When asked, ‘How healthy is your business?’, most people immediately look at their bottomline.
But unfortunately that’s a bit like your GP saying, “You don’t look sick,” without running any tests.
Appearances can be deceiving and sometimes you need to dig deeper to understand your business’ current health status. Like a malignant tumour, some problems don’t become visible until it’s too late.
That’s why a business health check is a vital process. Having a deep understanding of what’s working so that you can build on those aspects is just as valuable as understand where the issues lie.
Read on to find out about the seven areas you can assess for a healthier organisation.
1. Heart = Purpose
“Purpose is not just a fad or feel-good notion. There’s ample evidence to demonstrate it is actually good for your shareholders: the report stated that purpose-led companies outperformed the S&P500 by 10 times between 1996-2011.”
– Ernst & Young, ‘Winning with Purpose’
It should come as no surprise that employees working for a company that demonstrates a commitment to a higher purpose beyond simply making money feel better about the work that they do.
Given the amount of time we spend at work, people are becoming increasingly attracted to companies they can identify with and feel proud to work for.
Understanding what a company stands for helps create a sense of belonging and it’s this sense of belonging that counteracts the growing social disconnection people are experiencing because of phenomena such as social media.
Healthy organisations stand for something by giving back to the world by supporting individuals and going out of their way to support the planet.
2. Eyesight = People
“Organisations that succeed, put their own people first, even above customers, because they recognise that their employees are the key to creating long-term value.”
– Christine Porath, Professor, Georgetown University
The two things most employees say they want, in addition to a pay cheque, is respect and recognition.
The way people are treated while they’re at work is critical to how productive they are, as well as their overall mental and physical health.
By prioritising the wellbeing of employees, organisations will attract and retain star performers, and reduce the amount of absenteeism.
3. Hearing = Customers
“Fulfilment of a human need lies at the heart of every business. To design a sustainable, successful business you must deeply understand people’s behaviours and motivations, beyond data and surveys.”
When was the last time you talked to your customers? Do you know what they like? What frustrates them? Why they choose you over your competitors? If you can’t answer these questions, you are running at a distinct disadvantage.
Humans thrive off connections and now more than ever brands and businesses must find more authentic ways to engage with customers, and ensure that connection is ongoing and consistent.
Businesses that actively listen to their customers will understand how to personalise their products based on human truths uncovered by co-creating with the customer.
4. Blood = Culture
Research suggests that when employees live and breathe the company culture, an average employee is 51 times more likely to be engaged with their work, which ultimately leads to happier employees who have increased productivity.
Anyone who has ever worked at McDonalds understands the power of culture. Within McDonalds there are systems of recognition and appraisal, as well as ongoing training, internal competitions and staff member of the month prizes. All of this means that many staff feel great about their position and prospects within the company.
Businesses that harness the power of culture will move from token gestures of community involvement to authentic participation in the lives of their employees, customers and stakeholders.
5. Bones = Growth
“Employees who are thriving, actively seek opportunities to learn and develop, experiment with new ideas to propel their learning forward, and take initiative in developing their careers.”
– Society for Human Resource Management
In the context of an organisation the ‘bones’ are the intellectual capabilities of its employees.
A demonstrated commitment to ongoing training within an organisation not only develops the growing bones of new employees, it boosts the potential of all staff members, and prevents older employees from losing bone strength.
Organisations that embrace the lifelong learning approach will move from providing old school ‘off-the-shelf’ training to delivering best-in-class thinking on a variety of topics, delivered by a vast network of experts for every employee when and where they want it.
6. Brain = Mindset
Many businesses are structured with departmental silos in place; something that invariably creates disconnection despite being under the same roof.
This lack of closeness not only breeds unhealthy rivalry but minimises collaborative thinking and collective learning.
Companies that embrace innovation and best practice thinking will put people at the heart of all decision-making, and will innovate with a growth mindset in an environment where failure is celebrated.
7. Weight = Agility
Organisations may find themselves ‘weighed-down’ with legacy operating systems or generational protocols that no longer serve them.
Just as we set goals to get back to the ‘skinnier you’, businesses need to set goals to become more nimble, able to pivot quickly, make decisions on the spot and operate using an agile approach to business.
Just taking a look at recent events helps understand what we are up against: Amazon taking out Borders, Netflix knocking Blockbusters off the face of the earth, Apple demolishing Kodak not to mention the rising mite of Google.
A move to a more agile working environment will see businesses shift to a flat management structure and operate more like mini networks. These businesses adopt lean ways of working and thrive off the relationships they build.
Organisations that undertake regular health checks – and act on their findings – look, feel and operate differently.
There is a clear distinction that runs through them which is gradually being realised as ‘human-centric’.
This means that the organisation is human-led with the focus on people. They are built with networks of teams, attention is given to employee experience, careers are redefined, learning is a top priority and culture is the glue that holds the entire operation together.
Do you want to run a health check on your business?
Click here to download the Human Transformation white paper.
Click here to download the ‘Humanator’ assessment.