How to Design a More People-Centered Organization
Sponsored by Performica
In today’s world of work, it’s easy to find two very different types of people — self-promoting “squeaky wheels” whose voices are often the loudest, as well as those who quietly deliver without much recognition. Both bring something to the table. Still, leaders often judge an employee’s value based primarily on their visibility. This kind of bias is a critical reason why it’s important to build a people-centered organization.
But what can leaders do to better understand everyone’s true contributions? And how can they use these insights to develop more engaged, productive teams?
This issue matters, not only now, but for the future of work. That’s why I want to dig deeper with an HR tech innovator and entrepreneur who understands what it takes to design a more productive, people-first work culture.
Meet Our Guest: Alex Furman
Please join me in welcoming Alex Furman, CEO and Co-Founder at Performica, a people analytics platform provider. Previously, Alex co-founded Invitae, where he was responsible for growing the company’s collaborative culture of innovation at scale.
His first-hand experience as a senior business leader with technology expertise makes Alex an ideal guest for this discussion. Join us as we explore how you can leverage technology to build a more equitable and effective work environment…
Designing a More People-Centered Organization
Welcome, Alex! How do you define a people-centered approach to organizational design?
For a truly human-centric organization, we need to understand how people actually operate in the context of getting work done. Historically, we haven’t done that. We’ve thought in terms of org charts, business units, profit centers, and vertical silos.
But people are our greatest asset. And they’re social. The dynamic, cross-functional way people actually work doesn’t show up on org charts.
So to optimize people as an asset, we need to make sure everyone is seen, heard, valued, supported. That means moving away from analyzing org chart boxes and looking through the lens of humans working together.
Finding Hidden Influencers
You say teams rely heavily on “stealth influencers.” Could you tell us more?
As the head of people at a rapidly growing tech company in 2014, I wanted to see who was actually working together in real time. So I asked our engineers to connect our internal systems and create an org graph.
Soon it was clear that we had been over-celebrating those who were good at promoting themselves. Meanwhile, we were under-recognizing quieter “non-leaders” who were actually stronger influencers.
It was humbling. But that was the beginning of a solution to an important problem in the corporate world.
Tech’s Role in a People-Centered Organization
How can technology help leaders build a more people-centered organization?
We all know people are a company’s biggest asset. At most companies, 75-85% of expenses involve things like payroll, office space, travel and entertainment.
But people are also our biggest liability. We see this when cultures go sour and top performers start leaving. It becomes hard to attract talent and this can cripple a company.
But truly knowing your people and how they work is like a superpower. For example, one of our customers is going through significant change management. In this company of 1000 people, we identified only 24 people who are driving about 50% of employee sentiment and engagement.
So we’ve worked with senior management to target their interventions through that group of influential people. Now we’re seeing a massive and very measurable positive effect.
For more insights from Alex about how you can build a more people-centered organization, listen to this full podcast episode. And be sure to subscribe to the #WorkTrends Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.
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