How Can We Make Data-Driven People And Culture Decisions

Full Transcript Below

ANNOUNCER: Breaking down everyday workplace issues and diagnosing the hidden sickness, not just the obvious symptom, our hosts, James and Coby.


COBY: Did we lose a patient?


JAMES: No, that’s just my lunch.


COBY: Hey, thanks for joining us. I’m Coby. He’s James. So let’s get started with a question. How can we make data driven people and culture decisions?


JAMES: First, I think most people are probably already sold on the idea that we should be making business decisions that are supported by data. I don’t think we’re gonna get much push back on that part of it, but I think what would be helpful is right off the bat. So let’s put a little bit of a fence around what we’re talking about in terms of people and culture data. What we wanna focus on is data that will improve organizational efficiency and the employee experience through improvements in the work environment. And I think a lot of people don’t know how to determine what kind of data we should be collecting. And this leads a lot of people, a lot of companies to really focus on employee surveys as their primary data collection activity. And while you really, you honestly, you really need that direct feedback from your employees. You’re still missing a ton of really good quality informative data that if that’s your only source of information. Now, we’ve also talked a lot about the negative aspects of surveys on this podcast several times and I don’t really want to rehash those discussions. So if you do want to get more information on kind of the dangers around relying on surveys too heavily, we’ve got other podcast episodes that will focus on that topic. You know, whether it’s employees not having psychological safety and not being able to trust the data or, you know, failure to communicate how you actually use that data. There’s a whole bunch of things that go along with that for this conversation. Let’s look at data strategies that we can use to improve organizational efficiency and the employee experience.


COBY: Yeah. So if anyone’s looking for conversations around the psychological safety and the use of it, the use of surveys and the overuse of surveys, the episodes that we have on from last season on employee engagement, both we have two episodes of both those really kind of talk about that in great detail. So, yeah, you’re right. Let’s not rehash that. But I do think there’s a good episode to point people back to that might actually be helpful. It, it was our last episode, we talked about labor value loss and the financial impact of labor challenges like an uncivil workplace disengagement, employee turnover, burnout those types of costly problems because one of the things that our big takeaway from that episode was, you know, you’re losing tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars based on these common people and culture issues. So if you’re going to do something, you need to do something that will be measurable and be practical and should be evidence based and data driven. If you wanna actually have measurable outcomes and see measurable improvement. So, you know, realizing that there is, you know, a cost that comes from not being able to do something or not, not having done something up till now is an important one. So I definitely would recommend if you haven’t heard that episode, check that one out because a lot of the things that we’re gonna talk about in this conversation are gonna be about the ways of kind of collecting different kinds of data, finding the evidence that you know, we can use to kind of help guide our decisions, but also trying to avoid some common misuses or misunderstandings around the data that we may be collecting and trying to find more practical methods to identify the problems that can be solved by using different, you know, different diagnostic tools or different processes that we are actually making decisions and making improvements in the areas that are actually gonna have the biggest ROI not just the ones that we think are probably the best place to go. I think that’s an important point to talk about too, about the fact based improvements versus just the opinion based improvements or going after the symptoms and not the sickness.


JAMES: And I mean, we should be clear and upfront. We have, we’ve developed a lot of diagnostic tools. This is what one of the core functions of what Roman 3 does when we step into an organization to provide, you know, on site, whether we’re, it’s the fractional work that we do or you know, a diagnostic consulting to really get at the root causes. There’s a ton of ways that people currently collect data and there’s a, we’ve got a ton of different tools that we use as well. But what I want to caution people that more is not always better. And I see that mistake happening a lot that we collect data all the time. We have all of this data at our disposal because we’re constantly collecting it through different means through feedback, surveys, through you know, exit interviews or whatever activities you’re using.


