People (employees) are the main resource of the company

People (employees) are the main resource of the company

(At the time of writing this text, I worked for the 5th year in IT), was in the position of BA, was impressed by the experience of working in teams. (I wrote a little about my experience and transition from another profession to IT here: (https://habr.com/ua/articles/785490).)

People/employees are the most important resource for the company. It is people who do what then brings profit to the company.

The company’s system can and should (in my opinion) take into account the focus not only of “client-orientation”, but also “employee-orientation”. I would say that it is possible to be sufficiently “client-oriented” by providing better and more productive services to “clients” by first focusing on as inside. What an atmosphere within the company, which is for each specific employee who works for a common cause? What is the communication like in a specific project team?

Imagine a typical project team with many roles, each with their own opinion and value to the product.

1. You can talk a lot about “establishing processes” and not pay any attention to what style is being formed in a particular team. What example of interaction is broadcast by managers.

Whether an employee (“generalized employee”) will take the initiative, proactively propose ideas, ask questions, use his energy for the benefit of the product and the company depends (including, in addition to his own characteristics, personal qualities, etc.) on what example is formed by the manager . A PM is not an aloof person dealing with money or planning. The PM is perceived as a “manager”. Or there is “some other” person/role in the team who acts as a leader. And here the proverb “fish rots from the head” is mentioned: in the sense that the team will “mirror”/reflect the style/behavior of the leader. Of course, it is impossible to assign all duties to one person. But it seems important to introduce work on reforming the style of teamwork, with an emphasis on the human factor. (Offers will be below)

2. Another point that can interfere with the effective work of each individual (written from observation of working time): these are deadlines in which employees take on too much, take on overtime work. And that’s the problem. The problem is from two sides – both from the side of management and employees. I am referring to cases where the planning of deadlines does not take into account the human factor and relies on an “idealistic” picture, planned without the participation of the development team and presented to employees as a given. Guys burn out, accumulate dissatisfaction, even if it is not immediately noticeable to them and is common. Many employees think in terms of categories and may not cope personally, think that the problem is theirs personally and that they are the only ones facing it.

3. I will also share some thoughts on feedback. (which are usually used to assess “soft skills”).

What global meaning does this or that company see in this event?

In fact, it most often looks like a “copy-paste” of standard phrases to “answer” something, “after all, they are asking.” All people are different, the opinion on the same “trait”/situation/phenomenon may be contradictory from different people. What are these feedback sessions aimed at? For the formation of a “refined” (read “depersonalized”, “standard”) employee, “neutral” for everyone? It is utopian. And it also contradicts the fact that every employee who occupies one or another position has qualities that “determine” what a particular employee can do well. Each feedback session focuses (from what I’ve seen) on what needs to be improved. There is no primary (and sometimes no) focus on reinforcing what the employee STILL does of value, what they are STILL good at. In fact, the company broadcasts to the employee every time: “you are not enough, you do not suit us.” “We are client-oriented” – at the same time forgetting about the most important resource of the company – employees. It turns out that the employee thinks: “I should not be focused on specific work, but on deadlines and feedback (how should I behave in order to receive good feedback).”

Some ideas that can help if something similar happens in the company:

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  1. At a minimum: the introduction of new tactics, at the management level, aimed at a more personal approach to employees Perhaps it can be work on the ground with managers – to shape and develop their qualities “integrator” (with developed qualities of empathy, who are able to approach the employee personally, proactively, without waiting for the problem to “burn”.). For example, there is a model covering the main roles on the project “PAEI Management Model” developed by Dr. Yitzhak Adizez (this is a model of dividing managers into one of four roles: executor, administrator, entrepreneur and integrator). A lack of one area/role can affect the team’s progress as any particular role blurs between team members. And so the functions of this role remain important, but are performed “partially”/”on the job”/without due attention (because one person in the team has many duties/functions, or because there is no specific person allocated for a certain role). See an example of the PAEI model in the photo above (source https://adizes.com/).

  2. Conscious planning of terms/deadlines taking into account possible human factors and risks, accounting of the team and communication with it to agree on terms, ensuring a healthy work regime without overwork.

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  1. Introducing the role of a scrum master or rather a “corporate psychologist” – an abstract one not immersed in the development processes, who could conduct for “each” project team a series of classes aimed at forming cohesion, collaboration, improving communication/mutual understanding between employees. What will it be, present at regular meetings, observing how and in what “atmosphere” they take place, having been to some extent an “observer” of the processes: somewhere to reorganize the structure of interaction, give recommendations to managers, suggest those ideas that will help interpersonal communications.

  2. Encourage work on their level of awareness (self-understanding): this way, employees will more realistically assess their capabilities and limitations when estimating the deadlines for completing tasks. They will burn out less, be more creative – which should also have a positive effect on involvement in the company’s work.

  3. Regarding “feedback”:

Has any company ever conducted an experiment asking an employee about his colleagues just one question: “What do you think this person is best at”?

See what happens. This can open up a new perspective on “managing” and “rotating” an employee based on what they are best at. It can also affect the overall climate and attitudes of people within project teams.

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