Engineering Incredible Employee Experience and Focused Human Performance

Posted by Jeff Wellstead
on August 10, 2018

Having spent most of my professional life leading Human Resources teams with global investment banks, consultancies and technology companies – and many smaller, fast-growth tech SMEs around the world – I’ve honestly struggled to end every day with my head held high.

I remember sitting around the table with these powerful creatures who had reached the vaunted (and often tenuous) position of global leader. I remember sweating it out, waiting for my turn to offer something game-changing for them.

We are all human in our motivations…

I wanted to say something that everyone would stop and listen to with rapt attention because what I was sharing was going to be the secret to our success.

I knew intuitively that what my companies needed was insight into what supports great performance in human beings.  I never lost sight of the fact that my function existed to support the top and bottom line.

I just couldn’t produce the correlations: what was that critical connection between the employee and their operating environment?

If I could figure that out, I could figure out how to optimise their experience, and support them with dynamic and actionable feedback, collaborative connections, well designed reward and recognition systems, and powerful insighst into how all of these supported positive, game-changing performance.

Missing the tools to develop superstar employees.

We spent millions to attract and retain the best people who represented the the best-of-the-best in their field of endeavour.

There was no disputing their capability, as it was proven over time, and the numbers didn’t lie.  They were all superstars, having earned billions, or crushed every advanced course they set their minds to.  And they were well paid to prove their worth – but that worth, understandably, had to be proven every day.

The real pressure was to supply these human powerhouse mavericks with the tools to help them keep tabs on how they were progressing as individuals, as specialist experts, as managers and leaders of other superstar mavericks.

And HR was nowhere near solving for that challenge. This made me feel less than a third wheel whose value to the company was nothing more than trying to keep the recruiting flow moving.

I didn’t have the tools, the data, the insight to aggregate the collective human behaviour. To make sense of its millions of tiny permutations and correlate that to a myriad number of variables that might show that X + Y causes Z to occur with a high probability, and then to be able to suggest more resource be applied to this formula to prove our success.

This was much less about ego and power. This was  about having a sense of significance, autonomy, seeing a sense of progress and being wrapped in meaning and purpose.

The core role of HR as productivity management.

HR is meant to drive the connection between the product brand and the employer brand and builds an irresistible sense of attraction for the most talented people on the planet.

HR shapes cultures and enforces core values to inspire teams to create exponential outcomes. HR ensures every individual feels connected, trained, prepared and deeply engaged in the vision and mission set out by the founders or executive leaders.

As HR, we own that position within every organisation. But until recently, we have not been enabled to touch this space.

There has been an explosion of incredibly enlightened thinking emerging from every domain of business, academia and the field of organisational and motivational psychology.

A plethora of digital tools is now available that empower our employees to connect, collaborate, innovate and work cross-functionally in ways that we’ve never thought possible.

The HR and Productivity tech market went way beyond intuitive UX/UI, data dashboards, process improvement and insight creation. It as now raced headlong into the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence to craft meta-data across all business intelligence tools to give us insights into patterns and connections we couldn’t possibly hope to make on our own.

In his most recent article, highlighting the powerful positioning of HR in driving productivity as a primary objective, Josh Bersin wrote about how Ultimate Software, Workday and Slack have just completed acquisitions of insightful power BI tools that provide a deep insight into human performance, as evidenced by interrogating micro-activity within a business’ goal structure, such that we can understand where things are working well, and where they might be breaking down.

The light bulb moment: performance + data.

It’s too easy to be distracted by shiny new objects that seek to fix things within my functional discipline to ‘make my life easier’ within my HR function.  What I really sought was to make my mark as an HR executive on the commercial insight, deep performance sourcing, and course-correction capability to ensure continuous improvement with my fellow, brilliant human beings, in our collective bid to conquer our marketplace.

Bersin’s article reiterated for me that I’ve chosen the right path to achieve a sense of commercial significance, in deciding to work with Gtmhub.

It’s a core fix.

Gtmhub focuses on what makes human beings connect, align and work together for a common set of objectives. It offers a way to scale great change and simplify process.

Gtmhub also addresses the human issues underpinning organisational dysfunction and helps them change and continuously improve to become positive advocates, continuous learners, productive team members, brilliant contributors, and enthusiastic champions of the company’s cause.

THAT is the essence of success for me.

Providing for a centralised, transparent curation for all of an organisation’s core objectives and key results – with a brilliant tool sitting in the middle of all your BI systems, collecting and reporting on critical data to map progress against quarter-on-quarter objectives and key results (OKRs) is the ultimate starting point to building HR’s strategic relevance for their businesses.

Why?

  • It enables natural collaboration across functions, geographies and roles.
  • It communicates progress, contribution, accountability and group focus – and importantly anyone, anywhere can see what they’re doing as a contribution to the loftiest top-level objectives – right down to individual and team activity.
  • It allows the right people to view what’s working, whose struggling and provides insight into what needs fixing and celebrating.
  • It provides a window into what used to be a confused and contested black box of activity that, when misinterpreted or ignored, led to humans becoming disenchanted, unconnected, broken and left hopeless that anything would change it for the better.

I can’t see a more powerful or strategic approach than to introduce OKR management as a method and Gtmhub as a tool.

As an HR leader, I see clearly how it would help an organisation get intelligent about itself, to be clear about its focus and direction, to communicate every day what’s important and how everyone fits into that effort with a highly scalable, flexible and agile cloud-based tool to help frame the OKR process to ensure success.

If only I had this offering for my executive leaders in years past.

The nature of our relationship and conversation would have changed, as we all scanned our real-time dashboards to unpick problems brewing, deadlines shifting, achievements being made, superstars emerging, quarterly objectives and annual strategies being conquered…

There would be no claim of ‘ignorance’ or black box agendas.

We would all be connected, aligned and proving to one another how our various individual and team contributions were pushing our mission ahead – every day. 

I suspect this would have cured my early stage career angst and sense of insignificance, and propelled me into a place of powerful relevance to my companys’ successes.

No time like the present, as the tool is here and so am I.

Now just a matter of showing the world.