Human Investment Series – Company Alignment


What are the Challenges to Increasing Company Performance?

There are five major people challenges. The first challenge includes defining and communicating how your people need to support the business in both KOS (key operating statistics) terms and behavioral alignment terms. KOS terms typically tie into individual KPI (key performance indicators) metrics that most companies use for employee metrics. These and associated compensation rewards may conflict between groups resulting in internal conflict and cannibalization, but with focused attention can be realigned to maximize revenue and profit. However, today’s behavioral alignment terms and metrics are usually vague, subjective, inconsistent, undefined, and not auditable. This creates a major misalignment within functions, business units, and teams that directly impact company performance.

Just as the “buck” stops with the CEO, behavioral alignment definitions need to be companywide and start with the CEO. Examples include the company purpose, business, common cause, values, and culture. How can your people align to what no one has uniformly defined? Once defined, there are opportunities to create new metrics that are objective, consistent, and auditable. These metrics can then form the basis for individual and organizational accountability and companywide governance.

The first step is for the CEO to define, communicate and create a strategic business implementation initiative to begin integrating their definitions throughout all the people processes of the company. Examples are in hiring, onboarding and training, performance reviews, promotions, and terminations with objective, consistent, and reportable metrics.

The second major people challenge and the implementation of the CEO definitions is to be sure you are hiring right and putting existing employees in the right seat and performing with both KPI and behavioral alignment. These definitions are the foundation to creating companywide alignment. Once alignment has been achieved, employee engagement and governance can provide the rocket fuel to performance. Without first pursuing alignment, employees will struggle to know how to engage when competing subcultures and agendas surround them.

The foundational alignment issue is, “Align to what?” Unless your company has clearly defined, communicated, and integrated companywide definitions, how can your people align to what no one has uniformly defined and enforced? How they can assimilate as cross-functional companywide team members?

Even without racial, nationality, and gender diversity; there is diversity within each group all having different subcultures, belief systems, and personal goals. In addition to KPIs, if companies don’t define and enforce how to align, people will do “what is right in their own eyes” and go off in different directions. At best, this suboptimizes company performance. At worst, it creates organizational barriers and an internal political company culture rather than an aligned external client and competitiveness culture.

Which picture represents your organization today? Which one could your organization look like with companywide alignment?

This is not being judgmental. It’s simply human nature. People need to know how to align for their own career success and for the entire company’s success. Most people want to know how to align. They want to be on teams that are winners. They want to be in companies that are growing, impacting the world, and offering long-term sustainability for their career success. One reason why people don’t join companies is due to the company’s culture and reputation (hello Glass Door and social media), risk of financial stability, or risk of being disrupted by superior performing companies.

As implementation occurs, HR and managers can begin with including the definitions alongside disruptive processes to place new hires and existing employees in the right seats.

Even if companies ignore creating CEO definitions, improvements can be made in talent acquisition and talent management. New innovations and paradigms exist that lower risk, increase accuracy, and create better results. Here just three examples:

Disruptive 3rd Party SaaS Technology and Competency Solution for Hiring

  • Improves hiring accuracy from less than 50% to over 90%
  • Reduces the elapsed time for HR resume screening from weeks and months to minutes
  • Looks at 100% of applicants versus only those with your company’s selected key words
  • Allows HR to contact the top applicants on the same day to engage them instead of losing them in a long hiring process that applicants view as a black hole.
    Allows HR to create a highly qualified and vetted slate of candidates for a hiring manager review within a week or so rather than months. The early applicant engagement and rapid movement to an interview cycle will set your company apart and increase the probability of finding the people you need…faster.

Rethink Your Sourcing Model

  • Look for human investments, rather than commodities, who will provide the highest competitive ROI and Value regardless of background
  • Move from commodity sourcing to strategic sourcing…selling the best candidate for why you are the best choice.
  • Have an answer to A Players for “What’s In It for Them” beyond compensation
  • Reject players who are not a predictive performance and cultural best fit.

Redesign Your Performance Management Process

  • Move away from only KPI results. Include how they made their numbers fit with company values and cultural alignment.
  • Create a Balanced Scorecard Performance Review and coaching process to include both objective and observed behavioral metrics tied to company defined competency and teaming requirements by job…as well as KPIs.
  • Include an advisory process to help employees improve through aligning their own personal career planning with company objectives.
  • Expand the process through AI/ML and companywide global databases to allow access for succession planning and career development using objective and auditable comparative metrics.

Notice that these recommendations include everyone in the company. The CEO and potentially the Board for definitions, support, and governance; HR for process administration; Finance for audit and financial impact analysis; IT for SaaS, AI/ML, data collection, database support, and ERP integration; and hiring/promoting managers who are the responsible internal clients in the process.

Also notice that instead of only focusing on HR processes, the focus is on companywide alignment and performance. This moves the HR focus from being a functional silo to a becoming a cross functional and cross business unit “One Way” team member at the strategic table.

Job seekers can then see companies that may not be an alignment match and self eliminate. Employees can choose to assimilate or find another home that is a better fit. This is eventually happening anyway, only companies are paying the cost for bad hires, turnover, unengagement, and lower performance.

The other three major obstacles to increasing company performance are employee engagement, governance, and enabling technology. These will be discussed in future articles. The questions for now are, “How is your companywide alignment today?”

Companywide alignment to CEO definitions for how to align is the foundation for People Transformation that fuels Business Transformation.