Do you always understand the reasons behind your supervisors’ actions? How do you know that your own decisions are well understood and accepted by your peers and subordinates? The Social Management Movement will facilitate inclusive leadership, increase decision-making transparency, build more trust and reinforce common vision within enterprise.
In classical, hierarchical organizations, only limited amount of information is disclosed to employees about issues affecting them directly. For example, salaries are kept secret and often, employees waste energy on pondering how their salary is compared to that of their peers. Sometimes, performance measurement criteria are unclear. In companies without established systems for peer feedback, employees usually wonder what others think of them and they miss the opportunity to learn from one and other.
On the other hand, managers are uncertain how their decisions are perceived throughout the organization. Feedback usually comes late and managers miss the chance to fix the issues immediately. Many times the decisions are misunderstood (probably due to a lack of information) and create buzz between employees that affects productivity and morale.
Traditionally, there have been clear barriers to open communications among employees and between managers and their teams. For example:
· Lack of channels to have open dialogues
· Fear to reveal ‘sensitive’ information
· Excess of ego on the managers’ side
· Low trust level between management and employee
We propose a Social Management Model, a people-oriented model aimed at humanizing the information and the communications that flow in every company.
This model is based on three pillars:
- Real-time feedback
A less-than-100-percent commitment to the previous pillars has a very negative impact in the satisfaction thus productivity of the employees, which negatively impacts the performance of a company.
To create a transparent ecosystem, a company needs to develop open communications. They help to understand decisions, to make people contribute to solve problems and to be more engaged in the company’s objectives. With this model, all common ‘black boxes’ that are in place in all the corporations will disappear, and the information that was kept as secret as possible would be revealed to everyone else.
In order to develop trust, transparency is a necessary but not sufficient condition. The working environment should turn into another one in which honesty and collaboration are part of the deepest values of the company. Employees have to trust the companies where they work in. It is impossible to achieve if you don’t find a collaborative environment where the rest of the work mates are honest and trustful.
Real-time feedback is a must in order to increase trust and transparency. It means that the company should have in place the necessary processes and tools to let the employees provide feedback to others in a direct, honest and constructive way.
We propose three concrete actions to put this model in place:
- Open decision making process: The managers will continue making their decisions but they will have to explain them to their respective teams, who will openly state if the ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ them. This way, the managers will have real-time feedback on what their teams think about the way they are managing and could react to that.
- Transparent evaluation and promotion system: At least once a year, there will be a 360-degree evaluation of the employees and, as a result, some of them will be promoted. The results of the evaluation and the reasons why an employee is going to be promoted will be public, so that everyone else can understand what they need to improve or change in order to be promoted. In addition, the salaries and bonuses of everyone in the company will be made public.
- Global communications: In the new company culture there will be a policy of: ‘Listening first, acting second’, not only with clients, but also with suppliers and among employees. At the same time, the communications will be humanized, forgetting about ‘company -> client’ or ‘boss -> subordinate’ type of communications and creating new ‘human -> human’ ones.
Many initiatives that the management team pushes onto its employees are implemented poorly. Lack of trust and justifications of managerial decisions in the bottom of the organizational hierarchy creates resistance that makes implementation efforts futile.
SMM will provide a framework that facilitates communication and brings transparency behind the reasoning of managers and employees alike. By providing details regarding particular decisions made, the champions and supporters of the SMM will be able to get a buy-in from their colleagues, get feedback and further facilitate the alignment within their respective enterprises.
Managers will understand the reasons and will get a better feel for the acceptance of their decisions by the rest of their companies. Employees will be empowered by making their voice heard, and will also gain trust and become more motivated seeing the fair, honest and well-reasoned decision-making approach of their supervisors.
For example, an organisation can utilize a social network system where every employee can start a discussion, provide personal comments and seek feedback. The participation in the system will be voluntary and managers can decide whether to follow up on the comments made by others.
The majority of people today opt out for the grapevine (rumours) within the organization to get the feel on the approval rate of their decisions and performance. Most feedback is hidden underneath the surface, resulting in lack of buy-in among the team members or latent discontent. The SMM will bring the differences among the members to the surface, will open dialogue and therefore build trust across the organization. The system will not challenge current hierarchy neither it would jeopardize the power distribution within the organization. Instead, it will result in higher transparency, alignment and trust. Building 100% consensus is not an objective; creating open system for feedback across the organization is.
1. The hack can be implemented in small organizational where the size of teams is so small that people are anyway connected to each other. It could be interesting to see that how in such scenarios SMM can help formalize the process of providing, receiving and acting on feedback.
2. In large cooperates, SMM could be implemented on pilot basis within layers of management. For example a SMM platform could be first started between top management and middle management. Top management is used to interacting, working and making decisions closely with middle management. Therefore top management`s comfort level on working with a SMM will be higher. Once they get used to it, SMM can percolate down to lower levels.
3. We can also implement SMM in smaller teams or in one country first before moving to others. The success of a smaller-scale implementation would help others to understand the impact of SMM and it also allows opportunities to fine-tune the system for improvement.