COBY: Yeah. The other component to add to that too is knowing really, yeah, knowing what you’re trying to solve is sometimes one of those pieces that is the most overlooked because like I said before, we often, you know, a common mistake is going after the symptoms, not the sickness. We jump into a lot of pain point relief when we’re trying to make improvements in our workplace. Like, you know, we’re having problems with employee turnover. Great example. So we try to improve our like, you know, our recruitment process because, well, obviously the people are leaving. So the people we’re bringing in are the problem. Not realizing, Well, if it’s a turnover problem is because you’re having a retention issue and retention might come from, you’re not providing people with what they need, you’re not communicating clearly, you’re not providing strong enough on boarding. And you know, if, but if we’re collecting, but if we’re not, if we’re not trying to gather that kind of information about those underlying problems that are causing the pain points that we’re having, then we’re using almost this, this, like I said, this overwhelming amount of data that’s showing us as really highlighting the pain points. And that’s something that really caution people to vote too is that if you’re doing that broad strokes, collecting all the data that you possibly can. And you know, and then you’re trying to analyze it and you’re seeing, seeing a lot of the pain points coming up, then you might realize, OK, the pain points are the things we have to focus on and prioritize, which makes logical sense, especially if you’re trying to use the data to help you guide your decisions. But if you’re not able to analyze or you’re not collecting the right kind of data or information or evidence, then you’re gonna start chasing pain points and you’re never going to get to the root cause of the, of the actual problems that are actually affecting you. Because if you don’t have a good strategy for different types of data collection or different types of strategies around the way that you’re diagnosing the issues in your workplace. I mean, that’s why we call the podcast Diagnosed The Workplace because this is a really important thing to consider is that you really want to make sure the pieces that you’re collecting and the problems trying to solve are kind of aligned and they may sound like well, duh. But sometimes I think that misalignment is, is a fundamental core problem that most people don’t realize they’re running into.


JAMES: It is and it comes up a lot in discovery calls that we have with folks when they’re coming to us, they’re usually coming to us with a pain point. Where your pain is happening is usually the symptom, right? Just like in terms of, you know, if we’re looking at a medical, analogy, your pain is caused by something. And yes, it’s important to alleviate that pain. But if we don’t get to actually what the cause is, then it’s just going to come back, we’re just going to be masking the symptoms until it gets worse. And your comment reminded me a lot about a conversation that I had at a discovery call months ago with an organization that was having that same type of, they were in a significant growth stage and needed to recruit people and couldn’t recruit enough people fast enough. And in our conversations, they said to me, the problem is the people we’re bringing people in and they’re staying for less than a year. So we’re constantly having to replace those people. So we’re hiring the wrong people. So how do we hire the right people? That was the pain point that they had identified, right? The problem with that approach was when I started asking them about why people were leaving. They didn’t really have an answer to that when I started asking them about their workplace culture and you know what it actually looks like day to day, try to, you know, have those that conversation, get a little bit more information about it. They were really focused only on the pain, the pain that I’m experiencing right now. Is that I can’t recruit people fast enough. So it was kind of this back and forth of trying to help them understand that you, we need to actually look at, we can help you with your recruitment, that can be the outcome that we’re working towards. But in order to actually fix the problems that you’re having of, you know, recruit, bringing people in and then just out the door in less than a year, we need to look at what’s happening in your workplace that’s driving people away. So we need to actually start with a bit of a diagnostic. And this was the problem that we had in our conversation was that they were convinced they had enough data. We’ve got so much data, we don’t need to go do another data collection activity because we’ve got all of this data. I was like, great. So what’s your data telling you? They weren’t putting it into place? They were collecting all of this data but they weren’t using it or they didn’t know how to use it or they were collecting the wrong type of in data that doesn’t actually help to identify the problem. And I see this happening fairly frequently that we get, we think that collecting data for data’s sake is what we should be doing. And if we are, if we have all of this data at our disposal, then I’m a fairly intelligent person. I should be able to pinpoint exactly what the problem is. And yes, if you have the right type of data, you as an intelligent person could probably pinpoint what the problem is. But how do you know what you’re supposed to be collecting? This is where targeted interventions, targeted diagnostic tools are really the most important thing that you can focus on. And it’s not about doing a deep dive and you know, collecting every piece of information under the sun because then you’re just gonna get stuck in analysis paralysis. It’s about understanding. Ok, we have this pain point. What is the data that we need to collect to tell us what’s causing this specific issue?


