Como no tirar el dinero cuando inviertes en Felicidad Laboral

En los últimos meses, y por motivos profesionales, me he visto en la tarea de estudiar con detalle la mayor parte de la oferta actual de productos y servicios encaminados a propiciar felicidad laboral. También he tenido la oportunidad de hablar con más de 70 colegas de profesión que, como directores de RRHH, son los responsables de implementar dichas iniciativas de bienestar, ellos me han comentado como lo están haciendo, cuáles son los resultados percibidos y los problemas con los que se encuentran.

No hay texto alternativo para esta imagen

Como si de una enfermedad congénita se tratara, sabemos que la tendencia natural de una organización es dejarse arrastrar por la inercia del pasado. Por eso son tan difíciles los procesos de transformación que las empresas realizan para sobrevivir. No utilizo el verbo “sobrevivir” de una forma exagerada, los requisitos para competir en la Era Digital están convirtiéndose en una “teoría de la evolución” tan inexorable y estricta como la Darwiniana, esto es, o adaptación al medio o extinción.

Entre los muchos aspectos que una organización debe cambiar, si quiere continuar existiendo en el medio plazo, destacan aquellos que tienen que ver con un nuevo modelo de relación con los empleados. El cliente ya ha reinado demasiado tiempo en el centro del modelo de negocio, y parece que llega el momento en el que el empleado asuma el trono, y con él todo el protagonismo y la atención de la corte.

La fórmula es: “Crear organizaciones centradas en el empleado para conseguir empleados realmente comprometidos en cuidar de la continuidad del negocio”. Es decir, una ventaja competitiva prácticamente imposible de imitar y algo que algunos estudios de HR Analytics, como el que realizó la Consultora Gallup en 2016, demuestran que tiene relación directa con los mejores resultados.

No hay texto alternativo para esta imagen

Pero no es objeto de este artículo convencer o justificar el porqué de un nuevo paradigma en los RRHH, ya hay mucho escrito sobre ello, y si has seguido leyendo hasta aquí, es que ambos pensamos que los actuales modelos de gestión de personas no sostendrán por mucho más tiempo las crecientes necesidades de eficiencia y productividad de las organizaciones en el actual entorno. Tampoco voy a hablar de los motivos por los que existe miedo a invertir en felicidad laboral ya que de ello ya hablé aquí, (algo que te recomiendo leer si te interesa el tema).

De lo que si trata este artículo es de cómo las empresas empiezan a abordar esta nueva forma de gestión de personas a través de una corriente que potencia las políticas de engagement, algo que de una forma genérica llamaré “inversión en felicidad laboral”, incluyendo dentro de este concepto cualquier tipo de estrategia que persiga mejorar, en calidad o cantidad, la contribución del empleado a la organización, mediante la puesta en marcha, por parte de las empresas, de acciones que proporcionen felicidad al empleado ya sea a nivel personal o profesional.

Iniciativas relacionadas con la felicidad laboral hay muchas, la flexibilidad horaria, nuevos métodos de recompensa, el desarrollo de habilidades, programas de realización personal, actividades deportivas, nuevos métodos de reconocimiento, los beneficios sociales, club de empleados, mejoras en las oficinas o el puesto de trabajo, los recursos, proyectos de bienestar y cultura corporativa… son sólo algunos de los ejemplos que vemos diariamente implementarse.

Todos estos servicios pretenden ser el factor clave en la generación de motivación y compromiso así como el vehículo para obtener una mejor productividad. A su vez se empieza a retomar con fuerza estrategias, como el Employer Branding, encaminadas a crear, mejorar y vender nuestra reputación como empleadores.

No hay texto alternativo para esta imagen

Como casi todos los comienzos, los primeros pasos son siempre un poco caóticos. Y esa podría ser la palabra que resumiría la forma en la que, a mi juicio, se están implementando las iniciativas en materia de felicidad laboral. Estas son algunas de mis conclusiones fruto de los datos recopilados:

  • En términos generales, y salvo muy contadas excepciones, no existe una estrategia elaborada detrás de las inversiones en felicidad laboral. Muchas empresas implementan iniciativas tras una reflexión genérica con la que intentan no quedarse demasiado atrás en términos de bienestar del empleado.
  • La función de RRHH sigue sin tener una gran amistad con el cálculo estadístico necesario para establecer una correlación causa-efecto entre las inversiones en políticas de felicidad y los resultados operativos.
  • Los comités de dirección tampoco solicitan un ROI de las inversiones en políticas de felicidad, porque entienden ese tipo de iniciativas como un gasto del que no se puede obtener una clara correlación con el rendimiento futuro.
  • La limitación presupuestaria es la principal dificultad para acometer inversiones en felicidad laboral por parte de la dirección de recursos humanos.
  • No existe, en la mayoría de los casos, ningún mecanismo de medición de la efectividad de las iniciativas de felicidad laboral ni de su relación con los resultados.
  • Tampoco existen objetivos cuantificables en materia de felicidad laboral que sirvan de guía hacia hitos de consecución en una hoja de ruta predefinida.
  • Muchas empresas no tienen un mapa de talento definido, y de existir no tiene implicaciones en el desarrollo de políticas de bienestar y felicidad laboral.
  • La mayor parte de las iniciativas de felicidad laboral aparecen en forma de beneficios, es decir proyectos “tangibles” para el empleado, como la flexibilidad laboral, la conciliación, mejora de espacios de trabajo, promoción de estilos de vida saludable, etc…
  • Pocas empresas acometen proyectos de Employer Branding de cierta profundidad, salvo que por ello se entienda la “venta” una reputación como empleadores a la que se aspira llegar pero sobre la que no se invierte para que ocurra.
  • El mayor incentivo para invertir en felicidad laboral está relacionado en primer lugar con la necesidad de potenciar la atracción de talento, en segundo lugar la retención del mismo.
  • Tras acometer proyectos de felicidad laboral, muchas empresas no perciben cambios significativos del compromiso, y como no miden, desconocen la repercusión real en los resultados.
  • Muchas de las soluciones implementadas terminan convirtiéndose en un “commodity” que va perdiendo fuelle motivacional con el tiempo. En el peor de los casos ha nacido un derecho adquirido, un gasto laboral fijo más.

Los siguientes aspectos no son fruto de mi estudio, he de reconocer que aunque los he observando puntualmente, provienen en gran parte de mi intuición o de mi propia experiencia, por lo que habría que ser prudente a la hora de generalizar:

  • Algunas iniciativas de felicidad laboral se eligen a consecuencia de conocer las soluciones que otras compañías han implementado anteriormente.
  • Son pocas las empresas que se atreven a inventar su propia solución de felicidad laboral a medida.
  • Algunos proyectos de felicidad laboral tardan en implementarse porque la representación legal de los trabajadores se ha anticipado en pedirlas y terminan siendo objeto del perverso juego de la negociación colectiva que todo lo paraliza.
  • Algunos CEOs y CFOs tienen dificultades para entender (en términos económicos) que compense la inversión en felicidad laboral como método de generación del engagement necesario para mejorar la productividad de forma significativa.

Como no malgastar el dinero cuando se invierte en felicidad laboral

Para empezar a andar debemos pegarnos algunos tropezones, que siempre son muy didácticos si tenemos la predisposición de aprender de ellos.

