Downward Trend Lines (Part 7)

by | Oct 4, 2018 | PACE approach

Part 1. What If

Part 2. Magic and Modernisation

Part 3. People and Technology

Part 4. Unpacking People

Part 5. Unboxing Technology

Part 6. Refining People and Technology

Part 7. Downward Trend Lines

Deepak brought his presentation to a conclusion: “So there’s a clear linkage between our downward trends. From an HR perspective, I see employee engagement dropping, and from a Finance viewpoint, you see revenue and market share dropping.”

Deepak had been presenting the latest figures on employee engagement to Shona, the CFO. The firm had been pretty good at surveying employees on work issues for many years, and so had the historical data points to see the trend lines over time. Pretty good at a process, however, did not this time equate to anything pretty with the consequential numbers.

“I’m sure we could argue causation and correlation here,” said Shona, after Deepak had finished. “But linkage is a good word. There’s something clearly going on that isn’t good for either of our respective departments, and the summary numbers we individually pay attention to.”

“Agreed,” Deepak said. He waited for Shona to speak again.

“Do you have any insight into why employee engagement is cratering?” asked Shona.

“When we saw the summary numbers, we looked back at the comments made on the survey forms,” began Deepak. “There weren’t many comments, but those we read were fairly dim.”

“Like what?” Shona wanted the details.

Deepak turned to his computer and opened an Excel spreadsheet. “Like … ‘No matter how hard I try, it’s too hard to get anything done here,'” he said, reading one of the responses. “Or ‘Everything about the way we work feels so outdated, and there’s too much red tape to make progress.’ And ‘The glossy brochure on working here made the firm sound so progressive, but now I’ve accepted the job, I see the reality of a slow and siloed organisation.” He paused, looking at Shona. “Do you want more?”

“Are there any positive comments?” Shona asked. “Is there anything we’re doing right?”

“A couple of people like Friday evening drinks,” Deepak answered, a rueful smile crossing his face. “But there’s no positive comments about the work, our results in the market, and even job prospects with competitors. A few people commented that being an alumni of our firm is a black mark on their resume, not a bright light.”

“Well, my numbers trail your numbers,” said Shona. “What do you think we should do now?”

To be continued …