Because sometimes one’s socks matter as much, at least on those roads where Human Capital races.
No offense meant, and in all humour, even the best sports legends end up struggling when it comes down to finding one’s socks. It’s not just a co-incidence that this species has the highest divorce rates in the world – the speed and elusive feat that one sock displays in escaping away from its very ‘significant other’ when you need a pair the most, is ridiculously amazing. Where does the other sock go and how does it vanish in ether, all of a sudden, is a question that just beats the best minds in science and IT, even now.
Come to think of it, it beats some HR grey matter too. Isn’t it strange that after all these years the HR-classroom-pet matrix ‘Blake and Mouton’ or that notorious ‘9 by 9’ grid remains unperturbed in a box? So many leaders have come and retired, so many CEOs and their biographies have fossilized and still, the two axes stay stubbornly, diagonally awry.
For the uninitiated, one axis is about ‘task orientation’ and that is where production-oriented, autocratic leaders can go on an extreme – bothering in no way or barely little about their employees as long as the task they want is done and dusted.
On the other axis, you would find their antonyms – ‘people-oriented’ captains who care as much about the crew as they worry about the ship. These folks ensure good work - notwithstanding late work, and that the employees should not be encumbered with overtime or a bad chair or a sloppy coffee, when at work. This epitome of ‘generous and compassionate’ leadership can too go on an extreme here though.
That’s an outcome that some software systems and automated HR probably tried to eschew at the onset. From payroll management, attendance rosters to rigorous appraisal trackings, HCM modules got better every year in avoiding lenient leakages and in freezing task-orientation obsession into a technology cube.
So, HR managers today need not be the postman who sweats about being shot for carrying a stinky envelope. The software, and the processes it runs on, take care of everything. The end-to-end HR park is so well architected, embedded and integrated in day-to-day business pipelines, that adherence to tasks, schedules, KRAs and benchmarks happens as a natural consequence.
The penchant for tasks is an arrow which is certainly tempting and no doubt dictators couldn’t help sliding far on this tangent – this X axis. Lop-sided HR, out-of- kilter leadership and a yawning disconnect with employees’ real wants, aspirations, strengths and gaps are just some of the other side-effects that follow when one misses the Y axis of ‘people orientation’.
But isn’t that too much to expect from a software? It is only supposed to automate a process and hence assure conformance to set standards and expectations. Isn’t it crazy to expect it to keep a tab on how an employee feels while it was designed to merely track the hours clocked?
It isn’t! As bizarre as it may sound, it is not a fantasy trip to imagine that the slippery Y axis can indeed be balanced with all the task-orientation a leader wants to adhere to on the X counterpart. The word is – Analytics and new HCM capabilities.
HCM is called so for a reason. Human Capital can literally catch rust, dust and mist if it does not generate economic value. That’s why it is tagged as ‘Capital’. But unless you can mine, slice and interpret all those oil wells of HR data, it’s almost impossible to get to know where and why the organization is going wrong in its orientation to its human assets.
The right solution and layer of analytics can seamlessly sit on top of a strong HCM suite and work all those wonders – letting you know where and why skill-lacunae exist, how to attract and retain the creamiest talent, why to spend on a development graph, how to motivate someone who does not care for ESOPs and a lot more.
Analytics is not hyperbole, if you integrate and scale it out in a pragmatic manner. It can pull out real-time, actionable and most importantly- insightful pieces of information that will help your organization leverage its talent in just the right way.
A performance appraisal spreadsheet software can only help you in making a quarterly report card but how does it help you or your employees if you cannot grab the pulse of missing resources or skills at the right hour and troubleshoot the situation with a well-timed training capsule or mentorship. A recruitment tool is only another tick-in-the-box unless it can really help you with a top-of-the-tree, agile map of who is needed where & why and how soon. This, and so much more is where a good Analytics capability will spin a regular HR suite into a Swiss-Knife of sorts and blow your socks off.
It’s no wonder that the wisest of CEOs never worry about going bankrupt. They know that their real asset goes down the elevator every evening. The question is – will that sock show up the next day?