Wednesday 17 June 2015

#EconTalent CEB on Enterprise Contribution

I've been following the CEB's findings on enterprise contribution for several years, often through presentations at previous Economist Talent conferences.

So in 2012, I think, they first noted that the proportion of work which is collaborative rather than individual in nature had increased over the previous decade from 20 to 50% - regardless of job level, job type or industry.  Given this shift, we now need people to be enterprise contributors rather than individual task performance.

Enterprise contribution is a combination of individual task performance and network performance.  Network performance isn’t about having 1000 friends on Facebook, it’s not the same as networking, it’s using and contributing to the success of others and the broader organisation.  It’s about the extent to which people use ideas, best practices, the insight of others for their own performance.  And contribute their insight to drive the success of others and the broader enterprise.

Brian Kropp at CEB has also been talking about this recently, suggesting that “The formula for great employee performance has changed forever. It is no longer just a case of doing well against your individual tasks. Those who work with and through others effectively are able to achieve far better results than those who work hard but with their heads down – ignoring what happens around them”.

His suggestion is that focusing on individual employee performance will only achieve a 3-5 percent improvement. However, enabling effective collaboration can boost profit growth by 11% per employee – with the average revenue per employee rising by £10,500.

So I was pleased to have another presentation from Clare Moncrieff at this year's Talent conference.

The level of contribution has apparently now gone up slightly since 2012, though the bigger shift has been the proportion of the workforce who are acting as enterprise contributors - up from 17 to 23% globally (but just 11 to 13% in EMEA!)

This includes a 50% increase in involvement in decision making compared to even three years ago.  A half of us collaborate with at least 10 people and one third with 20.

The issue is that we’re not holding people accountable for network performance eg 83% of employees’ performance objectives are based on individual tasks.  And two thirds of people receiving the highest performance ratings aren’t enterprise contributors.

A lot of this is down to leaders as they have a particularly critical role - 37% of people don't think they have the leaders needed for the required contribution.

I agree with all these points and also think they are important though I am probably a little less focused on leaders who I think are less critical to network than to individual performance, or at least the leaders need to act in a different way.  But perhaps that’s why people are saying they don’t have the right leaders.

I also talked to Clare at the end of the session.  During the panel she’s been talking about millennials and I remembered one of her comments from Changeboard’s Future Talent conference earlier in the year.  Apparently millennials are more not less competitive than older generations eg they are more keen to compare their performance agains others.  That has to put an additional challenge onto network performance.

Clare suggested millennials can still support network performance but they need to see the impact of their contribution on others eg to have a unique position in delivering to a bigger outcome and with others responsible for other parts of the outcomes.  Yes, although I still think there’s an issue here.  Although actually, I think they’re probably just so competitive because that’s what they think businesses expect from them.  Once we explain it's collaboration that's important, I think we can influence their perspective.

It’s a bit like with Matthew Schuyler later.  He suggested millennials won’t want to stay with them for long.  I think that’s more about them not expecting to be able to.  if companies used more of the new practices discussed by Fiona Cannon from the Agile Future Forum later, I think they’d be able to shift this.  The same for collaboration vs competitiveness too.

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