Added by Craig Steel
The future of work - Part 4/5

Based on our research, we believe most organisations want to do the right thing by their people. 

Based on our research, we believe most organisations want to do the right thing by their people. 

Equally, every employee wants to be relevant and ultimately valued.

However, because the practices companies use were designed for a former era, they undermine the relationship they could otherwise enjoy with their people. Most organisations remain focused on the ‘management of people as a resource’ rather than their contribution or ‘success’ as a person.


‘Just Another Worker’

When staff feel that management regards them as little more than tools, it reminds them that the business doesn’t trust them. This negates their enthusiasm and aspiration to grow, and the resulting discontent stifles both innovation and collaboration. As a result, organisations aren’t performing to their potential despite aspirations or effort.

Additionally, organisations still don’t use performance-focused Operating Models, meaning their leaders are forced to try and figure things out for themselves leading to the formation of fiefdoms and unhealthy interdepartmental competition. 


A roadmap to success

If an organisation doesn’t have an agreed way of doing things, individuals are forced to come up with their own methods. Because this impedes productivity (as it creates differences that can’t be leveraged), leaders look to ‘established’ practices to try and improve their people’s performance, which is why they presume a significant part of their job is to ‘supervise’ their subordinates. 

Because supervision wrecks engagement, organisations try to fix it by either lifting their managers’ ‘coaching’ and ‘communication’ skills (hence the monumental rise in ‘leadership’ training) or by relegating the performance and cultural responsibility to a department. This not only results in a plethora of policies to gain compliance, it also counteracts their efforts to improve their ‘culture’. Hence, both executives and frontline staff remain disillusioned. 


The need for business transformation

The vast majority of Chief Executives we’ve spoken to over the past decade can’t understand why their business isn’t humming when they’ve actioned the recommendations of their HR department. However, what most HR Directors fail to understand is that driving performance and culture is the role of the CE. The role HR (or Performance and Capability) should play is to act as the custodians of the practices the business deploys, thereby ensuring everyone in the business experiences the benefits.

If the role of workplace performance and culture is pulled away from the CE (and their leadership team), it makes a mockery of the function. It positions it as an ‘add-on’, as people see it as sitting ‘outside’ the CE’s decree. This results in people paying lip service to the process, as they see managers doing things ‘because they have to’ rather than focusing on their capability and contribution to the business. Many staff we’ve spoken to don’t think what they’re doing is right, but they know they don’t have a voice to object. 


The issue with engagement

The rise in staff ‘engagement’ measures companies have adopted to try and address employee disconnection has inadvertently trivialised the process. To staff, it appears to be a metric that organisations are chasing to demonstrate their appeal rather than a reality they want to get right.

Most worryingly though, is the fact that organisations are failing to recognise the stress their people are experiencing is a direct result of these practices rather than a consequence of increasing workloads due to the modern and competitive world we now work in. 

They assume the way to fix it is to either improve their managers ‘effectiveness’, or offer ‘resilience’ training to help their staff cope with the demand. But based on our experience assisting many of Australasia’s best businesses, it is clear to us that people are not the problem. Instead, it is the defunct practices organisations are continuing to use to manage them. 

Because these processes have never been questioned, nor a viable alternative presented, companies assume they just have to muscle their way through it despite the turmoil they are causing; hence the case for Vantaset™.


This article is part of our white paper ‘The future of work: A performance-focused insight’. To request a copy, please email us at



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