Curing one of the deadly diseases to create a workforce of the future

By James Harris, guest writer at ProFinda.

Thirty years ago Dr.W. Edwards Deming enlightened us with his “5 Deadly Diseases” – what he considered to be the biggest barriers faced by management when improving effectiveness and performance within organizations:

  • Lack of consistency and purpose
  • Emphasis on short term profits
  • Annual ratings of performance
  • Mobility of Management
  • Use of visible figures only

Many companies are attempting to cure these diseases most recently the “annual rating of performance”. This can been seen within companies such as GE, Accenture, Adobe, GAP who are all moving towards enabling more frequent conversations, and allowing managers and colleagues to share feedback on a real-time basis rather than just during daunting yearly reviews.

It is mind-boggling that it has taken so long to learn that performance reviews focus on the negatives which are demoralising to employees, and have a wider impact on the organisation as a whole by increasing turnover and the costs associated with it. Whilst it discourages team work, it also annihilates any form of reciprocity within the workplace. People see helping others as improving their colleague’s image instead of their own and not increasing their “value” to the company.

This needs to change in order to implement the workforce of the future, where reciprocity is key and there is no fear of an annual review pitting you against one another in an arbitrary and unjust system. What is needed are tools to facilitate more efficient employee collaboration, and where every interaction is captured and the data is utilized in real time contributing to overall company performance.

Real-time feedback is the true currency of trust among employees and it needs to be embraced by the largest companies to cure this disease that has been stagnating effectiveness and improvements within companies for over 30 years.

About the author

James Harris is guest writer at ProFinda - connect with him on LinkedIn