Thoughts about hr and management in the real world – extra information I couldn't fit in my books!.
Sunday night and I was in the Frog and Rosbif (one of the English pubs in Bordeaux). The atmosphere was building for the big game and there was chanting and singing. When England lost, the whole pub (except for one small group of Italians hiding in the corner) were just so dejected. People were crying. Even the bartender was desolate, standing there in just an England flag and his undies (he’d stripped down in excitement during half time).
Walking home, I really did feel gutted about England losing and didn’t get much sleep that night.
Now here’s where it relates to HR and management. Later that night and the next day, I got the full picture of Italy. How they had won 33 games in a row. That their manager is one of the best international coaches. That the Italy team have been in finals games several times and have way more experience playing (their average age is 28, England’s squad is 24).
I realised that if I’d known all that – I would have felt far more prepared for England losing. In fact I would have felt incredibly proud at how well England played despite the odds against them.
And it got me thinking – how well do we communicate both sides of an issue when we’re sending out an HR email, or a manager emailing their team.
Performance reviews for example. The focus of most comms is on getting them done because employees need regular feedback. Do we ever point out the other side? That in exit interviews, employees we didn’t want to leave – say they didn’t get enough feedback. That managers who don’t do performance reviews have lower engagement from their team? That in engagement surveys employees who think the reviews aren’t fair won’t stay with the company? (or whatever statistics actually apply in your organisation).
We point out the positives of doing something, but do we point out the negatives too? If we show both sides it can help people see what needs to happen more clearly.
Algorithms are controlling the view we get of the world through our social media feeds. Trumps win in 2016 came out of nowhere for democrats who had been seeing articles saying Hilary was great and there was no chance she wouldn’t win. A more balanced view could have meant more people came out to vote.
I’ll certainly be making sure in our Elephant Newsletter from now on when we share our short and sweet summaries of case law and workplace stories, we point out what to consider – both the positive and negative impacts.
I want to make sure we look at both sides. Will you too?
Angela Atkins is the co-founder of Elephant Group who now operate in NZ, Australia, the UK, Canada and the US. She is the author of the Bites series of books and the Management Bites training programme. She now lives in the south west of France, renovating a 200+ year old house and enjoying exploring the fabulous city of Bordeaux.