Estar inmerso en un entorno VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity y Ambiguity) significa que has de ser rápido y ágil para cambiar constantemente, pero eso no significa adoptar soluciones improvisadas o cortoplacistas, ahora más que nunca es cuando hay que pensar de forma estratégica, aunque seguramente tendrás que revisar la estratega muchas más veces que antes.

Es adecuado propiciar una reflexión sobre para qué queremos trabajar en felicidad laboral. Hacerse esta pregunta no significa prostituir una buena intención, tan solo significa que estamos dispuesto a dirigir nuestros esfuerzos hacia un objetivo elegido en vez de esperar el resultado aleatorio del mismo. Para hacer esta reflexión deberemos de detectar cuál es la dimensión del talento que necesitamos potenciar con las políticas de felicidad laboral hoy y en el futuro. En esos términos, deberemos definir cómo son los empleados actuales y cómo deberían de ser para la organización en constante cambio.

Deberemos de hacer la declaración de Propuesta de Valor del Empleado (EVP), esta es una reflexión muy importante del proceso porque pondrá de manifiesto, en términos de compromiso, cuál es el valor añadido que la organización está dispuesta ofrecer a sus empleados. Normalmente no nos referimos a algo material, pero si a situaciones que de cumplirse indudablemente podrán suponer un coste, un coste que con un proceso meticuloso de medición e implementación pretendemos convertir en una inversión.

No hay texto alternativo para esta imagen

El comité de dirección de la compañía debe salir inexcusablemente en la foto de los diseñadores de la Propuesta de Valor del Empleado, esto es así porque será necesario analizar en qué momento estratégico se encuentra la organización y cuáles son los retos y desafíos a los que se deberá someter el corto y largo plazo. Tendremos en cuenta cuales son nuestras debilidades actuales y nuestras fortalezas, para ello será fundamental que nos comparemos con la competencia.

Pero la razón más importante por la que es fundamental contar con el compromiso de la alta dirección en el diseño de la EVP es porque se trata de una definición con aspiraciones de no vuelta a atrás. El típico error es crear una propuesta llamativa y atrayente pero que sin embargo la organización no está en disposición de hacer real. Este es un grave error que debe evitarse porque las expectativas constantemente incumplidas tarde o temprano se convertirán en frustración y por ende en una peor reputación de la empresa. Es decir, en exactamente lo contrario que pretendemos conseguir.

Una EVP definida nos permitirá plasmar (por escrito) nuestra política de engagement, en la que podremos establecer cuáles son los hitos concretos por los que hay que pasar para contribuir a los objetivos estratégicos de la compañía mediante el factor “personas”. También deberemos establecer métodos de medición del “compromiso” y poder descubrir si el desarrollo de nuestras políticas de engagement están presentando o no una correlación estadística directa con los resultados operativos.

Deberás dibujar el Employee Journey Map, esto es, la representación gráfica de todas las interacciones que tiene el empleado a lo largo de su ciclo de vida con la empresa: antes de conocernos (cuando es un candidato), durante su estancia con nosotros y en la finalización (cuando ya ha dejado de ser un empleado). Detectaremos objetivos de mejora en este ciclo e implementaremos metodologías de design thinking para su transformación.

No hay texto alternativo para esta imagen

Y después de todo lo anterior es cuando llega el momento de definir los proyectos que podremos en marcha para conseguir que la EVP sea poco a poco una realidad tangible en nuestra organización. También pondremos en marcha los proyectos para vender y comunicar nuestros logros en felicidad laboral. Pero lo importante es que, es ahora cuando debemos sentirnos preparados para elegir aquellas soluciones o servicios que más se adecuan a nuestra política, por tanto a nuestra estrategia y que tras la correspondiente medición te conducirá hacia nuestros objetivos de mejora.

Sólo ahora es cuando podremos aprovechar el conocimiento de las best practices de nuestro entorno y de elegir esa solución Saas que mejora tu comunicación o bien implementar esos eventos de promoción de estilos de vida saludables, o lo que sea que pongamos en marcha. Este es el orden y no al revés, y siempre deberás medir si la implementación de una solución realmente tiene un impacto en los resultados.

No hay texto alternativo para esta imagen

Pero una cuestión muy importante es que no necesariamente lo más llamativo y tangible es lo que deberías abordar para mejorar el engagement de tus empleados, quizás lo más urgente es propiciar un cambio significativo en alguno de tus procesos de RRHH porque éstos suelen presentan verdaderas “aristas cortantes” en la experiencia del empleado. Quizás debes de trabajar en, por ejemplo, implementar un protocolo de Onboarding más empático o más eficiente, o quizás debes de modificar tus procesos de evaluación del desempeño para hacerlos más transparentes y confiables. Cualquiera de estas modificaciones tiene sin duda un mayor impacto en la generación del compromiso que poner una sala con sofás de colores, el típico futbolín en el comedor de empresa, o la moderna sala de Mindfulness.

No hay texto alternativo para esta imagen

Con esto no quiero decir que los ambientes relajados e informales que pone de moda Google no tengan su utilidad, mas allá del posible postureo (que también lo hay) existen estudios serios como los realizados por la universidad alemana de Constaza a más de 15.000 empleados, que ponen de manifiesto que un entorno “infantilizado” de este tipo propicia un mayor rendimiento. Aunque me duela reconocerlo, el futbolín tiene su utilidad. Las propuestas en felicidad laboral que tenemos en el mercado funcionan, de hecho, es un gran avance contar con tanta oferta y diversidad de compañías que ofrecen soluciones y servicios de gran valor añadido para una mejor experiencia de los empleados.

Pero lo importante es que nos demos cuenta de que cada una de estas soluciones no presenta una finalidad en sí mismas, sino que son una herramienta para conseguir el propósito de una estrategia preestablecida. Que es imprescindible ir midiendo la implementación y comprobando si ésta contribuye realmente a una mejora significativa del compromiso de los empleados. En este sentido tenemos mucho que aprender del marketing, a ningún director de marketing se le ocurriría lanzar una campaña sin la posibilidad de medir su resultado o bien darle continuidad si hay dudas de su contribución a las ventas.

No hay texto alternativo para esta imagen

Es mejor abordar primero los aspectos más nucleares en la experiencia del empleado que aquellos que son más llamativos, para éstos siempre habrá sitio cuando demostremos que nuestra política de engagement saca buena nota en la asignatura de contribuir a los resultados de la organización. Gestionar la felicidad laboral es un proceso que puede que tenga un inicio, pero no debe tener un final, está sometido a una constante revisión y mejora continua. No se trata de conseguir el compromiso TOTAL de nuestros empleados, pretenderlo quizás es una utopía, se trata de estar siempre orientados a mejorarlo.

Soy de los que piensan que la motivación y el compromiso son los verdaderos motores del éxito, no sólo en la empresa, en cualquier actividad humana. Pero son aspectos que no se pueden ni solicitar ni comprar a un empleado, debemos actuar para ser merecedores de ese regalo. Por ello al igual que el concepto “Calidad” es trabajado mediante un sistema de gestión, la mejor forma de gestionar el “Engagement” es con un sistema de gestión en toda regla, un sistema a la altura de lo que este concepto representa, el engranaje decisivo para que una organización optimice sus resultados.

