Inspiring Business Podcast

Employer of Choice Framework - Replacing HR as the champion of performance management

October 17, 2022 Season 2 Episode 4
Inspiring Business Podcast
Employer of Choice Framework - Replacing HR as the champion of performance management
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this episode of the Lazy Entrepreneur, we walk through a very different approach to managing people and reclaiming human resource management to its rightful place. The Manager of people.

HR Compliance, Workplace Gender Equality Agency, Occupational Health and Safety, Personnel Management, and other HR services all fit inside the HR Department.

The accountability for organising and managing people and their performance, in my opinion, needs to sit within the team and NOT HR.

Performance Management, the great resignation, or even the big resignation as it is now being called, has put an enormous amount of pressure on all types of businesses to recruit and retain employees.

So doing things the same as everyone else is just not going to cut it.

I'm introducing the concept of the Accountability and Behaviour Solution.
It's made up of 3 components.

  • Collective Accountability and Behaviour, 
  • the Supervisor Support Solution, and 
  • Individual Agreements.

We define the reason the business has succeeded that helps us to explain the Collective Accountability and Behaviour

We find agreement that supports behaviour that enables the continued success.

And the key one simple shift in the definition of a supervisor's KPI to a specific behaviour of mentorship and replacing themselves over time.

This approach feels counter intuitive, but in fact, it's how successful businesses have created psychological safety to become an employer of choice.

Stephen Sandor CEO Inspiring Business
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Steve Sandor:

