Prescribe improvement actions

ESTIMATED READING TIME – 3:00

Learning goals for this activity

– Know why prescribing improvement actions is important to talent optimization.
– Be able to list and describe the three steps of prescribing.
– Know some questions to ask yourself to help you identify prescriptive actions.
– Recognize best practices for introducing change into an organization.
– Describe the role people data can play in anticipating resistance to change.

Why prescribing improvement actions is important to talent optimization

Prescribing improvement actions is where you plan the actions you need to take to correct the issues you discovered upon measuring and analyzing your talent metrics. Using our medical example again, prescribing is where the doctor would say “Take this blood pressure medication.” Companies that excel at talent optimization aren’t afraid to make needed organizational changes—even if doing so requires a great amount of effort and is met with resistance. It’s the only way of righting the ship and getting the results you want.

Prescribing involves the following steps:

  1. Determine the best course of action.
  2. Decide how to take action.
  3. Anticipate resistance.

1. Determine the best course of action.

The most common mistake that companies make when prescribing action is to not take any action at all. As a talent optimizer, set a goal then determine the best course of action. There will be several paths you could take. Ask yourself, “What are three strategies I could use to reach my goal?” Look at all your options and choose the most feasible tactic. Once you’ve picked a path, ask yourself, “What are five things I could do in the next 24 hours to get where I need to be?”

2. Decide how to take action.

Now that you have a list of action items, it’s time to make a rollout plan. Decide who should work on what. You’ll also want to determine whether you can fit any of these items into your existing processes; that’s the easiest route.

For example, if an individual’s engagement is low and your managers already conduct regular 1:1 sessions, they could utilize that time to investigate disengagement—and follow up with coaching possibilities or even a job redesign.

But sometimes you won’t be able to fit the remediation into your existing processes, and you’ll have to introduce something new. Whenever this is the case, be sure to schedule a team or company-wide meeting to discuss any changes you seek to make. For example, if you want to modify an aspect of your company culture, such as being more conscious of quality, that will require people to do things a new way. A special meeting to introduce this change will be most effective.

3. Anticipate resistance.

When you need to make a change that will impact the people in your organization, communicate the “why” as early as possible. Change is hard and people have emotions, so transparency is critical. Why are you making these changes? What results do you expect to see? What happens if you maintain status quo?

Making needed transformative changes can be daunting. But as a leader, you owe it to your employees to take decisive action for the good of the company. Get together with other senior leaders to pre-identify risks and areas where you anticipate you’ll experience resistance. People data helps you here; it allows you to develop communications and delivery methods tailored to the needs of your employees. This way, the details behind why you’re making the change will come across in a way that resonates with everyone.

People problems don’t just crop up on their own; they usually point to some problem within design, hire, and inspire. Let’s take a look at those three aptitudes next.

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