No hay texto alternativo para esta imagen

Dentro del complejo mecanismo de una organización, el comportamiento humano es un factor difícil de predecir. Saber cómo potenciar la motivación y el compromiso parece ser una fórmula secreta con un encriptado acceso, Pero sin duda merecerá la pena todo nuestro esfuerzo e ingenio en gestionarlo de una forma ordenada e inteligente, porque aquellas empresas que acometen seriamente el reto de sacar partido de la motivación y el compromiso están orientadas a adquirir una ventaja inalcanzable.

Mario Mellado Moreno

Turnever.net

Miedo a invertir en Felicidad Laboral

Las empresas … son realidades intersubjetivas. Únicamente existen en nuestra imaginación colectiva, pero su poder es inmenso

Yuval Noha Noah (Sapines)

Esta definición sacada del hermoso libro de Yuval, sirve para introducir el tema de cuan diferente es el razonamiento que podemos tener a nivel individual de aquel que surge en el seno de una organización. Todo aquel que se haya dedicado a la función de RRHH en la última década ha sufrido un prejuicio (en parte merecido) de “vendedores de humo”, durante las infructuosas batallas para conseguir presupuesto en proyectos de motivación y de generación de compromiso.

A pesar de ello, a la mayoría de CEOs a los que he preguntado sobre cual creen que es el papel que representa el “compromiso” en el funcionamiento de su empresa, me han contestado que lo entienden como algo fundamental, incluso como un elemento vertebrador de los buenos resultados empresariales.

La realidad presupuestaria de los departamentos de RRHH de la mayoría de las empresas que tienen departamento de RRHH (no hay tantas), no refleja esa sensibilidad. “Simplemente no hay dinero para todo”, me contestó uno de esos CEOs, “has de llegar a una solución de compromiso entre lo que quieres hacer y lo que tienes que hacer para sobrevivir”.

No es fácil gestionar personas en la cultura de la inmediatez en la que, con mano de hierro, reina la estratega de ser competitivos en costes. Un empresario me dijo una vez, “bueno… del bienestar del trabajador ya se encarga el papa-estado que es quien pone el marco laboral, las empresas, para ser competitiva,s han de limitarse a estar al otro lado de la línea roja”. 

La felicidad laboral también ha sido históricamente objeto de multitud de prejuicios ideológicos, resulta imposible abordar seriamente el tema de una mejora de la experiencia del empleado sin que a más de uno se le despierte un tufillo a lucha de clases, o vea en ello una derrota en su inquebrantable empeño de mantener el pulso a las reivindicaciones laborales. Esto es algo que por muy “casposo” que nos pueda parecer hoy en día, aún sigue influenciando a la vieja guardia de managers y sindicalistas. Nuestra anacrónica ley laboral no contribuye demasiado a que este tipo de pueriles confrontaciones se queden enterradas para siempre en los libros de historia.

No hay texto alternativo para esta imagen

Pero no siempre hay una pobre de cultura detrás del miedo a invertir en felicidad laboral, muchos CFOs se resisten a potenciar políticas de gestión del compromiso porque realmente les cuesta ver una relación causal fuerte entre este tipo de inversiones y los resultados de negocio. Ante esta dificultad, los experimentos sobre bienestar laboral propuestos por recursos humanos parecen, a todas luces, un coste totalmente susceptible de ser postergado para más adelante. El problema es que en el entorno VUCA el largo plazo ha muerto.

en el entorno VUCA el largo plazo ha muerto

Yo me exfuerzo por comprender este miedo. A nadie se le escapa que el ser humano es algo terriblemente complejo, y no parece que haya enormes garantías de que la inversión en políticas de felicidad tenga un retorno en el corto plazo. Ante esto, el resto de las prioridades del negocio lo arrastran todo. En primera instancia, todos estamos de acuerdo en que generar un ambiente de motivación y fuerte sentimiento de pertenencia representa una brutal ventaja competitiva, una mayor productividad y en consecuencia beneficios empresariales. 

Pero en la práctica, el sentido común se desvanece oculto tras una gran nube dudas. Cuando no son prejuicios ideológicos, resurgen antiguos estilos de gestión basados supersticiones y estereotipos manidos: “… sólo con mano dura se consiguen los resultados”, “este buen rollismo que está ahora tan de moda sólo es para empresas como Google”, o “…en una empresa normal esta debilidad solo conduce a la ruina…”. “!Con mi dinero no!” decía mi primer jefe. “¡Por la caridad entra la peste!”, decía el segundo. Afortunadamente he tenido más jefes.

El 95% de las empresas españolas (1,3 millones de PYMES) aglutian 8.6 millones de trabajadores, más del 50% del total (sin contar autónomos). La mayor parte de estas empresas probablemente moriran sin conocer ninguna política de felicidad laboral. Cuando excepcionalmente se invierte en políticas de compromiso, la apuesta suele ser tan tímida que el resultado aparece carente de significancia. Es entonces cuando la inversión se transforma en un gasto inservible y se retroalimenta el temor a este tipo de iniciativas.

Mientras tanto la realidad es que el estrés, la ansiedad o la depresión atormentan a muchos trabajadores que distan mucho de sentirse felices y satisfechos en su trabajo. Se estima que el 70 % de los empleados no sienten conexión, no están satisfechos ni son productivos.

No hay texto alternativo para esta imagen

¿Por qué ocurre esto? ¿En qué lugar una fuerte convicción compartida por todos se desmorona?

El problema está en que una empresa, esa realidad intersubjetiva de la que habla Youval, tiene su propio mecanismo de razonamiento que trasciende a la reflexión individual. Son varios los factores que influyen en la percepción de la realidad por parte de ese “constructo pensante” que reside una organización:

  • Para una empresa algo es mucho más real si se prevé su ocurrencia en el corto plazo.
  • Para una empresa, la correlación causa-efecto es más real si es directa, pero si es indirecta… ya se empieza a dudar seriamente su existencia.
  • Para una empresa algo es más real si otras empresas lo hacen y menos real si nadie lo ha hecho antes.
  • No caben suposiciones ni sentido común, solo el ROI es lo que determina la viabilidad de una inversión.
  • En una empresa la forma en la que se han hecho las cosas en el pasado es más real y hacer las cosas de forma distinta en el futuro representa una realidad poco probable.
  • En una empresa si algo parece difícil se desdibuja como realidad porque implica un muy probable gasto difícil de predecir.

Y para una empresa el factor humano siempre ha sido algo difícil de predecir, a veces tan difícil como determinar donde acabará una molécula de oxígeno en el interior de un huracán.

No hay texto alternativo para esta imagen

Entramos en una década que seguramente los futuros historiadores definirán como el inicio de la 3ª Revolución Industrial. Son tiempos de profunda incertidumbre donde progresivamente la tecnología amenaza con un imprevisible cambio en las leyes que regulan el funcionamiento de los mercados, entre ellos el mercado laboral.