One area that is being given a lot of attention, especially in the corporate world, is psychological safety. And I was at a HR conference a while back and everybody was pondering how to get the corporation or corporations to put programs to improve the measurement. Of an organization's psychological safety and my solution is very simple. Um, you can overcomplicate it with measurements and you know, psycho metrics and a whole bunch of studies. My solution is very simple. Have every supervisor and manager in the whole organization, including the managing director, mentor at least two people to replace them over the next three years. Welcome to the Inspiring Business Podcast where we hope to inspire you, the business owner, and provide you with information, knowledge, tools that will help you create a business that is scalable and ultimately independent of your daily involvement. My name's Steve Sandor or your host today, and welcome to the fourth episode of the Lazy Entrepreneur Series where I walk you through the scale to success solution the very process that I use with my clients. If I could find and keep good staff, my problems would go away. This often comes up when I speak with business owners, but there's also the other side of the coin where the staff are saying, If I could just find a great company to work for. And it's a common problem in business because guess what? Businesses are made up of people. What we're going to cover in this week's episode is to dig deeper into the scale to success solution and look at the processes around people management and what I refer to as an employer of choice framework. Most small business owners roll their eyes when HR is mentioned, or think of it as a compliance box that they have to tick. And HR has become complex, particularly with discrimination and occupational health and safety laws and regulations, and absolutely need to be addressed because if you get it wrong, the consequences could destroy you and your business. We cover this off in the scale to success solution in terms of making sure that you have policies and procedures in place. However, we are not a HR consultancy. And so we don't give HR technical advice. We leave that to the expert in HR compliance and law. My experience is that when the traditional and institutionalized people management approach. That is used by big business is attempted to be used by small and medium businesses, that it just doesn't apply. So my approach is business needs the HR compliance policies, but when it comes to people management and development, I take a far more pragmatic approach. I've developed a three step process that I call the Accountability and Behavior Solution. It reframes the HR conversation and brings people and purpose together to make it more relevant for a small or medium business owner and their team. So rather than talking about human resources, we talk about a collective accountability and behavior, a supervisory support solution. And this is underpinned by individual agreements. The alternative is that you can spend thousands of dollars and hours putting together complex performance management programs and policies that no one reads or ever uses. By using the accountability and behavior solution, everyone in your organization will have a clear understanding of the business's focus, what's expected of them, and how they contribute to the collective outcome. We create personal development programs to support their performance, and most importantly, a communication tool to enable difficult behavioral conversations to be and this is the first step in creating a culture of employer of choice. We start with the collective accountability and behavior. This is defined by how you want to be known and seen internally and externally, and it guides behavior. Simon Sinek wrote, Start With Why And The Infinite Game By and largely Looking at Purpose. A another thought leader in this space is Avalon Clark of Journey Point and she speaks about your clients will flock to you when you, when your purpose is clear. And I spoke with Avalon in episode 55. If you've not simon Cynic's books, I encourage you to do so and visit Avalon's My approach is similar, but slightly different because the businesses I work with are generally successful and purpose is well established, but possibly not broadly communicated. I'm there to help organize the business. So the owner is no longer the hub of the business. Their job is to be one of the spokes, but their main job is at another wheel, and that's the steering wheel. The business typically started with the owner wanting to do things better, using their natural skills and experimenting, and we spoke of that last week. And we spoke of that last week about being experientially aware. The owner's approach. Found its way to the costume. Who liked what they saw, valued it and bought into the story. What I like to do is find out what these basic principles are, and then these become at least the starting point for defining the collective accountability and behavior. It's not a tagline or in a logo. It's a genuine belief that these behaviors are at the core of the organization. Let me give you a couple of examples from businesses that I've worked with. Quick to respond, easy to deal with, problem solve, simplicity, approachability, reliable. Innovative, focused on value delivering quality, and one more experienced, creative and caring. So these are not mission or vision statements. There's no mention of profit or growing. It's the reason the business is a success. They are usually three or four things that you and your business are known for. It's what's made you successful. And if I was to ask your customers what they thought of you, I would expect at least two of your collective accountability and behaviors would be in their answer. And as a guide to the business owner, when we roll out the scale to success solution, every decision that we implement. Must be there to support your collective accountability and behaviors. So as you can tell, this is not a typical approach to HR management. What it does do is it sets a context in which you can build a culture that everyone understands, even if they don't buy in straight away. So your homework is to think about what these might be for you, and if you need some inspiration around this, reach out to me and I'd be very happy to help. The next change in the narrative is that we want to reframe how managers and supervisors are seen by their team, and I'm calling this the supervisor support solution. This applies to anyone who has people in their charge. And I use the word charge deliberately. I think we've shied away from this because it has some negative connotations of being controlling, but that's what it is. It's you need to be in control, and there has definitely been an abuse of the title and instead of dealing with poor performing managers, What we've done is we've assumed that because of their title, they're right. And as Sinek mentions, many times in the 1980s there was a supported behavior of greed's Good and the bottom line was the only collective accountability and behavior that counted. And this gave rise to supervisors abusing their privilege. Just because they had the title, they could bully and cajole their staff. I think we've come a fair way in our thinking, but I don't believe our management approach has kept pace. Now, Simon Sinek talks or uses the example of, uh, the military to demonstrate what is possible. One of my favorite podcasts is Dave Stachowiak, Coaching for Leaders, Dave says, Leaders aren't born, they're made. And I think that's a really important distinction. And I would take it a little further and say that Leading is not managing. My son is in his first year studying to be a helicopter pilot in the Australian army, and he's been groomed as a leader. He's being educated to fly. He's been trained in operational strategies and he's been mentored to lead and no doubt when he's commissioned, he'll have an experienced warrant officer 20 years his senior. To coach and mentor him so he has a successful career. That's a massive investment by the military and our taxpayer dollars in not one individual, but hundreds that go through the elite military machine each year. And you'll be happy to know, cuz I lived it, that the military has a ridiculously difficult selection program that only the best of the best are selected. And if you were following that person into battle, you'd want to know that they were the best and given every opportunity to be the best leader possible. Ironically, the more I got involved in HR and the back end of it, the more I came to the conclusion that it was a part of the problem, not the solution. And that's why I've taken the approach that I have to focus on the supervisor's behavior. Not the staff. So how do we approach this? It's pretty simple, really not easy, but simple. Again, it's a different approach and it changes the context of how a supervisor provides guidance to their charge. And I