The measurement of “human things” in the company

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The awareness that companies are maturing on the strategic nature of socio-psychological variables is not yet accompanied by an adequate programming and intervention methodology, similar in terms of clarity and possibility of verification to what happens for a business plan, a marketing strategy, a financial diligence, a diagnosis of organizational efficiency or a definition of optimal warehouse and retail flows. In these fields, companies, over two centuries, have developed effective criteria, rules and methods: the same has not yet happened for the human side of the company, entrusted to training spaces that are often rhapsodic and often influenced by current trends.

The reality is that corporate organization is a complex knowledge. In order to give themselves a manageable order, companies originally excluded the human factor from their variables, also because it was less evident at the time. When the relevance of the human factor began to emerge, the game was over, the organizational culture was producing exceptional fruits and there was no need to change the premises. It is simply natural that we thought of getting by with tactical interventions, makeshift patches, training additives as added value. It was a priority not to jam a car that was running fast and successfully.

The fact is that today we can no longer afford this omission. The need to design a plastic and flexible organization requires a redefinition of the organizational culture, born between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, because the needs of customers, employees and collaborators have changed profoundly. This also translates into the need to recruit and develop people’s constructive energies by tuning them to the new conditions of doing business and work. To do this, it is necessary to consider the human factor as a strategic business variable and not an added value. And to really do it we need to move away from a generic advertising “neo-humanism” and build, also for this dimension, methods and models that are equally effective as those generated for the production-financial-commercial dimensions of the company.

To go in this direction, it is good to have sensors/tools capable of monitoring the roots of these capabilities, identifying the areas most in need of evolutionary interventions, defining sensitive company segments in a differential way, organizing learning groups in an organically structured way. And, finally, being able to detect the effectiveness of the interventions planned to correct the course. People develop their potential by learning and understanding. Only in this way do they become collaborators and participants in an enterprise and not mere executors. Efficiently organizing the contents and methods of their learning is strategic for the company and helps to strengthen their feeling of belonging and cooperation. Methodically identifying the contents in which people’s expectations and company needs meet and composing optimal learning groups is a good thing for the company and for the people.

A compass for the human factor

Strategic systematicity requires method and criteria. The point is that if today we recognize that the “soft” variables are decisive for the efficiency of the company and for its necessary evolution, then we must do what was done in the past for economic-management-management knowledge. We must give ourselves a method and one of the components of the method is measurement: not as a magic key but as a tool for understanding, a tool for focusing on questions and critical issues. Compass for governing the action and checking the route. Of course, managers know that these are “frameworks” to be developed in a flexible and sometimes creative way: but this does not detract from, but rather adds value to, the possibility of having tools that help introduce method, order and operational organizeability in a hyper- complex. Ultimately it is a question of including the social sciences in the company project and in the culture of its managers: exactly as was done in the past for the economic, management or marketing sciences.