To drive performance, manage the whole employee
The term “human resources management” is essential in business. But have you noticed that the majority of the literature about the topic focuses on the “resources” and the “management” aspects but barely addresses the “human” element? As a result, most managers see their employees as resources to be managed, and not as a whole person that can contribute so much more.
Managing the whole person means acknowledging that everyone is multi-dimensional and has numerous roles to balance in life—all of which affect job performance. However, this goes much deeper than simply work-life balance. It’s about recognizing all aspects of an employee to ensure a work-life “fit” that benefits the company and each individual. In fact, when you focus on the whole person rather than just on an employee’s work performance, you build more meaningful connections with employees, which results in greater loyalty and productivity. Following are some suggestions for better managing the whole employee.
See the input, not just the output, of each employee.
When managing the whole person, you need to look beyond the person’s job description. Look beyond the output (the deadlines, the expectations, and the day-to-day job duties) and start looking at the input factors, as these determine the quality of the output.
Input factors are the drivers and drainers in the employees’ lives that affect their job performance. Some typical input factors include:
- The employee’s best time of day to get work done
- What’s going on in the employee’s family
- The employee’s physical, mental, and emotional health
- Other stressors the employee has, such as being a caregiver to aging parents, being pregnant, being the only income-earner in the home, etc
- What community or hobby events the employee is committed to
Basically, it’s about paying attention to all of the different drivers and drainers of what motivates employees to either perform at the level of acceptable performance, to go above and beyond an acceptable level of performance, or to underperform to expectations. Because all of the various inputs affect the overall output, being aware of the input makes good business sense.
Acknowledge that everyone is multi-dimensional.
Many managers believe that finding out about their employees’ lives outside of the work role is intrusive. They don’t want to ask personal questions for fear of appearing nosey. The good news is that you don’t have to ask questions to find out about people. You simply have to acknowledge the clues that are all around you.
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