Una de las disciplinas que, de manera silenciosa, más están contribuyendo a la pérdida del miedo a la inversión en políticas de felicidad laboral es People Analytics. La ciencia está empezando a entrar, y por la puerta grande, en el mundo de la gestión empresarial. Big Data, y más en concreto HR Analytics, representan cada vez más un aliado potente para respaldar cualquier inversión en felicidad laboral. El análisis estadístico de miles de datos que correlacionan las inversiones en felicidad laboral con el buen desempeño y los excelentes resultados, demuestra una correlación causal real entre ambos factores. Poco a poco, ésto está permitiendo a los directores de RRHH llevar a sus reuniones con el comité de dirección un ROI que respalde sus iniciativas. El santo grial de cualquier vendedor de humo.

Podemos ver tendencias que vislumbran el nacimiento de una nueva forma de entender la relación con el empleado. Los conceptos “Experiencia del empleado”, “felicidad laboral” y “Employer Branding” para nada son nuevos, pero están adquiriendo hoy en día cada vez más importancia. 

Tambien vemos como existe un fuerte desequilibro entre la demanda de ciertos nuevos profesionales tecnológicos y lo que la parsimoniosa y anticuada estructura de enseñanza es capaz de abastecer. ¿Estriamos hablando de felicidad laboral sin que existiera un mercado laboral deficitario? Seguramente no.

Da que pensar. Que el interés de una empresa por el bienestar de sus empleados esté siempre prostituido por la consecución de resultados parece lógico, pero… aunque no vaya a dejar de ser cierto, tampoco creo que sea la forma correcta de enfocar este tema.

En mi opinión hay motivos más importantes en la priorización de las políticas de bienestar laboral y esos motivos ya existían mucho antes de que el mercado laboral nos escupiera la necesidad de retener y atraer talento. Han existido siempre.

Si queréis, olvidemos que el empleado es el principal activo de una organización y que la forma en la que nos relacionamos con él también da sentido ético nuestra existencia como organización, centrémonos en algo más pragmático, centrémonos sólo en el hecho de que la felicidad laboral, la motivación y el compromiso, más allá de palabras huecas o sin sentido, son el único combustible para el éxito. 

Mientras una organización empresarial dependa del factor humano para conseguir su misión, deberá de retribuir al empleado con algo más que dinero si quiere tener acceso a tan sólo a un poquito de lo mejor de su talento (que es aquello con lo que se construyen catedrales).

No hay texto alternativo para esta imagen

Quizás debamos dejar que el ciclo natural siga su curso, esperar a que una generación de empresas fallezca y nazca la nueva. Ten por seguro que mirar por el bienestar, la motivación y el compromiso de los empleados va a convertirse en la razón de ser de la empresa antes de que entre el siglo XXII. El cliente ya ha estado en el centro del modelo de negocio durante demasiado tiempo. Tras la transformación digital, las empresas que aún se mantengan en pie, se convertirán en “organizaciones centradas en el empleado“. Empresas que habrán superado con éxito un profundo cambio cultural que va “de dentro hacia afuera”. Y todo eso tiene mucho que ver con la excelencia en los resultados porque, como decía Richard Branson “si cuidas de tus empleados, ellos cuidarán a tus clientes”

Algunas empresas visionarias ya están en el siglo XXII y estas empresas llevarán una enorme ventaja al resto. Porque en la carrera por el talento no existen atajos.

Detect informal leaders through the Analysis of Collaborative Networks. Or how to Manage Change with the rigor of data analysis

Wikipedia’s definition of leadership is inaccurate when I think of my neighbor Juana. She is an older woman, without many studies, a struggling housewife who has always worked cleaning houses. Juana is an affable person who dedicates time to you when you cross her, and who helps you without expecting anything in return. Juana does not quite fit the standards of managerial skill. However… Juana, my neighbor, is a born leader. And it’s not just me, it’s said by hundreds of neighbors with dogs that who appreciate her influence and pull in the commendable fight we had with the city council for the change of municipal ordinance of tenure and animal protection.

We’ve all met an informal leader once. He is a person who possesses certain characteristics that give him the ability to influence other people. Someone who communicates by connecting in a deep way and for some reason leaves you with greater ability to get where you wanted to go. In addition, they are people who are not recognized by the formal power structure, nor do they receive any extra compensation or benefit for such influential work.

Juana lives outside of this, but you, reader, know that we live in an especially difficult time for organizations. No one has prepared us for so many changes or for the speed at which it is necessary to manage them. In addition, it is difficult to approach a change knowing that we drag a collective history of constant failures when managing them (nearly 70% failure rate). It is clear that our problems have changed and the solutions we used before to solve them are no longer useful to us now.

No hay texto alternativo para esta imagen

our problems in managing change have also changed, and the solutions we used before are no longer working.

Now the changes are so profound that we usually call them “transformations” and the environment is so complex and volatile that the rigidity of our organizational structures can cost us survival. We need to adapt to each situation and business moment in an agile way, maintaining something we cannot renounce, while our economic system remains what it is, high productivity and efficiency.

Ultimately we need to change form as quickly as a liquid does for a coil. That’s why many digital businesses, already born in this environment, have structured themselves as “liquid organizations“. Flatter structures, organized by projects in which professional profiles from different disciplines collaborate, and team leaders, who change according to the project, are chosen for their specific competencies for each case.

People need to make sense of change before they change, so it is essential to start our work with good communication. In a traditional organizational change process, it is common to see how corporate information bounces off the formal leaders who issue it. Messages that do not cause too much repercussion to the bulk of our staff, at most arouse fear and distrust.

The corporate message has a poor reach, its impact is small, it is very unattractive to the employee and worst of all… it has little credibility.

Data, data and data.

Data, data and data. Researchers, who handle the data, have spent years studying and detecting that people within an organisation are recurrently sought for informal advice. Statistical analysis of this information has revealed that there is a minimum number of employees with whom as much of the organisation as possible can be influenced (“key influencers“)..

No hay texto alternativo para esta imagen

The data showed that if you can identify the 3% most influential people, you can influence 85% of other employees. This is the so-called 3% rule (by Richar Santos Lalleman, you can read it here)

3% of the most influential people, you can influence 85% of the other employees.

No hay texto alternativo para esta imagen

Therefore, if you want to be successful, there are 3% of employees who should inevitably actively participate in the change strategy.

But… How can we detect which are the “key influencers“? How can we rigorously detect (for intuition there will always be time) which are the informal leaders of our organization? How can we identify which are the best ambassadors of change?

 Collaborative Networks

The company is an environment in which the collaboration between people acquires a determining character for the successful functioning of the organization. The organization chart of a company is nothing more than a vague attempt to direct the occurrence of interactions between people. Behind this necessary formalism, there is a complex structure of information flows between individuals that determines the tangled nervous system we call Collaborative Network.

No hay texto alternativo para esta imagen

From social psychology many efforts have been directed to study this type of interactions, and to promote the efficiency of the collaboration between people. But only People Analytics gives us access to coherent techniques for analyzing collaborative networks, with the aim of improving them or identifying key people in the organization.

As always the process starts by asking the right questions and ends by putting data on those questions. But before being able to ask any question it is necessary to first understand that it is a collaborative network and differentiate it from other virtual networks that exist in the company.