COBY: Yeah. Yeah, there’s a lot of kind of misalignment when it comes to, especially small businesses, figuring out kind of the, what they want to have help with and what they need to have help with. Because, you know, there’s the idea of, you know, of like, you know, the small business, especially if it’s a founder team or, or individual owner or, or whatever like that, you know, they’re, they’re focusing on the stuff that’s hitting in the face every day, right. And they’re trying to get things off their plate, they’re trying to get less things that, you know, to, to take them away from, you know, trying to grow rightfully so. Absolutely. So they almost get a little bit of tunnel vision too much on the pain points that they’re seeing every day and not wanting to know or to hear that there’s might be an underlying cause that won’t have an immediate fix for. And other good examples. I remember we did a presentation for a bunch of small business owners a while ago and I had someone come up to me afterwards and said, OK, and we talked about kind of the key, the connection between talent attraction and recruitment and kind of the basics of an employer brand to kind of know how do you improve your recruitment strategies? And we had a business owner asked me, well, what do you do when you get no applicants to your job postings? And so I kind of, you know, started to talk to him a little bit about like, you know, well, that is a warning sign of a more underlying problem and he was not really keen of that being kind of the answer I was trying to allude to. He wanted me to tell him just do X, Y, and Z and your problem solved to just a pain point. But what I started talking to him was I was about like, you know, I said, what is your like? Do you have an employee referral program? Do you have a program that helps kind of, you know, your current employees to recommend people, you know, do you leverage your, the networks of your employees when you’re trying to fill vacancies. And he was like, well, we sometimes do, like, can we kind of have people share on social media? I said, well, are they willing to invite people that they know, to work for you? And he was like, I don’t know, I was like, well, if you’re getting no people applying for you, that may be a problem if your employees are not willing to put, you know, to recommend their friends and family fill vacancies with you or anyone in the professional network. That’s a sign of an underlying problem with your, with your workplace, like me around your workplace culture. And that wasn’t super well revceived.


JAMES: Yeah, I remember the conversation.


COBY: Yeah. And because I don’t want you to tell me I have this problem Problem B when I’m trying to get you to help me wit Problem A. Yeah. And I totally get that and I, and I fell for this guy because I really, because he was one of these classic business owners who knew his business so well, but wasn’t really that skilled or experienced in operating a business, he knew that he knew the work, but he doesn’t know the business side of it and the people side was something that he was kind of admittedly, you know, having some issues with. So, you know, one of those things where, you know, but it can be very overwhelming for people to when you’re in that situation. But this is kind of the reality was like, you know, he, you know, I was saying there’s some good data that can come from how your employees talk about your your workplace. How do you leverage them in your recruitment processes? There’s lots of great information that could probably answer your question, but that wasn’t what he wanted was he wanted just step 123 problem solved.


JAMES: Change this in your job posting and you will get responses. And yes, there are improvements that you can make to your job postings. Like there are simple things that you can do to make improvements. First of all, do you actually have a formalized recruitment process or do you just throw something at the wall and it changes every single time? All right, there’s lots of things that, but again, it’s the idea that I have this pain. All I want is for you to take away my pain. I don’t want you to investigate the root cause of it. I just want the pain gone. And I understand that mentality. Unfortunately, it doesn’t do you any good in the long term, masking the pain, just like for ourselves, going to the doctor and saying, doc I’ve got a pain in my back. Give me something for the pain. Well, yeah, they can give you something to mask the pain for a while. But if you don’t actually fix the root cause of it. You’re causing more problems for yourself. The same is true for our companies. If we just keep trying to mask the pain in which we have been doing in large respect for years. If you’re only interested in masking the pain, you’re not going to actually solve your problem, you’re not going to get better, and the problems that you’re having around people not being able to hire people, not being able to retain people, you know, not having good performance. you know, poor employee experience, poor operational efficiency. These things are going to continue to drag you down and you’re gonna get frustrated.


COBY: Yeah, absolutely. And like, and, and there’s a bit of a, kind of a commonality when we talk about, you know, you mentioned some businesses try and collect all the data under the sun. They, they possibly could and then others don’t really collect any. And I mean, I’m sure it’s no surprise that there’s a bit of a, it’s a bit of a common thread where the larger the business, the more likely they are to fall into the collecting too much information and the smaller the business, you know, they may not collect enoughand larger businesses, they’re also often employing different types of tools to help streamline that right. They’ll have an HRIS that collects, collects a ton of data. They depending on their industry, they may have specialized software that collects tons of different types of data. So they have all this stuff available and I, so I get all of that. But what we’re looking at is, are you collecting the right data?


JAMES: Yeah. Well, and I think my answer to kind of, if you, if to a business that’s, that’s not collecting enough and a business that’s collecting too much is probably the same answer. You need to start small enough that it’s practical when you’re going after the pieces the information that you need, the evidence that you need in order to make an informed decision. Because what you want is, all of us want the same thing. We want the efforts that will have the highest impact with the lowest amount of effort. Yeah, that’s that, that’s what we want. And if we’re going after data collection and we’re trying to, and we, and, and we are doing too much data collection, then we’re not starting small enough as practical. And if we’re not doing anything that we need to realize, we don’t have to jump into these massive data collection programs. And HRISs that don’t do that, there are a lot of pieces that can be put into place or a lot of solutions that can help us, you know, do you know, create diagnostics for the problems that we’re having to help identify the root causes? But we have to just kind of have that bit of that strategy. So we don’t fall into, like you said before, the analysis paralysis of too much data and not knowing what to do with it or the idea of just, you know, not knowing or what information we need to make informed decisions. And I think just want,I just want to add one more thing to that is that I think where we’ll focus more of a conversation is around having too much information because a lot of it comes from the way that we’re collecting information with them. And we tend to go to the survey wellthat you talked about at the very beginning a little bit too often as well. We need data, we especially around employees. So we’ll ask employees questions to get the data makes sense.


