Organizational Dynamics

The future of every organization is built around continuous development and improvement as most people are already aware however there are some who forget that one of the most valuable assets in a company are the people who are involved in every day operations. This includes every person no matter what position they might hold within the company whether it's the president or service personnel. Each individual brings forward unique skill sets and abilities that can impact the development and direction of a company. Their individual development and well-being are important considerations in any change in organizational dynamics. Many people still believe that businesses operate in an employer's market though I would tend to disagree with that assessment, but not in the view that most people might have on the state of hiring even in tight markets.

I tend to side with individuals like Laura Butler, Vice President of Talent Acquisition for TeleTech. While it is true that it has been more difficult than ever before for unemployed individuals, employers are also scrambling to find qualified team members. Even once employers have successfully found people to add to their teams the task of keeping those people has become an ever more complicated task.As an employee you are concerned with your personal perspectives and the effects that change may ultimately have on your personal stability. This is a very important consideration for members of management when they begin to evaluate change initiatives. Initiatives that are a key part of maintaining a competitive edge in shrinking markets. In order to make sure that a company can sustain itself now and in the future it must be ready to invest in its workforce. That includes continuing education and employee retention as well as a big picture view of future operations.

I personally like to pull a page from Google's philosophy on operation and continued development as listed below.

1. Hire by Committee - Make sure your new recruits talk to their future colleagues

I believe that this is an important part of continued organizational development. Ensuring that new hires and existing members of your team and workforce can work well together will make sure that the projects they work on can be performed efficiently and quickly. It is important to remember that the morale and performance of your workforce hinges on the way team members communicate and interact.

2. Cater to their every need - Make sure it is, not hard, for them to perform

Making sure that your employees have the tools and resources they need to perform jobs also ensures that they meet your expectations. If you fail to manage resources effectively operations can quickly grind to a halt and your employee's morale will quickly slip as they fail to meet not only your expectations of performance but their own. Building an environment that fosters personal growth can bring forward a variety of unexpected opportunities for the continued growth of an organization and the workforce.

3. Pack them in - put people to work close to one another

This is certainly a debatable concept but the general idea is that having people within reach of each other ensures more effective communication. While it is true that electronic communication systems like email and instant messaging systems can help to unify a large and expansive workforce there is no real substitute for person to person interactions. Electronic messaging systems do not accurately convey the emotional context nor the associated body language the accompanies it. These components of communication can give an individuals with important insights into the true direction and meaning of the information being presented.

4. Make coordination easy - use technology to keep people talking together

This ties back into packing people together, large organizations need to effectively communicate important information among themselves. This includes email communication, shared calendaring systems, CRM, ERP and highly functional intranet systems that are both internally and externally accessible. Having on-demand access to this information on the go allows your workforce to be better prepared for change and unexpected shifts in project development.

5. Eat your own dog food - make use of company products

This is another important one, make sure that the products you sell and produce are also available and in use by your workforce. This is an effective method of quality control, no one wants to buy or use products of poor quality and your workforce is the same. If you make your products easily accessible to them they will make sure that the products they buy and actively use or of a quality that meets or exceeds their own expectations.

6. Encourage creativity - allow freedom to come up with new ideas

Environments that stifle innovation and creativity often lose their ability to support a competitive edge in today's rapidly changing business environment. Organizations that allow their employees to give feedback on processes and bring forward new ideas often achieve higher performance standards, higher workforce productivity, and again often find new and unexpected opportunities emerge for the company. Creativity extends into many areas of development including product development, process modification, and more.

7. Strive for consensus - remember "many are better than the few"

Strive to move forward as a group rather than individually. Ensuring that everyone from the bottom up is on the same page with what we want to achieve is important. Making changes on your own without the input or approval of those who would carry out those changes often result in failure as is outlined very well by Kotter's approach to change management. Almost 80% of all change initiatives fail because the people who were meant to carry out those changes did not understand, support, or see a reason to make the change.

8. Don't be evil - live tolerance and respect

This is one of the tougher aspects of normal operation, this extends into ethical behavior as well as how your business interacts with the community it is in. It's important to remember that a business is much like living and breathing person and the impact it can have on local as well as regional communities can reach quite far. How your company represents itself also reflects how your workforce represents itself, no one really wants to be part of something no one likes even if there are great incentives.

9. Data drive decisions - do analysis and stay on track

This comes back to using electronic systems effectively, while in most cases I tend to focus more in qualitative information it is important to track performance quantitatively so that changes in performance can be reported effectively. There are many easy to use systems that will allow you to follow workforce readiness, project performance, financial performance and a range of other pieces of information that can contribute to making informed decisions both in the present as well as for the future. Whether its decision trees, spreadsheets, or custom DBM systems they all have a role to play into he development of a feature rich intranet and ERP system.

10. Communicate effectively - hold many stay-in-touch meetings

One of the most important things you can do when attempting to start making changes or while managing continued development is to make sure that everyone is heard. Whether its lowest man on the totem pole or the president of the company everyone should be actively involved. Meetings both physical and virtual allow people to give feedback on the assessments you make as well as give direction for future developments. There are many different ways to communicate today, far more than there were in past, including teleconferencing, video chat, email, instant messaging, social media, and more.

Think You're Hiring in an Employer's Market? Be Prepared to Invest, 2009