put two things at the core of supervisor support solution. Yes, only two. The supervisor makes sure that their charge have the skills they need to do their job, and the supervisor makes sure their charge have the time to deliver the work they need to deliver. It's no more complicated than that. So the measurement of success is how well the team is being trained and operationally supported, and we'll do more of this next week as this is the key to capability and capacity. Now, the challenge with this approach, and I'll admit that this will be the most difficult thing to implement because it is the most valuable. It's a completely different approach to how a normal business is run. Well, when I say normal, I mean a larger corporate style business. This is the approach that I used when I was in PNG, and I'll talk a little bit later about those successes. But if we go back to last week's episode, if this is a goal that we feel is important, it's something that can't be rushed. So it's absolutely in the not urgent quadrant. So that's important, but not urgent. Top left hand corner. And it also needs to be under the inquisitive and informed, so if you recall back in last week's episode, we talked about if you hadn't yet experienced, so your experiential awareness is low in this area, that you need to be inquisitive and informed. You need to go about being educated. Cause if you try and change this straight away, it won't work. And the reason is the mechanisms for delivery have yet to be set. So you'd step back and start with education of the supervisors in soft skills, and you might need to bring in a subject matter expert to support you and the supervisors through this process. And this is something that I offer my clients as we build out the capability and capacity processes. So again, if you'd like some help in this area, just jump on our website and book a call and I'd be happy to help. One area that is being given a lot of attention, especially in the corporate world, is psychological safety. And I was at a HR conference a while back and everybody was pondering how to get the corporation or corporations to put programs to improve the measurement. Of an organization's psychological safety and my solution is very simple. Um, you can overcomplicate it with measurements and you know, psycho metrics and a whole bunch of studies. My solution is very simple. Have every supervisor and manager in the whole organization, including the managing director, mentor at least two people to replace them over the next three years. This does two things. First, it builds capacity because now you have three people in an organization who have the skills to do one job. Or at least knows what needs to be done, and most likely, they would've deputized for that role whilst the incumbent was away. The second and more important thing that it does is it builds trust within the organization. If you are being asked to train your successor, it means that you feel safe, that the organization will support you. No matter what, and if you're listening to this and your answer is that there would be no way that you would do that. You fear that the company would somehow find a way to take advantage of you or the situation, well then I'd suggest that you're not in a psychologically safe place. That brings us to the third step in creating an employer of choice framework, and it's called the individual agreement. And the concept is that everyone in the organization, including the owner, has an individual agreement with each other. Let me explain. This is one document that everyone in the organization, signs it's a detailed wording that underpins the behavior of the organization. It's the mantra, the manifest, or even the commandments of expected behavior. And more importantly, by implication what's unacceptable. Now, Greg Smith from Send Handwritten gave me this inspiration for this idea because he ran something similar for Outward Bound style camps for young people, and he's adopted this very process in his organization, so thank you very much, Greg, for the inspiration. The beauty of this is when someone doesn't behave in accordance with the individual agreement, then the conversation is directed at the behavior and not the person. This means that anyone and everyone has the right to expect that everyone behaves in accordance with the individual agreement. If you wanna hear more about Greg and his philosophies, go to episode 24, but what if someone doesn't agree or doesn't wanna sign? Then they can explain what it is that's in the agreement that they object to and put forward a case for for its removal. If they can't, then they have the choice of signing and abiding or not joining. It's self select. Now I'm sure there's gonna be a whole bunch of HR people say that you can't force people into making these types of agreements. We're not forcing anybody into do anything. You've agreed to work with an organization. You understand the cultures, you believe in the way that the organization is being run, and so therefore, voluntarily you fit the culture of the organization. Now, obviously you can't put things into the individual agreement that is against the law or unconscionable, and I would suggest that the very first attempt at defining these is a collective discussion amongst everyone and that you get agreement. And you may also want to revisit this every few years to make sure the points are still relevant and agreed by everybody. This takes time and intention, and I'm not naive to think that large corporations will rush at this, but smaller organizations, they don't have these constraints. The majority are private and family runs, so it fits neatly into that type of model. Now the final question is, what do you do with the job descriptions that you have now, assuming you have job descriptions, and if you don't, I would suggest that you put those in place as. They still need to be in places. They are relevant to the job. The accountability and behavior solution wraps itself around HR policies and processes so that there is a culture of open and honest conversations. I'd say that they would replace performance management program. I don't like calling them performance management programs. It sort of implies that you're not performing. And in fact, a, you know, a lot of people say that performance management programs are a euphemism for saying it's one step away from the front door. In episode three, I spoke with Theo Varaktaris from the Usher group, and he mentioned that, and now I'm paraphrasing that they had HR or they have HR policies, but it wasn't how they managed their culture and their people, and so therefore they had very few HR issues. So there's an example of an organization that has, because of the leaders' leadership, and beliefs has put in place a culture that does not rely on HR policy to manage culture. So it is possible. Now, you can imagine a time where your staff come to work, love what they do, feels safe and valued. It's impossible for that not to have a positive impact on how your customers and suppliers feel and are engaged with you. And the profits flow as a result, and you'll be known as an employer of choice. When I first went to PNG and sat with the old hands at the yacht club, The ones that had been there for 30 years and they asked me what I was doing. I told them that I'd been brought into change the business culture to one of accountability. Well, they laughed and made comments like another wet behind the years, do gooder, you'll never change them. Was the ignorant and somewhat patronizing response. Well, 10 years later and a lot of hard work and caring, it was done. Many times over. And if I went back to that same place now, the same people would be sitting in the same chairs telling the same BS stories with the same small minded attitude. It is possible, so don't miss the train and be five or 10 years down the track with your competitors stealing your good people and your customers because they became an employer of choice and you didn't contact me for a complimentary exploration call. I can't help everybody and I don't have all the answers, but I do have some and I might just be able to help you. The Scale Two Success Solution is a simple application of systems and processes and development of your people to be able to do the things that they have been I employed to do so you can continue to do the things that you love and be with the ones that you love. I'm on a mission to change the way that business advice is given and my vision is to bring joy to running a business. As always, I appreciate you for listening and I hope the information I shared with you here today is useful and that adds value to your business and that you are inspired and energized to make a difference in your and others' lives.

If only I could find good people
How to become an employer of choice
Accountability and Behavior Solution
Collective Accountability and Behaviour
Supervisor Support Solution
Creating a safe place
Individual Agreements