Embrace Every Individual in Continuous Improvement

Wed 30 August 2017

People of different generations have grown up on, or had to adapt to, the extremely disruptive technologies of the past 10 years or more. Consider today’s mantras of “Mobile access anytime-everywhere,” or “Got an app for it?” As Millennials enter the workforce and Gen X’ers continue to navigate it, HR managers and line managers are going to want to harness these experienced or growing tech-savvy perspectives and develop the individuals associated with them.

Gen Y (the much-discussed Millennials born between the early 1980s and up to the turn of the millennium) are on pace to represent half of the workforce by 2020, according to most estimates. Gen X individuals, already a small demographic (born roughly 1965 to about 1980), are predicted to shrink in the workforce from 32 to 23 percent by 2020. Meanwhile, estimates say that Baby Boomers (born circa 1946 to 1964) will decrease from 39 percent to 26 percent in the wider workforce over the same period.

Regardless of their generation label, most individuals want to be continuously coached and challenged without being micromanaged in order to happily contribute to a team or organization and their careers. How do companies large and small influence the people they invest in and develop from becoming disengaged and leaving early (2 years or less), leading to loss of both talent and money?

An attractive option is that people can be brought together in teams, so that tech-, mobile- and app-savvy Generations Y and Z can rub off productively on Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers, and vice-versa. It’s called cross-generational teamwork, cross-training and reverse-mentoring and it focuses on the present and near-future, so our workforce understands how talent management and the way we work is shifting.

Talent management is becoming less HR driven and company-centric and more people centric. It’s becoming more agile, fluid or continuous, with a strong focus on ongoing individual engagement and development. However, don’t throw out all your traditional performance management principles. Strong financial results, cost-benefit analysis, and informed performance measurement are still imperative, but due to metrics and KPIs being different across disciplines, there is a healthy reinforced focus on qualitative measurement and strategic vs. just non-stop quantitative production, the latter which can lead to burnout, attrition, and holes in your production and customer-service lines.

The concept of “Scrum,” if leveraged wisely and humanely without the concentration on sheer volume but rather the customer’s needs, represents a valuable practice. Regardless what terminology you use for it, leverage the concept of Scrum as the continuous improvement spirit of your people and your organization. The benefits of continuous feedback, described below, come from regular check-ins and reporting, fueled by the ongoing script and dialogue that team collaborators can follow and contribute toward.

It’s an ongoing dialogue of objectives, roles, professional interpersonal feedback, compliments, recognition, cross-pollination, contribution and continuous improvement toward team synergy and organization production and contribution. Let’s not forget raises, promotion and other incentives for your most engaged contributors. With continuous feedback, the human element is active through extensive social collaboration between peers, managers and HR personnel.

Team Benefits of Continuous Feedback, a Long Bullet List

  • It’s no longer about revisiting goals quarterly or semiannually alone. Continuous improvement through continuous feedback becomes a part of your organization’s DNA.
  • Break down your objectives into sizable attainable goals, results and milestones.
  • Self-starters gain insight into what others are doing across teams so they can contribute. This transparency also helps to reduce redundant efforts.
  • Reports can easily be created and tailored to any need or topic (e.g., organizational details, department production, and gap analysis). Managers get easy dashboard views to check in with employees and projects.
  • Employee can review manager’s appraisal and review their own goals and bonus achievements.
  • Contributing managers and employees don’t lose track of team goals and objectives, thus ensuring department goals are met or reprioritized.
  • Managers no longer have to waste time on things that are going well, but can still monitor status for sudden deviations.
  • Multidirectional performance and project-related dialogue and reporting are flexible to your team’s or organization’s needs, with all important assignment and subscription to Task Lists.
  • Videos can easily be added to explain workflow, or how to use an integrated app.
  • Annual review time becomes a breeze; not a mad scramble resulting in unpleasant surprises for everyone . HR managers can have historical data and HR business intelligence immediately available at their fingertips.

The Team, the Team

Team efforts (think, team sports if you wish) can be fun and productive toward a group cause, but always remember continuous performance and feedback and continuous improvement are only as good as the level of participation. For Lumesse ETWeb empower™ customers, the channels of communication are open, and HR can nudge managers and employees, or vice versa, to participate in the dialogue and continuous improvement process.  

You should still pick up the phone or meet people in person. Digital talent management represents an efficient and complementary way to document the process and progress or delays and cited challenges. Continuous feedback loops also provide team members like you and me with reminders about what we’re being paid to accomplish and empower us in a dialogue, and development opportunities, for shining in the role. We stay on course, steering our own tiller toward meeting goals, a derivative of the gig economy.

Lumesse builds career tools for existing and coming generations, and we engineer it to be an extension of these people to empower them in a social way. Download the white paper .