It is also necessary to find a series of measurable parameters (patterns of collaboration) that are useful to us to define the network, some could be these:

  • Sizes
  • Strength
  • Range
  • Centrality
  • Density

And finally we must be able to draw the collaborative network of our organization (or department, or area of the company to be studied), that is, obtain data on “who interacts with whom”, within the network, to finally use certain tools that facilitate us to map such data and visually represent the network.

By way of example, let us imagine a very simple collaborative network such as the one I represent below:

No hay texto alternativo para esta imagen

Of all the things we can question about a collaborative network like this, there are two questions that seem nuclear, the first would be how do the patterns of collaboration within our network vary? And for the sake of simplicity, let’s look at the variation of just one relationship pattern: the size of the network.

We can analyze how network size varies over time, but it is also very useful to see the differences for each of the different employees. The latter can be represented in a table, counting for each node of the network the number of information searches (arrows that go out) and the number of information requests (arrows that go in). We represent all this in a table like the following one:

No hay texto alternativo para esta imagen

This table will not give us the answer we want, but it will awaken our imagination to very interesting questions. For example, Tony is an employee who receives many requests for information, why does this happen? Possibly one of the informal leaders we are looking for. At the other extreme Susan, she demands too much information from others and too few people use her – is there any explanation? Susan may not be an example of an informal leader in our organization.

Detecting informal leaders with this methodology is one of its benefits, but this type of analysis provides valuable information when making important decisions in terms of people management. For example, it has a powerful utility in the analysis of performance evaluation, in promotion processes, in how to efficiently manage training or mentoring programs. If we try to discover a causal relationship between these data and performance indicators, a range of data opens up that gives us tremendously useful information on how the parameters of our collaborative network affect individual performance or any other indicator that measures the performance of our organization.

Depending on the type of network parameter and the type of result you measure, this analysis also has strong applications in processes such as the correct determination of roles and responsibilities, in remuneration. It is also useful for the management of internal rotation and professional development since you can position your employees in nodes that allow them to grow their collaboration network. Talent retention also benefits from this analysis because detecting people with a high number of requests for information can have a relationship with finding people who are really “exhausted”, on whom you could act before it is too late.

The identification of the Informal leaders of an organization is a key part of any transforming process. There are different tools to efficiently represent a network to proceed to its analysis, I can tell you about one with which I have had the good fortune to collaborate and I think it is a delight for its simplicity and the power of the information it provides, it is ONA. – Organizational Network Analysis.

ONA – ORGANIZATIONAL NETWORK ANALYSIS

ONA is a scalable cloud-based platform that allows you to visualize and analyze the informal relationships that exist within the organization, enabling the detection of employees who have a high ability to influence other employees, either positively or negatively.

Depending on the type of data analysed, we can differentiate between active ONA and passive ONA.

The implementation of Active ONA is carried out through a brief online survey, which aims to map the different types of informal interactions between employees, and then identify the informal leaders within the organization.

Once informal interactions have been captured, they are visualized in an interactive network, where employees are categorized by level of influence (central, intermediate and peripheral). These categories are based on the employee’s position in an automated ranking based on the results of the online survey.

Even with a level of participation as low as 40%, the results are able to reflect the entire informal collaborative structure of the entire organization. This is because even if an employee does not participate in the survey, it can be reflected in the analysis after being identified by a colleague.

Passive ONA provides a complementary view based on employee fingerprint analysis. This analysis has a more objective and formal character, as well as a higher level of scalability. Examples of passive data sources include tools for email communication (Gmail, Outlook), collaborative software development (Github) and project management (Jira).

When analyzing the network it is important to consider the role that each employee plays in the organization. An employee working in a technical assistance position can provide technical support to a large number of people within the organization, but this does not necessarily mean that he or she is an informal leader. Therefore, ONA’s algorithm considers all kinds of interactions when classifying employees, which reduces the impact of noise introduced by employee roles.

A large network that is difficult to analyze due to its size, but ONA enables different options to reduce the density of the network:

  • Reduce network density by grouping or merging nodes
  • Show subsections of networks by applying filters based on specific areas of the organization, deadlines or centrality measures.

ONA’s algorithm is able to determine whether the employee’s level of influence is aligned with expectations given their role and level of experience. For example, a senior employee in a managerial position is expected to occupy a central position in the network, while the same level of influence will be considered to be above the expectations of a junior non-managerial employee.

There is a collaborative network underneath your organization, and today technology makes you capable of understanding how it works, of being able to measure and map it at a given moment, of observing how it evolves, of understanding how it relates to the results that matter to us, and above all… of identifying which are the informal leaders, of discovering which are the perfect agents of change that will move 85% of your staff to wherever you choose.

Throwing control over something as complex as organizational change processes is difficult, but data analytics certainly configures the smartest way to achieve it.

Employer Branding. A new management approach

The only way to do a great job is to love what you do.

Steve Jobs

Employer Branding is commonly understood as a strategy that combines marketing and HR to achieve a better positioning of the organization in the labor market, mainly in situations where the selection processes are reversed because many candidates, especially the most talented, are those who choose their employers.

Would we be talking about Employer Branding if there were no talent deficit market in some sectors? Possibly not. The numbers say that it is only necessary to invest in strengthening the brand when the laws of the market so dictate.

And it is here where we commit a lazy error of concept, we cannot make a complete parallelism between the rules of functioning of the market and the labor reality. Let the following not be understood as a demagogic discourse: the market of exchange of money for products/services does not really work the same as that of money in exchange for the labor force.

A customer’s behaviour may seem very similar to that of a candidate in terms of supply and demand. However, for candidates, offering an employer their physical or intellectual effort in exchange for money has a number of very different implications than a purchase. An employee observes his or her relationship with the employer with a much greater subjective burden than would be contemplated in the customer-company relationship, and the consideration is never reduced to a simple monetary transaction.

When we buy a can of tomato, the seller will be completely satisfied if our money is legal tender. When, as employers, we buy a person’s effort to work, we can pay them with the right amount of money, but there is more than just money, which the seller-employee is going to require from us to initiate or continue with the trasaction. This is a reality that many people who buy labor still have a hard time assuming.

No hay texto alternativo para esta imagen

There’s something we’ve always had a hard time explaining numerically:

The quality of the subjective relationship between employer and employee affects production, and of course also the benefits of an organization.

And here is the great blindness of those who are not able to see beyond the numbers, costs and revenues. There is also, here, resignation and lack of scientific culture among those who must effectively explain the statistical correlation between organizational climate and results.

In fact, the fear of many CEOs and CFOs to strengthen commitment management policies lies in the difficulty of finding a strong causal relationship between investments in happiness at work and results.

But there is a new approach with which to approach the definition of Employer Branding.

No hay texto alternativo para esta imagen

Generating a better employer brand is not only useful in a talent deficit labor market. It is useful because (and here I pause dramatically) … because when employees have considerable motivation and commitment, production processes work better, work is of higher quality, there are fewer mistakes, more business opportunities appear proactively, cooperation and innovation are fostered.

In short, because having a committed staff is a competitive advantage absolutely not imitable by your competition, and directly affects your bottom line.

Common sense, right? But I have the feeling that from human resources we have lost strength or motivation to remember this fundamental principle within our organizations.

I sincerely believe that Employer Branding, understood with a transforming approach and continuous improvement of organizational commitment, is more than a strategy, it is a raison d’être and an unavoidable obligation for any organization that wants to be looking towards success.

