I had a new client come to me recently because they needed help. They had a strong vision, a great team and one of the most important things in the work that I do – a genuine desire to create a great workplace.

They had a lot of initiatives in place but something just wasn’t quite right and they couldn’t understand why.
Our solution? Working through a process to define their performance ecosystem.

Now I’m no biologist – far from it. So let me explain how an ecosystem relates to HR and performance. An ecosystem is a group of interconnected components, formed by the interaction of a community of elements within their environment.

In HR, it’s about how each one of your people and culture initiatives interact with each other to help form your culture and drive the objectives of the business. The initiatives could be anything from your performance reviews, to your communication structures, even down to your Friday afternoon wind-down drinks.

There are some fundamental elements of getting your performance ecosystem to operate efficiently and sustainably. All of your people and culture initiatives should tick the following boxes:

  • Link back to your vision and business objectives
    • if your business has strong vision, mission and values, make sure you benchmark performance against these by including them in your role descriptions and performance reviews
    • if you want to increase communication and have a team on the same page regarding expectations, consider having less formal performance conversations more regularly
  • Reflect the culture of the business
    • make sure this your culture is reflected in your frameworks, from a basic aesthetic point of view as well as in practice. For example, if you want to have a fun and vibrant culture don’t have five page policies dictating your rules, or a lifeless induction process
  • Have intention and communicate as such
    • everything you do with regards to your people should have a purpose – if it doesn’t (and isn’t adding value) you should question why it’s happening. This is important to make sure you aren’t just doing something for the sake of it (or just because another business does)
    • further to this, it’s important to make sure your team understand the purpose of what you’re doing and how it’s linked back to your ecosystem. Do you team think that Friday afternoon drinks are for letting off steam and starting the weekend early? Or is it actually about celebrating the successes of the week and building a stronger, collaborative culture

So, back to my client. What we were able to do was workshop what people and culture initiatives they had in place and how they were ticking each of the boxes. We also looked at new ideas to really drive their culture and vision. Once this was all in place, we rolled the performance ecosystem out to the team, who now understand and can articulate how each of the HR functions interact with each other and how they are linked to the vision of the business.

Author: wattsnext Group
The wattsnext Group blog is a compilation of ideas and expertise from the entire team, past and present with a few added gems from guest authors from time to time. With this collaborative approach, we can provide you with a broader perspective and high-level expertise across the small business landscape.