Staying Human In A Tech-Driven Business World

The world is not only changing but the pace of change is accelerating because of the rapid advances in technology across many domains. The rate of return on assets of US firms is only one-quarter of what it was in 1965. Business organizations are fewer and less able to seize the economic benefits of their actions. In our technology-enabled world in which innovation is key, it’s with great heartbreak that only 11 percent of employees are passionate about their work. It is also a major performance problem for businesses that depend on employee passion for imagination and innovation. Getting Human Resources right by staying human in a tech-driven business world is an imperative today.

Here are some actions you can take to increase the probability that your human resources team is a difference maker and builds relationship capital for your business:

  • Employ a human resources (HR) leader as soon as possible in the expansion of your business. The suitable HR leader in a company of 25 is probably not the suitable HR in a company of 2,500. On the other hand, there are exceptions to this rule, but typically you will need more knowledge and skill in the HR leadership role as your firm expands.
  • Have your HR leader report directly to the CEO. Do not file the HR leader underneath your CFO, COO, VP Ops, VP Admin, or General Counsel. The CEO has a difficult time, as it is, in understanding “reality” of what is occurring at the firm as it is. Putting someone between them and their cultural leader/thermostat is a bad idea. Plus the optics are terrible. Your hierarchical management structure communicates to your workers about what you value and what you do not. Your people are watching.
  • One CEO of a top-performing company shared that his HR leader was his most important senior executive. He stated that she was his “business partner.” That’s a great place to get to if you can get there. After all, what is more significant to sustaining success than your team?
  • Do not make your HR function a recruiting process alone. Obviously, HR needs to help the company hire people. And indeed it must assist in transitioning out those who have to depart the business. But HR functions that act primarily as on-boarding and off-boarding functions are not very good at HR and are not strategic to the long-term health of your company.
  • Do make your HR capability about culture and leadership above all other responsibilities. Many HR leaders called “our culture carrier.” And HR functions should be guaranteeing that everyone is getting feedback on their performance and development goals, including the CEO. Business organizations that share feedback top to bottom with respect and professionalism are great places to work and are high performers as well.
  • Create a company guidebook that shares the guiding principles or shared values that guide behavior of the workforce. This is critical that this is shared early and often. It is great if you can start with your values, clearly laid out for everyone, and then lay out the consequences in what happens if they are not practiced.
  • Create an excellent employee onboarding process. Firms that take the time to effectively onboard new employees are better places to work and perform better. Onboarding should be much more than “here’s your laptop, here’s your desk, here’s your boss.” It should be at least a few weeks of getting ingrained in the values, culture, systems, processes, and rules. It should be learning about every part of the organization, the current operating plan, strategic priorities, management team, and more. Doing it effectively is not easy but it provides excellent returns. Having senior leaders attend the on-boarding sessions make a powerful statement to your new employees.

Leaders across the world proclaim that their workers are a strategic asset. When asking a CEO of one the largest private banks in the United States how he measured this relationship asset, he did not have an answer. There are no current operational accounting measures of Relationship Capital (RC) on the balance sheet. And therein lies the rub. How can leaders design, shape, and operate a high performance culture without this intangible asset being measured. Business leaders require open standards of relationship capital in order to guide their progress.

Accounting for Relationship Capital (RC) Elevates Culture and HR

Even your most purpose-based star performers need to be acknowledged. Capturing their kept-commitments earns Relationship Capital or “RC”. Accounting for RC through p2p feedback and appreciation only reinforces the culture of respect your have for them along with financial rewards and other recognition programs you have already in place.

  • RC is about sharing your made and kept commitments with others and having others share their perceptions of your proactive trustworthiness by crediting or debiting your account with Relationship Capital (RC).
  • It is less about Hierarchy. An RC Interaction is most effective as a peer-to-peer process between people from such key stakeholders such as buyers, sellers, suppliers, and partners.
  • The key stakeholders mentioned above are members of an “ecosystem”.
  • Earning RC is a reward for building making & keeping commitments and building positive goodwill and effective collaboration.
  • The RC process can be hyper-connected and hyper-transparent. It is your decision how to implement with your business model.
  • Organizational cultures of the Do-The-Right-Thing Mindset already earn and build relationship capital. They are just not accounting for it. The natural next step is to capture RC when earned and credit it to the leader’s RC account and roll it up across the organizational structure.
  • Having an ecosystem of stakeholders passionate about consistently earning RC with each other in their interactions provides a powerful force for greater engagement and innovation.
  • The principles and process for earning Relationship Capital (RC) provide a platform that integrates purpose, principles, and profit that is a competitive advantage to those firms who do not build strong high trust cultures.

The peer recognition and reward of Relationship Capital (RC) is an organization’s culture in action supported by time-tested principles that the professional community agrees to follow.

Rewarding Relationship Capital With PE-ER and Game Design

PE-ER (Performing Excellence-Engaging Recognition) is a p2p commitment management and appreciation software-as-a-service (SaaS). It leverages gamification techniques to recognize, reward, and appreciate peers. Building trust and credibility by earning Relationship Capital or “RC” is critical to achieving the benefits and reducing the difficulties with in-person teams or virtual teams. Whether you are a large enterprise, small business, or solopreneur, garnering more p2p feedback on performance and appreciation from your teammates, customers, and partners is the source of distinction and long-term competitive advantage.


Today, business leaders and their organizations are accelerating the broad adoption of digital technologies to transform their business processes at a scale hardly imagined just a few short years ago. The efficiencies, competitive pressures, and benefits to the bottom line are just too compelling to ignore. This digital transformation is having profound effects on organizational culture. Technology innovation is speeding up and employees need to transform their mindsets and behaviors to take advantage of these amazing digital capabilities. Getting Human Resources right has never been more important as it is today to enabling sustaining distinction and success.


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