How much are your organization’s results affected by people who never intend to do anything beyond what is strictly requested of them? And by people who are artists in avoiding problems and conflict situations? How many mistakes are caused by lack of attention and interest in tasks? How many commercial opportunities escape for lack of proactivity? What is the cost of a professional absenteeism? How much money does it cost us to captivate a young promise, to train it so that a year we leave with a competitor? How many innovative and wonderful ideas did not appear because we did not have employees empowered to generate them? Any one of us could fill several pages with these kinds of questions.

It is estimated that 70% of employees do not feel connected, are not satisfied and are not productive, and this costs companies time and money.

Let’s not confuse commitment with exaggerated behaviors of effort and presence. Sometimes we think we see engagement where there is only fear of losing the job in a narrow labor market. At other times we reward very ambitious workers, regardless of the fact that they only grow for their own benefit so that the slightest opportunity can be auctioned off to another company.

And the other problem is our natural tendency to reduce to the absurd everything we don’t fully understand. Because commitment management is not about having satisfied employees, you can be satisfied and not be productive. It’s about generating the engagement that leads to productivity.

Nor does it consist of turning our organizations into a colorful social club where, in theory, creativity is fostered and workers are entertained with fun things in favor of a utopian happiness at work. Does anyone really believe that the lack of commitment can be solved by placing a foosball table in the company canteen? It’s not about filling every corner with Ikea sofas or putting up a glamorous mindfulness room. It’s not about creating an environment where millennials sit on the floor to hang photos on Instagram from their brilliant IPhone 11.

It is necessary to approach Employer Branding from a less short-term and merely visual approach. We must go beyond the superficial layer of the image projected to the worker, and enter directly into all the processes that mark the Experience as Employee, in order to improve it. A different approach to implement several ideas and oriented exclusively to give a positive and modern appearance to a potential candidate.

AN EMPLOYING BRAND MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

A company’s bottom line is so important that it justifies the fact that the management of the “organizational commitment” on which it depends deserves a Management System.

A management system of this type must have some important features:

  • Establish the methodology to clearly define the Employer Value Proposition (EVP). This definition represents the central axis of the functioning of the System, and must have the full support and participation of the company’s top management.
  • Define operating procedures, work instructions and responsibilities to improve the brand and generate commitment. It must also provide management indicators and measurement methodologies. Fortunately, the techniques of People Analytics are providing us with valuable help in the management of intangibles and when transmitting their ROI to the management committee.
  • The objective is to provoke the spontaneous appearance of behaviors of commitment in people, understood as that behavior that is born from feeling involved, from being interested and being devoted to work and the organization.
  • To result in a better Employee Experience, but without forgetting that the empowerment of a particular type of Talent is what we ultimately need to obtain through the generation of commitment.
  • Identify Talent, potential, current, future and both internal and external. In order to do so, it must be able to establish methodologies to define, map and evaluate it.
  • It must respect the demands of business operations at all times, but at the same time courageously promote changes in them, which result in improved results through the attitude of people.
  • Provide a constant and meticulous analysis of the worker’s life cycle, and establish a procedure to detect failures in the Employee’s Experience (Pof moments), or discover opportunities to empower it (Wow moments).
  • To question, from the perspective of the employee’s experience, how the different processes are implemented in the management of people (recruitment, selection, hiring, onboarding, evaluation, development, compensation, etc.) in order to introduce significant changes in them, in order to achieve the objectives of generating engagement.
  • Efficiently communicate the Employer Value Proposal using all the marketing procedures, communication channels and contact networks necessary to strengthen the transmission of the Brand image and the improvements achieved. The presence and impact on social networks and the strategies of brand ambassadors are two clear examples of aspects managed by the system in terms of communication.

In short, a management system that places the employee in the strategic place that each organization demands at all times..

We all know that a company without conflicts or totally engaged and happy workers is a utopia, but like quality management, the secret is that…

you are not going to change your brand overnight, but you have to be oriented to it at all times.

Therefore, an employer brand management system is the best formula to provoke the continuous improvement of the employee’s experience. A methodology where the iteration of small improvements is what adds up to the great effect we need.

No hay texto alternativo para esta imagen

The engagement is neither asked for nor purchased. 

To internalize this phrase is the first step to propitiate an environment of generation of engagement in the organization. It is useless to ask for it, and it is not demandable in exchange for money. Commitment is something that is only given from the heart, and obtaining it will depend on the type of employer we choose to be.

We still have a lot to do on this subject, or rather… a lot to stop doing, so that we begin to develop emotions and engaged behaviors in our organizations. And the first ones who start walking have an advantage over the rest because it is not a path that presents too many shortcuts.

Taking employer brand management seriously allows us to keep the organization permanently inoculated with the virus of continuous improvement in our ability to make people give their best.

And something that emerges spontaneously is inevitable.

homo talentum

Or what we can learn about turnover with People Analytics

We’ve been using the word talent for years. It’s very cool to put this word in every speech, whether it’s a fairy tale or not. We hear so much talk about talent management that it seems as if we had witnessed the advent of a new kind of hominid, the homo talentum… which comes to design the future with an irremediable modernity and style that no one else has.

And evidently neither all millennials have talent, nor does the twenty-something talented stop being a fairly predictable homo sapiens in terms of their motivations and behaviors. Of course, this must be understood in the context in which it develops, and it is clear that the technological environment in which these young people have grown up marks a different management strategy. But enough is enough, let’s not exaggerate, the genetics of the twenty has not mutated by the existence of the iPad, the VUCA environments, or the new business models of the digital era. The homo talentum has the same evolutionary heritage as you and me, and as the vanguard of its promotion they bring the new paradigms of their generation, but with the same insecurities and biases that we all had when we were 20.

From there we understand the problem of talent retention as a consequence of the moment of the economic cycle in which we find ourselves, in which for some sectors the supply of the labour market is lower than the demand. This is aggravated, however, by the speed with which technological advances take place, generating new professions for which we will not be able to find people with the speed required.

In any case, whether it is a new and dramatic problem, or the logical consequence of the 3rd technological revolution that humanity is experiencing, what is certain is that the only efficient way to approach the retention of people is by analysing the data we have on them.

And this is where the People Analytics perspective adds value. It proposes an empty analysis of opinions, of hasty interpretations and far from the crickety seed of intuition. We must base our decisions on studying the data under the probabilistic prism provided by statistics. According to this, let’s ask the data why they are leaving? who is leaving the company? at what moment?

A first analysis could be then, on the data obtained when we ask the reason why they leave the company. Unfortunately here the cause-effect correlations are not very high (no greater than 0.25), which gives us to understand that there are many and varied reasons why people leave an organization.

However, we can draw some interesting conclusions. On average, if we don’t like our manager, we are more likely to leave. There will be many people who hate their supervisors who are going to stay, and there will also be many people who really like their supervisor and yet will leave. What is interesting is not the individual correlation of this factor (which is not very high) but its comparison with the rest of factors measured, such as salary. We tend to think that people stay in their jobs for money, and my intuition (always misleading) tells me that this is true, but it is surprising to see that it has a weak effect on this type of survey.