COBY: Yeah, but that isn’t necessarily and there’s, and that’s always gonna have to happen. But like I said, I think too many of our data collection approaches are going to that well, too often.


JAMES: Yeah. There’s I like the comments that you made around. you know, we need to start small. Because even like we have our own diagnostic tools, we’ve talked about this. I mentioned it right up. off the bat, we have these very intensive auditing tools that we can use and go in and collect a metric ton of data that may or may not be what somebody needs. We can, we can we have our own tools that will allow us to collect a huge amount of data about an organization. But it’s not the right place to start, even with our own services. It’s not the right place to start. We need, we have three tiers of tools that we employ our indicator tools that we can use quickly that will help to show. OK, right off the bat, what are the big indications of where we need to focus our efforts? And then if we need to drill down deeper on one aspect, then we have risk assessments that will help us to identify what those key risks are. And rarely do we need to get to that third tier of an auditing program because the way that we collect data in those first two tiers are going to provide us with so many options for improvements.


COBY: Yeah. And even kind of, even kind of realizing that, you know, you don’t have to jump in with the, the full meal deal right at the very beginning, you can, you can work your way in that really kind of is the approach that we need to take. And sometimes it’s even more, it’s even valuable to realize that, you know, you can even start before you do the full investigation to kind of find out like, you know, where, you know, are you where you think you are. And you know, and what are some red flags of your, of your areas of vulnerability? And so this is something that is really important to realize too is that sometimes the data collection pieces that we’re doing, even if we’re doing them well. We may not, you know, we may be operating under the assumptions that things are better than they actually are that the, that, you know, that our workplaces are not having these problems in the extent that we think that that other people might be. And that’s one thing that we, we often, we always, we always get when we, when we started doing training around workplace culture and intelligence and kind of investigating the workplaces people go “huh I really thought we were further along or things are better off. We actually are once you to break it down to kind of these different elements.” So it is really important to verify that. And it’s also really important to realize that, you know, there’s a lot that you can do to gather data before you start going into the common methods of surveys. And HRIS pieces, there are a lot of things that you can do to assess again, like they say, verify your where you think you are. Like, what’s the, what’s the benchmark to hold yourself up to, to kind of have that critical reflection and what are some red flags that your leadership team or your managers or middle or middle managers could learn to use to identify, to start to say, ok, maybe the trends that we’re seeing could be problematic. Those are two things you could do even before you jump into the full investigations. And we have tools as part of our, our diagnostic suite, we call them the OCEAN suite. So Organizational Culture, Evaluations, and Navigation.


JAMES: Everything needs to have an acronym.


COBY: Absolutely. But yeah, but the, but the first two level of tools in our ocean diagnostic tool suite are again about verifying that you’re where you think you were and identifying the red flags for your areas of vulnerability. And a lot of that data collection isn’t the traditional, you know, surveys and hr is and reference points every pieces, it’s about kind of taking the information that you currently have available to you and just kind of filtering them through some really helpful reference points. So you just to kind of hold yourself up to the light and kind of kind of looking at your workplace from a different perspective.


JAMES: Yeah, I mean, we, I think it was one of the Q&A episodes that we did where we had a question similar to this and talking about how do you investigate your workplace culture? And there’s a lot of alignment that maybe now we can pull in from that piece because what we talked about in the response, there was the idea of understanding the difference and the cross section between Policy, Practice and Perception if we wanna give people. And so the idea of what can you actually do? What advice can we give you as a result of, you know, putting up with us for the for 35 minutes or so, understanding those three components of your workplace are going to provide you with such rich data about what you can actually start to do early without spending a ton of time, energy and money on collecting huge amounts of data to really start figuring out where you can put your efforts that are going to make a difference. What are the policies or the rules written and unwritten rules of your workplace? How do those operate on a daily basis? What is the practice of that’s put into place on a daily basis? And then what’s the perception of those practices? Understanding those three pieces as it pertains to the pain point that you are trying to address? So if it’s recruitment, you know, or if it’s retention, you can’t keep people are leaving, you’ve got huge amounts of turnover. You need to understand the policies, the practice and the perception of the, of your workplace factors that are going to contribute to the turnover.


