comments.

    Damon Lazarus

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