I was recently reminded of the classic children’s song, “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes”, which is often used to teach children about parts of a body. An organization’s workforce is similar to the human body in the sense that it comprises various parts and components, which all work together to maintain effective functioning of the body as a whole. There are tons of research-backed articles and reports on ways to successfully promote body health as a result of heightened awareness about, and appreciation of, healthy living and its general benefits. Organizations can draw from a few of these body health tips and strategies in developing an approach to talent management programs that will effectively nurture workforce development and produce better functioning organizations:
Adopt a Whole-Body Approach
When we consider healthy living, we explore strategies that take care of the entire body, down to our fingernails. We don’t ignore the toes, and solely focus on our head because it protects the brain, which is an extremely vital organ. Similarly, it is important for companies to move away from the practice of primarily focusing on high – level performers, and paying little to no attention to average or developmental employees. Rather, organizations should build a comprehensive performance management system that is based on a whole-body approach. This system should adequately address the needs of high level performers, who want to feel appreciated and continually motivated. This system should also be able to address the developmental potential and motivational needs of employees that are deemed average or low performers.
According to the American Association of Anatomists, there are over 7,500 parts of the human body, each a part of a complex system that is responsible for a specific function. Similarly, each employee in an organization adds value by performing respective job functions. Some may provide strategic value in core functions, while others provide support in other business units. It is important for organizations to recognize that although each employee is a valuable asset, and should be duly appreciated; it is also crucial to acknowledge differentiation among their workforce – job functions, performance levels, and inherent employee differences. As a result of the varying degrees of differentiation, employees may hold different perspectives; after all the head and the feet view life experiences differently. A more relevant example would be a financial analyst and an HR Specialist, who focus on different business priorities. Additionally, employees may respond to performance interventions differently, just as body parts may respond differently, even to the same stimuli.
A performance management system that acknowledges and builds on the strengths of a differentiated workforce will be effective at driving organizational performance. Such systems allow for the identification of individual goals, learning objectives, and motivating factors. They also allow for differentiation in execution of talent management strategies, which would result in better business performance.
Routine Check-up with the Right Metrics and Right Tools
For the most part, we recognize the importance of routine health check ups. Preventive check ups present an opportunity to identify any risk factors or mitigate minor issues before they become major problems. Health check -ups almost always consist of screenings, assessments and evaluation of our overall health, all for the purpose of sustaining longer, healthier lives. In preventive medicine, vital metrics (for ex: body temperature, blood pressure, pulse rates) are assessed with the appropriate tools to determine a patient’s current health.
In the same vein, routine check ups are also vital to sustaining organizational health. Organizational assessments should be conducted on a consistent basis in order to identify potential problems and implement corrective steps as required. It is also an opportunity to identify organizational strengths, which can be leveraged to achieve strategic objectives more effectively. Effective organizational check-ups begin with the right metrics and measurement systems or tools, such as balanced scorecards or other measurement matrices, for comprehensive assessments or specific focus areas.