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25 TH ANNIVERSARY

Quality requires a balance between hard factors (processes) and soft organizational aspects (people)

The most successful management systems such as ISO 9001, Denning Prize, EFQM, Malcolm Baldridge and Shingo Model recognise the importance of the staff individually and collectively in teams, but focus primarily on processes and systems rather than people for success.
It is widely accepted that success as a business owner or manager depends heavily on the ability to improve business performance through realising the full potential of employees.  Human Resource management has become a sophisticated and important function in most modern organisations.  However, the methodologies used are only now being captured in focused, organisation-wide management related systems.
The focus of progressive organisations, large and small, to develop their people as a key source of competitive advantage must be realised. The Kirkpatrick Model of learning sets out an example of applied research when implemented at its highest level based on four principles from: reaction, learning, behaviour to results. While Mazlow sets out the well-known five hierarchies of human needs from basic survival to self-actualisation.
A recent Harvard review stated that trust at all levels of an organisation is vital to employee engagement. Leadership style is contagious and staff will mimic a CEO / Managers leadership style. This of course can vary from dogmatic to dictatorial resulting in staff become introverted and disengaged with low morale and less interest in the workplace and the success of the organisation, to the open/ democratic leadership style which allows for open debate, where all views are heard, understood and taken on board. Where staff feel valued, they have a voice, they have input to change and improvement in both their work and workplace.
Leadership style is infectious, staff are great people watchers, often knowing the leader’s mood better than the leaders themselves.
It is now well understood that the culture of an organisation will override its strategy every time. The key for success is aligning culture with strategy, but this may be easier said than done. Where there is conflict, the leadership must engage and align organisational goals and objectives at all levels: organisation, division/department, individual so that it is clear to all staff how they individually and collectively work to enhance the success of the organisation.
Some important tools to allow you check if your organisation is operating at best practice in setting out on a journey include: Business Planning and Continuous Improvement, Effective Communication and People Engagement, Leadership and People Management, Planning of Learning and Development, Evaluation of Learning and Development, Human Resource Systems and Employee Wellbeing.
In addition, new thinking on personal value include engagement of staff in the community where the organisation resides or sells its products or services to, including volunteering, charity services, community schemes to support social responsibility. Where across divisional teams from all levels of the organisation work together in their own time to help others in need.
 
References:
 
1/. Kirkpatrick four level training evaluation model 1994
2/. Mazlow’s hierarchy of needs, 1943.
3/. Harvard Business Review.

Fergal O'Byrne

NSAI Head - Business Excellence Certification
NSAI Delegate to IQNet

NSAI Certification
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