PCM for the workplace
We spoke about the #PCMhierarchy in a previous article and I seek to discuss its impact at the workplace with relation to development of talent through exploration of the boundaries of EEPP.
The promise of an employee is the promise of talent. Recently, I was confronted by a CEO who argued that they need to hire whoever was available due to a shrinking talent market. This is a partial truth when we aren’t paying the right price or hunting at the right places. It is like digging sand and hunting for soil. The soil is deep down, hidden from our patience and ability to exchange time for talent. We seem willing to spend time and energy training the misfit but not spend the same energy on hiring right!
The effect of PCM on PeopleScalers i.e., leadership, increases by folds. Aligning the team to gain ground in the marketplace remains the foremost task; but how does one achieve it?
Limit your triggers: Our exchanges need to be limited to meaningful triggers. Nondescript triggers at times not only make us lose character, it spoils time, which is limited in nature and the foremost lesson for PCM.
Falsified by experience: Compared to known notions, experiences are what we believe them to be. What was a fearful experience can also be a learning experience, if we seek to see it that way. Advisors are often people who have survived doing nothing great, but simply focused on surviving it through.
Preferences can be deceitful: What we prefer often is to see what is attractive or the visible cause of distraction. What lies beneath can be the apparent cause and preferring a particular response is an act of self-deceit.
Prioritise time: We prioritise things over time, and that leads into limiting the scope of action. Certain actions take longer time, like reinforcing the right values in people. If we are willing to allocate time, we are willing to prioritise time for inculcating the right action by allocating hours for reinforced adaptations.
Weall should be aware of the limits of time. This should help us determine what is important to achieve and thus spend time to develop knowledge and intellect to have a command over events. Not everyone is aware of everything; the notion of a CEO who knows and can manage everything from the top is thus often the cause of failures.
Complexities hound us and solving them requires gathering information and spending time to solve it. The sudden argument to describe a solution in 5 minutes or 5 sentences is the pretense of limiting the scope of PCM. Should we be solving the process for the short term or addressing it as a forever solution? What is the effect of its recurrence? We have done the same with COVID. We let the virus survive while we vaccinated ourselves. This is the same virus which modified itself over a decade to emerge stronger and scare us to a halt!
Human knowledge begins with genetic memory; that we need to extract food to grow is never taught to an embryo. Once the baby is out smiling, it is genetically aware of the potential of its mouth for survival. The next level is social knowledge where we are taught language and rituals. Knowledge is gained as we escalate from schools to colleges. Intellect is what we gather to solve complexity as it is rarely taught but mostly prescribed. People with intellect about the human body are called doctors. What about people with intellect about humans? There is no such designation or field developed about it yet. The ones who know about the brain are psychologists while the ones who know about the skeletal system are orthopaedicians. Human Resources never checks for the level of knowledge about human behaviour and in my personal experience, CHROs, who are meant to manage the people function lie at the social level of information about people skills. TA specialists lack knowledge about people and accredited schools of HR do not cover them in the syllabus. How can we then expect business leaders to know about people skills?
Let me cite a process here; the fact that any hire requires reinforced learning is often discounted for short term growth objectives of the organisation. The expectation that a single session of induction will make the employee start practicing the values and behavior expected right from Day One or even Day 30 is a tall ask, as the process complexity of adapting values requires reinforced adaptation, and organisations claim to practice VMV principles but never assess for them during the point of hiring. Successful organisations do, and that is why they are in the top Fortune lists. Understanding what the employee considers as their preferential set of priorities, what preferences they bring along and how much information can an individual process within a time span is critical to organisational success as an entity. This lies waste the effort done for the first time as it is almost a loss of time and costs without reinforced adaptation over time.
An organisation can be seen as a cluster of processes under varied knowledge pivots. While they are linked to each other like an engine which drives the overall vehicle forward, the level of complexity required to master each process is left to the limits of knowledge of the supervising manager, while the manager is to man not only the process, but the people within it! As I keep speaking about #peoplescaling as an alternate to Leadership, the PCM framework highlights how teams must be scaled in their knowledge and intellect to manage complexities by adhering to the 4 boundaries of EEPP.
Couple of months back, I was approached by one of the Big 4 to help them develop an Employee Lifecycle Survey engine. The focus seemed on reducing costs of engaging an international brand while having access to all related data in one go. What is confounding here is that the HR Director had limited knowledge of technical aspects of running Surveys, while most of them are run on web platforms nowadays. Add to it that the score needed to account for differences in qualifications, experience and technical knowhow of the individual employee, thus the requirement of a larger exploration of the employee dataset, turning into almost into an HRMS function. I was as usual, not awarded the contract as I was not offering the ‘5 minutes’ solution by seeking a deeper intervention! And we complain about talent being inadequate when people leaders themselves are at loss of understanding the purpose and benefits of their adventures.
The fact that technical knowhow, including HR analytics is now core to HR functions as a process complexity is widely disregarded. Banks ignored the threat of technology as they misunderstood their role as managers of money instead of managers of transactions. Fintech was the result and we are also aware of cryptocurrencies and their demand today. As people managers, we may ignore at our own peril.
An HR Head once approached us with the need for an engagement survey; when asked why she wanted to run an engagement survey, she seemed utterly surprised as if we did not understand engagement. ‘We do engagement surveys to measure engagement’ was the sharp response. But the question still remains; what do you want to measure and consider lacking in your employees? Answer this question and your engagement survey can be customised to focus on what underlies the cause for disengagement. Running a standard engagement survey satisfies the preference but not the priority.
Understanding and applying the PCM framework is meant not just for HR managers but all managers who manage people. People practices have sound benefits if practiced the right way, just like knowing to drive the car at an optimum speed for the highest efficiency. But maintaining the car at the highest efficiency also means checking the tire pressure and oiling the engines at regular intervals as prescribed by the car doctors! Looking forward while driving also includes looking at the rearview mirror.