Other ways of approaching the problem is to analyze data obtained from the study on how people make the decision to leave the company. This decision can come because we compare the existing work with an alternative that is better, or because we have a personal plan to move when we reach a certain age or experience. In the first case, it could be that another company contacts us or that we have made the decision to look for a new job. This last option may come from being dissatisfied with our current job or because we are aware of more interesting alternatives. Once again we see that there are many different reasons why a person makes the decision to leave, and that are subject in turn to different very particular considerations.

It is also convenient to analyze the rotation data thinking that it is produced as a normal process of searching for the job that fits us and makes us happier (or less unhappy).

In this case we realize that there are a series of implications to take into account and that we will see represented in the data as probabilistic trends. People are more likely to leave work early, and this coincides with their high turnover rates. Conversely, as workers age in their jobs, their turnover rates are lower.

Thus, saving the effect of economic cycles, the data argue that in reality millennials do not move from jobs much more than people of previous generations when they were that age. At age 20 the probability of moving is always greater. This knowledge is useful to us to interpret correctly the rotation ratios without ignoring habitual tendencies that occur in certain collectives.

The scientific analysis of data allows us to make decisions in hiring or other operations in the company from which emanate statistical correlations with rotation.

It will allow us to know if we are leaving high-performing employees, to know if we are hiring them with a certain probability that they will leave the company, or to find out if we could touch something in their environment to diminish the factors that push them to leave. Therefore, the really interesting thing about the application of People Analytics in this area is to try to predict which factors have an adverse impact on job rotation in order to avoid them.

And in this sense, the most basic thing we can do is to compare the percentages of turnover we have over time, in the different units of our organization and depending on the different supervisors. And in this comparison detect which differences are really significant and which are not (test of statistical significance). The problem here is that these dropout percentages do not take into account the tendency that people are more likely to leave early in their stay in the company.

We will therefore have better quality information if we look for statistically significant differences starting from percentages of turnover by cohorts of months (proportion of people that last 3 months, 6 months, a year, etc.).

A better analysis would be to implement on each time interval a statistical technique such as multivariable regression, which would allow us in probabilistic terms to predict who would leave in each period, and which factors have the greatest adverse impact on retention: age? training? distance to home? etc…

But the most professional way to do the analysis is to use the so-called survival models. They are very precise statistical models, similar to those used in medicine to predict, in terms of probability, the years of life in certain types of fatal diseases. It is a question of drawing a curve that describes the rate of permanence in the company as a function of time. Then represent that same curve but segmenting by a certain type of factor potentially correlated with turnover (for example, experience at the time of hiring). We can compare survival curves for different groups of people who have differences in that factor, and thus check whether the graph has risen (lower turnover) or fallen (higher turnover). We can continue to test this analysis with more factors, such as the type of department the employees belong to, the type of manager who directs them, or personal characteristics, etc. and in this way analyze which of them improves the permanence curve in terms of avoiding turnover. The good thing about this model is that we observe all time intervals at once in a continuum.

Talent turnover has a major economic impact on organisations and we have always been tackling this problem based on instinct and hunches. Changes are an intrinsic part of life, changes are happening faster and faster, but we have more data than ever about what people do and we have solid analytical tools.

Let’s ask the right questions and bring the data to those questions. We can bring much more rigour to the process and improve the quality of the decisions we make, rather than content ourselves with explanations of reality that are of little use to action.

The homo talentum has not yet been born.

Improve collaboration: The Jailer’s Dilemma

Or how the study of collaborative networks helps retain employees

People are beings who act from a very subjective knowledge of the world around us. To interact more effectively, evolution gave us, 7,000,000 years through, a larger neocortex and with greater capacity to process the information needed to maintain a good number of social relationships with others. That is, to generate influence and receive it.

From the mutual influence between people, new phenomena arise which, on average, are evolutionarily more efficient. Our survival and our success as a species depend more on how we relate to others than on how we relate to our physical environment. And the resounding victory of this mechanism has turned us into interdependent animals among which, the most suitable is not the one that competes best but the one that best coordinates with others.

We need others therefore, but we also need a fundamental “personal space” to feel good. There is a complicated balance between the social animal and the individual animal, and depending on which culture we are born into, the tendency will be greater to express one than the other.

No hay texto alternativo para esta imagen

En la actualidad nuestras relaciones sociales son muy complejas y alcanzar este equilibrio no es siempre fácil, muchas de las dificultades que tenemos en los procesos de colaboración a nivel global, como reciclar para salvar el planeta, reducir las emisiones de CO2 o incluso utilizar el transporte público para eliminar los atascos… tienen mucho que ver con el problema de alcanzar una adecuada colaboración dominando nuestras innatas tendencias de carácter individual. Un bonito experimento que explica esto lo podeis encontrar si leéis sobre el famoso “prisoner’s dilemma“.

The company is an environment in which the collaboration between people acquires a determining character for the successful functioning of the organization. The organization chart of a company is nothing more than a vague attempt to direct the occurrence of interactions between people. Behind this necessary formalism, there is a complex structure of information flows between individuals that determines the tangled nervous system we call Collaborative Network.

No hay texto alternativo para esta imagen

From the social psychology many efforts have been directed to study this type of interactions and to promote the efficiency of the collaboration between people. People Analytics provides us with coherent techniques for analysing collaborative networks in order to improve them. As always, the process starts by asking the right questions and ends by putting data on those questions.

But before being able to ask any question it is necessary to first understand that it is a collaborative network and differentiate it from other virtual networks that exist in the company. It is also necessary to find a series of measurable parameters (patterns of collaboration) that are useful to define the network (size, strength, range, centrality, density, etc..) And finally we must be able to draw the collaborative network of our organization (or department, or area of the company to study), that is, obtain data on who interacts with whom within the network, to finally use certain tools that provide us map such data and represent the network.

Of all the things we can question about a collaborative network there are two questions that seem nuclear, the first would be:

How do patterns of collaboration within our network vary?

By way of example, let us imagine a very simple collaborative network such as the one I represent below:

No hay texto alternativo para esta imagen

For the sake of simplicity, let’s look at the variation of just one relationship pattern, the network size. We can analyze how the network size varies over time, but it is also very useful to see the differences for each of the different employees. The latter we can represent in a table counting for each node of the network the number of information searches (arrows that come out) and the number of information requests (arrows that come in). We represent all this in a table like the following one:

No hay texto alternativo para esta imagen

This table is not going to give us the answers we want but it is going to awaken our imagination to very interesting questions: For example, Tony is an employee who receives a lot of requests for information, isn’t he over-required? At the other extreme, Susan is employed, she demands too much information and few people resort to her, does she have any explanation?

This kind of information can help us in many decisions in terms of people management. A clear example is in performance evaluation. This analysis of collaborative networks can lead us to consider how we evaluate people and even how we reward them for their efforts. In Tony’s case, are we measuring him by how he helps people… or do we simply evaluate him by how he does his own work? From what we see, knowledge sharing is a very important part of what he is doing with his time and if we don’t evaluate him about it and therefore don’t reward him for it, it’s quite likely that behavior will stop appearing over time.

Another example would be in the promotion processes. Evaluating collaborative networks can provide valuable information on whether people have the right roles and responsibilities. Perhaps Tony is a person who shouldn’t spend all his time giving information to other people, perhaps he has more valuable things to do with his time if he has a different role in the organisation.

