The grapevine has now come into its own by gaining a true identify and validation as a serious business tool that can, according to an article by Stephen Garcia, Ph.D. and Greg Wallace, retain and develop employees as well as identify emerging leaders and even define a business. A study by Garcia adds innovation to the mix and that it is the number one global growth strategy. This business tool is organizational network. It is through these networks that problems get solved, decisions are made and personal support is garnered. In other words states the article, “It is through these connections that the real work often happens.” This newly acquired sophistication has come as a result of restructuring resulting “in organizations with fewer hierarchical levels and more permeable functional and organizational boundaries”, according to Rob Cross a professor at the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce. As with any tool, a business must understand how to use it.
Enter Organizational Network Analysis (ONA). The analysis process, on the surface, appears to be fairly simple.
Step One: Identify business objectives.
Step Two: Define your project scope.
Step Three: Collect data.
Step Four: Process the collected data via new software specifically for ONA such as UNINET, Pajek, SYNAPP, InFlow, Socilyzer, DNA-7 and others.
But, of course, there are pitfalls to consider. For example, one of the ways suggested to collect data is to monitor historical email traffic. This could lead to privacy issues. In addition, emails may lack useful data, and surveys to gather data cannot be anonymous. If you are using the data to identify emerging leaders, some executives may be too removed from knowing those with potential outside the executive suite. Others may only look at those like themselves or never poke their heads beyond the OBN (Old Boys Network). However, a network analysis can help identify some issues. Here’s how.
Studies indicate that those with a positive mental attitude or PMA as its often referred to, has a well, positive impact on people’s lives in general. According to an article in the Chicago Tribune
‘Thousands of articles in virtually all popular, medical, health and news journals
tout the benefits of PMA on longevity and many other positive aspects of aging,’
says Dr. Peter Norvid, a geriatric specialist treating patients at Adventist Hinsdale
and La Grange Memorial hospitals and medical director for Heartland Hospice.
‘Optimistic people live longer, have closer personal relationships and are able
to deal with the negative things that happen to them in a way that allows them
to continue to be able to be there for others so that others can help them.’
But can this same PMA have a positive effect in the workplace?
According to an article in HR Magazine by Aileen Wilkins, that would be affirmative – to a point. In other words, while a toxic culture breeds “unhealthy internal politics and dysfunction”, a more positive culture can lead the way for people to “focus on growth, minimize internal politics, and constructively support and challenge each to do better.” Further, employees are more engaged. Ms. Wilkins is not claiming that people will go around singing “The Happy Song” or even be joyous, but simply that people will work together better and be more productive.
The short answer is neither. The longer answer is a bit more complex. Nor is any organization likely to find the perfect workforce regardless of whether they use assessments or not.
The debate over the usefulness, accuracy, and even the legality of assessments has raged on for a number of years. For those who like to categorize everything into the black and white, right or wrong, good or bad piles, the true answer may not be that clear cut. According to recent research by Aberdeen Group, there is a shortage of critical talent and replacing an employee can carry a price tag of upwards of five times a bad hire’s salary. Therefore, it is evident that making good hiring decisions is crucial for an organization’s bottom line. Moreover, the use of assessments can have a positive impact on not only hiring, but retention, performance, and engagement.
Aside from measuring a potential candidate’s interests, backgrounds, strengths, and weaknesses, assessments provide other bonuses.
- Best-in-class organizations are 45% more likely to use pre-hire assessments
- Best-in-class companies are 95% more likely to have a consistent competency model used for hiring, [including using assessments consistently as part of the model].
- Companies that use assessments are 36% more likely to be satisfied with their new hires
- Organizations using pre-hire assessments with performance results are 24% more likely to have employees who exceed performance expectations.
- Businesses using pre-hire assessments in conjugation with performance results have employees who are 17% more likely to rate themselves as engaged.
- Assessments can provide information as to whether or are not an employee is a good cultural fit. Best-in-class companies pass this information along to manager
You can read the full report, Pre-Hire Assessments: An Asset for HR in the Age of the Candidate, at www.aberdeen.com
Those of us who tout the use of assessments as a critical tool in combating turnover, for increasing productivity, and improving customer satisfaction are also aware that cautionary measures must be taken in the use of assessments. So, no they are not the Holy Grail nor are they a wholly failure. Assessments are designed to be used in conjunction with the entire hiring process of implementing good search techniques, establishing performance standards, using good interviewing techniques, reference checking, and drug testing. Here are some other ideas to consider.
A “new trend" is the rehiring of employees. In fact, one small study reveals that hiring a CEO for the second time can result in higher stock performance over the immediate predecessor. The word “new” is in quotes as in the hotel industry, for example, this has been fairly common over the years and someone who leaves a hotel as your bus person or housekeeper, could very well return in a couple of years as your general manager. I’ve been rehired twice, once by a hotel and once by a utility company. While this may be a “new” trend, a point is made in an article in HR Magazine that it is becoming more frequent. Why is this? I’m glad you asked.
This is yet another trend in the wonderful world of work that we can blame on the younger generations. They figured out that the gold watch is not really worth all that much for a lifetime of loyal work. The younger generations change jobs and careers like some people change socks…frequently. This phenomenon has created yet another phenomenon referred to in the article as an “alumni” of an organization. Here’s how it works.