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People Company: How to become one and thrive

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We’re in the throes of a global productivity crisis. Sage’s ‘Why your workforce isn’t working’ survey indicates that 66% of respondents are only partly or not at all engaged at work, and rate their productivity at under 30 hours a week.

It’s not only the distractions of the modern world that are to blame for the lack of focus. Businesses are also partly to blame because they’ve created what they believe is a positive work experience without actually asking their employees. The truth is, we’ve been getting it wrong all this time.

Hint: Ping-pong, free beer, and beanbags do not equal a positive experience.

Employer-employee disconnect

Nearly half of respondents claim to have never been asked by their employer how they would like to have their working experience improved, and 53% state that they actually found games distracting.

So, what is it that employees want?

  • 81% want to work remotely and have flexibility.
  • 66% want to feel appreciated, recognised, and valued.
  • 92% want positive workforce experiences.

For most, a positive experience is recognition for doing a job well; continuing, two-way communication with regular performance reviews and feedback; and the autonomy to work when they feel most productive – which could be times that fall outside of office hours.

Yet employees are not getting these experiences in the workplace, so they aren’t as productive as they could be – and this is slowing business growth.

The good news is, it’s not too late to turn things around. You can still become a People Company; one that treats its people as its most valuable asset and understands their preferences and needs as deeply as it understands those of its customers. A company that is more people-focused than it is admin-focused. One that uses technology to offer incredible workforce experiences and to design new, better ways of working.

Becoming a People Company

The bulk of businesses believe that they are People Companies, but even future-centric, high-performing companies are still trying to get it right. They all struggle to get the insights they need: a mere 37% have HR self-service on several devices, only 37% use data and analytics to make people-based decisions, and 39% concentrate on creating great workforce experiences.

PwC, in similar research, found that, the top three at-risk capabilities when preparing for tomorrow’s workforce are virtual working, work-life balance, and data-driven workforce decisions.

Becoming a People Company requires a change in understanding how to increase productivity through a more involved workforce and amazing experiences.

There’s an opening for HR to bridge the gap and focus on fostering the behaviours that make a company a successful People Company. It starts with understanding what value technology can add to your HR strategy, and what your workforce would most value from it.

How to become a People Company

As you progress, you can adopt more People Company characteristics, including:

  • Having an insight-driven strategy and clear goals before choosing your technology.
  • Knowing what drives and motivates your people.
  • Listening to employees and acting on their feedback.
  • Doing away with transactional HR processes, like performance reviews and annual surveys.
  • Adopting technology for on-demand access, HR task automation, self-service, integrated recruitment, and onboarding processes.
  • Using data insights and People Science to inform people decisions and taking them as seriously as operational or financial decisions.

Attract the right people by enhancing your employer brand through people marketing and impressive candidate experiences. Help your people to reach their potential through ongoing communication and constructive feedback. Understand what motivates them and use that insight to deliver great workforce experiences.

We’ve entered a new world of people management. Businesses need to alter how they engage, acquire, manage, and develop their employees and increase workforce visibility and HR productivity.


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