It’s all connected. And if you’re at the top, it starts with you.
Sam Baber, Principal Consultant at Talent Experience Agency, says that talent experience is critical to the health and growth of a company’s mission. Moreover, he believes employees should expect something more than just an everyday job.
But how do companies move from a dispassionate, numbers-driven machine to a robust atmosphere of united brand and personal employee edification?
Remember, it starts with leadership.
We all know that leadership plays an integral role in building corporate culture, but growing access to data and metrics provides tangible displays that not only show this reality, but can serve as catalysts to inspire leaders to engage with employees for the betterment of their business.
Information won’t solve the problem, but it could inspire the type of engagement that starts down the road towards enablement and retention.
Making Data Work For You
Data is tricky.
It’s like any tool, really. In the hands of a seasoned veteran who knows exactly how to use it and fully understands its purpose — and also what it’s not meant for — it can revolutionize the task at hand.
Unfortunately, when one is holding a hammer everything tends to look like a nail.
This is particularly true of using data to show the importance of culture creation and, perhaps more importantly, what changes a company needs to undergo to make substantial cultural improvements.
“You’ve gotta have someone from a data analytics perspective who understands how to interpret it,” Sam says, “And also how to tell a story that’s truthful and also give it some action.”
What do you have in hand when you walk into a meeting with your CEO?
If it’s a spreadsheet with a bunch of indecipherable numbers that resembles yet another accounting sheet, you’re doomed before you began.
However, when leadership finally slows down a minute to take a look, the key is having access to really good, smart, clean data.
Sam says that it may take some time, but having someone there to interpret data in a correct, clear way is an invaluable way to inform leadership’s view (and involvement) in cultural change.
Good and accurate data versus a good hunch can be a difference maker.
Walk the Talk
Sam often starts culture building by asking leaders to examine the traits of the people who led them throughout their career.
“What are the positive traits you remember today about the best leaders or managers you’ve had in your career?” he asks.
“What are the traits of the worst people you’ve worked for?”
Someone’s watching you and someone’s judging you. Legacy matters.
As a leader, which of these people do you want to be?
You won’t be perfect. You’ll make mistakes and have bad days. But just as you remember the faces of the most impactful leaders you’ve encountered — positive and negative — employees will remember you.
The bar for leadership needs to get higher. We live in a world where the bar is constantly being pushed down.
On one hand, it’s just a job. On the other hand, it’s people’s lives.
The Novel Concept of Communication
Over and over again we talk about how important communication is in a work environment.
It will be something we revisit for eternity. That’s how important it is!
Sam looks at that connective tissue from first contact all the way to exit interview. It’s all connected.
From a performance perspective, there’s nothing that will replace the intimate one-to-one where you’re really engaged in the conversation.
An employee should be getting in the car or on the subway on a Friday afternoon and know, based on conversations with their leader through constant dialogue and openness, where they stand and what they need to do to get better, what wins they have, and what the challenges are coming up.
We start with data, but one-on-ones are essential. It’s difficult to have something concrete without the data, which informs strategy. But the vulnerability and clarity from personal communication is where the impact is made.
It’s all only on paper until you’ve had your first conversation.
Sam encourages us to pose difficult questions, but asks us to remember that creating a healthy culture in which to ask these questions is key.