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HR Tech Has Changed but People Have Not

HR Tech Has Changed but People Have Not

Story Highlights

  • Many companies have gathered abundant workplace data
  • Data alone often fail to produce measurable workplace change
  • To improve outcomes, data must be paired with a deep understanding of human nature

You can't do business today without data. Leaders and managers are swimming (and sometimes drowning) in data.

The dream for many HR leaders is a single, unified employee experience platform that will finally wrangle all these disparate streams of data and digital interactions into one manageable hub.

We all want more insights, faster, and in a more user-friendly format. We all want to know what's going right, what's going wrong and what needs our attention the most.

But sometimes we get so caught up in the apps and the AI that we forget why we're doing this at all. We think that if we throw more digital tools at a problem the solutions will -- somehow -- emerge. Gallup isn't an annual survey company. Our belief is anchored in having the right data, and not just data for the sake of having it.

And yet, too often our so-called "solutions" are just more organized ways of measuring the status quo.

The technology around us has changed, but our human hardware -- our emotional and motivational drives -- has not.

I would argue any business initiative should ultimately increase the per person productivity of your people. It should enable people to be their best selves at work. It should unleash human potential in the direction of your organization's mission and vision. Whatever the digital tools you invest in, they should do that.

In other words, the goal is to get more work -- and better work -- done.

For most organizations, this means change. Not just changing numbers on a dashboard but changing real workplace behavior.

Data insights are one thing, but behavior change is entirely different.

Consider this fact: Only 37% of employees strongly agree that they know what their company stands for and what makes their products better than their competitors.

This means most of your employees probably don't know how their job connects to your unique value proposition -- and ultimately to the success of your business.

That's a powerful discovery. But the solution to that problem won't come from more data. Fundamentally, it's about human psychology. It's about belief, motivation, empowerment, development.

The technology around us has changed, but our human hardware -- our emotional and motivational drives -- has not.

Everyone wants an "easy button" when it comes to managing people. But people are complicated, and quality human relationships -- the foundation for engagement and high performance -- are messy.

Don't get me wrong: The right platform is critical for success. But your data dashboard needs to combine cutting-edge data analytics with a deep understanding of human psychology in the workplace. That's why we created Gallup Access -- an easy-to-use, employee-data platform that also shares decades of Gallup wisdom about employee psychology and motivation.

The holy grail is authentic behavioral and organizational change.

There's a difference between having a scoreboard and scoring more runs.

Winning organizations don't just know the score, they have mastered authentic behavioral and cultural change. In short, they know how to move people.

We often meet with leaders of large organizations who have all the data they could dream of -- and yet, they struggle to create sustainable change to get the results they want.

They analyze, dissect and discover what needs to happen. But successful organizational change still seems impossible. Leaders intuitively recognize this gap -- the gap between data insights and authentic change.

This is where the expertise in the science of behavioral and organizational change is vital.

Organizations can change. In fact, managers who meet with their teams to discuss data collected and identify actions the team can take show double the growth in engagement compared with teams that do not define any actions after survey results (6% vs. 3% improvement).

Gallup has spent decades observing, recording, training and coaching best practices from the world's best companies. What we've discovered is that the real levers for behavioral change are within human nature.

How is change possible?

  • Listen to your best people.
  • Train your managers to be coaches.
  • Help employees identify their unique gifts.
  • Create a culture of recognition.
  • Use intrinsic motivation for high performance.

We have integrated all our best thinking and best practices into Gallup Access so that managers and leaders can see our scientifically-rigorous insights, matched with their own team's data. We combine world-class analytics and advice so that every leader can make real change happen.

You can have real, proven, substantial organizational change. Our Gallup Great Workplace Award Winners have done it. But it starts with understanding the hidden drivers of human nature.

Your people can flourish. Partner with Gallup to meet your employees' human needs:


Ed O'Boyle is the Global Workplace and Marketplace Practice Leader and an Executive Consultant at Gallup.

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