It can also help us in processes such as training and mentoring. Susan is an employee who seems to need a lot of help from other people, maybe Susan and people like her who should be the target of training or mentoring programs for our company. It is important to really know why what is happening before making a decision, because maybe Susan is just a junior in the organization, they are finding their way and we need to be aware that this will take a couple of years.

The second question we can ask ourselves about a collaborative network is:

¿What is the relationship between patterns of collaboration and results?

To try to answer this we must add one more layer of data to the parameters of our network, the outcome. For the sake of simplicity, let’s use performance as the individual outcome type, but other outcome (group results, organizational results, etc.) might be interesting. So now the question would be How do the parameters of our collaboration network affect individual performance?

There are many ways to look for the causal relationship between network parameters and performance, and this greatly complicates the analysis. As a very simple example, if we choose again only one parameter, the size of the network, we can try to use statistical techniques to find its correlation with the individual performance.

No hay texto alternativo para esta imagen

We are likely to discover a positive correlation between the number of people seeking information from an employee and how well that employee performs. And in a way it makes sense, since people often turn to people who perform well for advice and information.

Maybe we find a negative correlation with performance, the worst performers tend to go looking for help from others to get the information they need for their job. But be careful, this may not be causal. They may be looking for other people who perform less well than they do. It’s likely to happen because they’re young in the organization or don’t know the area as well. We have to ask ourselves why we see that result, before we act.

No hay texto alternativo para esta imagen

In short, it is a question of carrying out a correlational analysis between the parameters that define our collaborative network and the results that are important to us. Doing this without falling into precipitate inferences makes it more complex but at the same time more efficient and safe, in this case we are talking about using multivariable regression techniques. Analysis where you can control at the same time some of the parameters or variables that define the collaboration network, and observe the effects of other variables, such as the results.

Depending on the type of network parameter and the type of result you measure, this analysis also has strong applications in processes such as performance evaluation, in the correct determination of roles and responsibilities, in remuneration and promotions, in decisions about who you should train or mentor.

Es también útil para la gestión de la rotación interna y el desarrollo profesional ya que puedes conseguir posicionar a tus empleados en nodos que les permitan hacer crecer su red de colaboración. La retención del talento también se encuentra beneficiada de este análisis ya que detectar personas tienen un elevado número de peticiones de información puede tener una relación con encontrar personas agotadas sobre las que podrías actuar antes de que sea demasiado tarde.

No hay texto alternativo para esta imagen

There is a network of collaboration for each organization and each situation of this in its history. Neither the largest, nor the densest, nor the most dispersed networks are better. There is no optimum standard in terms of collaboration that simplifies our work and guides us along the path of collaborative work. We must be able to understand how our network works, to be able to measure and map it at a given moment, to observe how it evolves and above all to understand how it relates to the results that matter to us. It is the only way to be able to throw some control to something as complex as human relationships.

In the famous experiment of the “ prisoner’s dilemma ” two people must choose the best option seeking the difficult balance between mutual benefit and individual interest. The best option is always the collaborative one, improving this collaborative process is difficult and that could be the “jailer’s dilemma“, but there is no doubt that data analysis configures the most intelligent way to solve it.

Resilient? Really!?

The truth is that it is quite fun to read certain job ads and discover the messages that underlie some of them and that says a lot about how companies are. For example, it is common to find on Linkedin job offers in which, without the slightest shame, the soft skills required for a job are explicitly communicated. 

Good advisory skills”, “ability to customize solutions according to the needs of the company” “To be a consolidated leader in the development of different high-performance teams” “Great customer service skills” “Good interpersonal skills” “Excellent communicative, oral and written skills” “High resilience”.

As if making these requirements explicit would have the magical utility of candidates discarding themselves by realizing that they do not possess them. This puerile purpose implies a fanciful idea, assuming that people have the ability to recognize objectively to what extent we are good or bad leaders, good or bad communicators, good or bad team workers, and so on. In addition, it presupposes that the recognition must be deep enough for the candidate to repress the impulse to send his CV and then try to simulate the skills (especially now that they have identified them), just in case.

But one of the requirements that most amazes me is one that appears frequently for management positions, and that is pathetically revealing of how the culture of the company is. It is about openly and explicitly requesting that candidates have to have a “High Resilience“.

According to the definition of resilience, this is explained as the process that allows certain individuals to develop normally and in harmony in their environment despite living in a disadvantaged context, or socio-culturally deprived, or despite experiencing conflict or even traumatic situations. The idea is not new, psychology has been studying this feature for years from a clinical point of view since unfavourable contexts do not affect all people equally and therefore it can be concluded that there is no causal relationship between environmental factors and personal characteristics.

But what is the message that we are sending to possible candidates when we inform them that the position needs high resilience?

By making this requirement explicit in a job description, we are indirectly telling the candidate that we want to incorporate an emotionally robust person, because since an existence without difficulties or conflicts does not seem imaginable, it is quite probable that his job is subjected to high stress, that he will have to endure high-pressure situations and that he will surely have to overcome a toxic internal competitiveness. In short, we are warning you that if you are not able to withstand this stressful, conflictive and toxic environment … better not send the curriculum. 

Buff Who with a minimum of mental health really wants to sign up for a position described like this? And if there is someone who really likes that environment, with their heart in their hand, who would want such a masochist in their organization?

Let’s be sensible, it is evident that having resilience is an important competence to measure above all in positions of responsibility. Companies are far from what we would like them to be, so of course, we must measure resilience, but please… without announcing it! 

If we do we are sending a depressing message to the candidate who will feel much more “warned” than “informed”. And warnings are made to teenagers or children. Treat the candidates as adults, it is obvious that the position will demand that kind of skills, and if a candidate decides to apply for a job with a certain responsibility he already knows how special “cooking” in companies. Moreover, resilience is a very difficult competence to simulate in a job interview (if we have a minimally trained person in selection).

The attraction of talent is not only a quantitative task, it is not reduced to generate traffic to your job page, of course, it is above all a qualitative task. The best candidates are healthy and normal people, but they know how to do their job very well. Resilient superheroes don’t exist and beware of those who seem to. Companies need normal people, but they need the right people in every position, and people need the right companies but they allow them to develop their lives normally. 

There are still those who have the illusion that there is legitimacy to demand commitment in exchange for money, and that engagement does not work that way. Before trying to fall in love try to avoid doing the opposite, and that involves much more than putting table football with team colours in the company canteen.

Resilient superheroes don’t exist and beware of those who seem to.

Resilient? really!? when have we given up making the company a less stressful and toxic place? when have we abandoned the task of promoting a healthy and collaborative working environment, where there are reconcilable working hours, where people feel like “people”, and where Monday’s arrival does not depress? when have we lost the illusion of demonstrating that all this has a DIRECT relationship with the bottom line? 

That day that we stopped being oriented to try that this utopia is fulfilled, was the day in which we began to say to the candidate: “I am sorry, there is no choice but to be strong and support the best possible all these, our miseries. Because we are not going to change. We need you to be Resilient.

Mario Mellado, October 2019

Crea tu página web en WordPress.com
Empieza ahora