Monday, August 9, 2010

Reflections on Self-Selection Part I

Today I reviewed a whole bunch of slides depicting the employee lifecycle for inscrutable reasons of my own and two things became clear to me:

1) We do more 'to' employees than they are able to do for themselves.

2) This needs to change.

Consider your basic employee lifecycle:

plan -->source --> hire --> on board --> evaluate --> compensate --> develop --> separate

How involved is the employee in each of these steps? Let me guess: Somewhat involved during sourcing, on boarding, evaluation and termination. Minimally involved in the compensation and development decision-making process.

Throughout the entire employee lifecycle, others decide whether the employee has leadership potential, what career development opportunities the employee will have, what rewards they are eligible for, etc.

Essentially, this means that employees 'win' by pleasing others, not by developing their own strengths or pursuing their own interests. Of course, these aren't mutually exclusive and it's certainly good to please others.

The problem is that if employees win primarily by pleasing, conformity quickly becomes your company's most valued asset. Which will only take the company so far.

There's a lot of evidence that autonomy is one of the biggest motivators, which makes sense because people work harder for themselves than for others.

If we want to motivate people to excel instead of just to please, maybe we need to break away from top-down talent management and find ways to make career development, rewards, and leadership opportunities more self-selecting.

In other words, bottoms up.

Picture courtesy of paperglueetc.

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