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People Management Practices are Stuck in the Dark Age

Companies' need to look progressive makes them do things that make no difference while maintaining the outdated practices that govern employees' experiences. Here is what we do, hoping that we look cool and attract people while talents leave through the backdoor due to century-old practices that everyone is scared to look at.

We have social media accounts promoting success stories, diversity, inclusion, and sustainability activities. We put a woman or many women in the picture on the 8th of March, describing how the credit really goes to us for making those women successful. We rainbow colour our logo once a year and have added him/her/them/they ...... to our signature. We occasionally change our tagline and invent "new ways" of working that we think appeal to the workforce. Marriott just released an article that made me fall off the chair titled "Here’s how Marriott’s “win-win” approach puts its people first". It turns out that they have "invented" the concept of multiskilling employees to increase productivity by getting more done with fewer staff. I actually want to speak to the person who allowed this article to be released:-)

What I am trying to say is that there is nothing new. Nobody is looking into the fundamental structural issues that are the source of our talent retention problems. Simply put, the issue is in our people practices and how we view talent, not the rainbow logo or email signature. Let's see what needs to be changed. Not changed, sorry, thrown out and redone from scratch.

One common example of an outdated people practice is the traditional performance & talent review process. For years, companies have used annual or biannual reviews to evaluate employee performance and provide feedback. However, research has shown that these reviews can be stressful and demotivating for employees and don't even accurately reflect their performance.

Instead, many companies are moving towards more frequent and informal feedback conversations focusing on development and growth rather than evaluation. Some companies have also moved toward monthly talent reviews where the managers get together on a short call to promote their talents who are ready to move on. This approach allows employees to receive real-time feedback, adjust their behaviour accordingly, and feel more engaged in their work. It also allows greater retention as talents are continuously looked at and moved around within the organisations.

Another outdated practice is the rigid 9-to-5 work schedule or very long working hours in certain industries. With the rise of remote work and the increasing work-life balance demands, many employees are looking for more flexible schedules. Companies that cling to strict schedules miss out on top talent looking for more autonomy and control over their work.

Flexible work arrangements, such as telecommuting and flexible hours, have increased employee satisfaction, productivity, and retention. Companies that embrace these practices may have a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining the best talent.

In addition, many companies still rely on traditional hierarchies and command-and-control management styles. These approaches can create a rigid, inflexible work environment stifling innovation and creativity. Employees may feel disengaged and disconnected from the very same job they are hired to do. How often have I heard, "I cannot do anything about it, they don't want change." So they give up, and everything remains the same.

Instead, companies are moving towards more decentralised and collaborative structures that empower employees to take ownership of their work and contribute to the company's success. This approach fosters a sense of autonomy and empowerment, which can lead to increased motivation, creativity, and productivity.

Finally, many companies still cling to traditional benefits packages that may not meet the needs of today's diverse workforce. For example, many employees may seek more comprehensive mental health benefits, greater access to parental leave, and flexible vacation policies.

In today's fast-paced and rapidly changing world, it is becoming increasingly important for organisations to keep up with the latest trends and best practices in people management. Unfortunately, many companies continue to rely on outdated people practices that are no longer effective. Is it easy to fix the problem? NO! But let's start with one process at a time.

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