COBY: Yeah. And I think too is that, you know, when we look at the way that we’re gathering data because I mean even in so those three pieces are what we assess at the, at our, at our indicator level assessment. So we, we do the, we do the initial investigations, we kind of have we verified after we’ve identified the red flags and we’re actually doing a full on investigation. we look at the Policy, Practice, and Perception and we do use some surveys to collect the information because you want the practice you really can’t get without asking people what’s the day to day like, like, you know, you know, what is, what do you experience on, on a daily basis? But I think that there is, I think it would be helpful for people listening to realize that as important as surveys are, we don’t want to ever say that they’re not important, but they’re not the only way to collect data because one thing that we always try and be cognizant of when we go into a workplace. And then we ask them, how are they collecting data most of the time they’re overwhelming their employees with too much data collection and they run into the analysis paralysis problem. But the truth is many employees are tired of being surveyed and having data collected on them. And the thing is that there are a lot of workplace and environmental data and evidence collection processes that get overlooked that could be very valuable. That doesn’t to, to utilize, it doesn’t actually require employees to be constantly surveyed or filling out information all the time. And I think that would be helpful just to kind of list a few off because these are things that we use, especially in our verification and our vulnerability assessments to try and find out, you know, what are some of the things that we can look at right now? But the question is, what kind of information are you getting from these places? What are you getting from? Exit interviews? Are you doing? Exit interviews? You know, what kind of questions are you asking when employees leave to find out kind of some of those pieces that might address things like performance, retention, the employee experience, DEI whatever it might be. Are you asking the right questions also? Are you doing stay interviews? Are you doing interviews before people leave to kind of find out, you know, what are the things that would be helpful that to keep you here? You know for the next year or where are some areas of concern that you have? Another one going back to the story I told about the small business owner that wasn’t getting anyone applying for the agencies. What are you doing around employee referrals? Do you have employee referral program? Do you collect information during the application process if employees are referring somebody? Another thing that we do when we do our risk assessments is we often recommend incorporation of some simple things like a virtual suggestion box putting it out there through, usually online for people can insert anonymous suggestions or ideas. This can be helpful to kind of see what things come up. Most often probably the best thing that I can recommend people is to properly train the managers, supervisors, people that have direct reports under them, to identify red flags for issues that need further investigation. Because this is a thing that if managers know what some of these red flags are, they know what are the warning signs, they know some things that could allude to other things that on their own might not be a concern. But when you start to see them in a trend, then those can be the catalyst for you actually having to have that first level indicator assessment tool process that we use or even that level for another program because you want to, you know, kind of have the managers say, yeah, we’re seeing some warning signs that concern us. So that should be the catalyst for these, for these, you know, initial, investigations that will again produce a high impact with a low amount of effort.


JAMES: It should not, it cannot be solely HR’s responsibility for collecting this data because managers are like they, if they are trained to look for the warning signs, they are the ones who are going to see it first. They are your first line of defense against dissatisfaction, against disengagement, against burnout, against the frustrations that employees experience. And if you can train so the combination of having managers trained to identify these things, I love state interviews. It’s funny because they often get II I, I’ll see people roll their eyes around the talking about state interviews, but they, it doesn’t need to be this big extra thing that you’re doing. Build it in as part of your annual performance review, right? As you should, please tell me you’re doing annual performance reviews because if you’re sitting down with each person on a regular basis to talk about their performance, you know, their struggles, what they’re working on, and then asking them a couple questions like you phrased them, what can I do to, you know, make your job easier? What can I do to keep you here for the next 10 years? What can I… those types of questions to help people to show them that you actually care about retaining them and giving them an opportunity to speak into some of the challenges that they’ve been experiencing is a rich form of data collection that doesn’t cause like it’s not another activity, it’s not another survey. It’s just a couple questions added to something you’re all already doing while you’re having this open productive conversation about performance. Because you have a formalized process and you use and you train your managers how to do this use this formalized performance process. So that things run smoothly.


COBY: Absolutely. It’sthe thing is, is that part of what makes the data collection piece that will really help you make data driven people and culture decisions is probably that is probably finding the small little add ons, the extra question here, the extra activity there, that’s not brand new, that you’re not overhauling an entire process, that you’re not, you know, making a massive, you know, complete, you know, renovation of the way that you do your work and the way you operate your organization, it’s about trying to again find the little effort that will have the highest impact with the lowest amount of effort. And again, those little things adding on to what you’re currently doing. But again, probably your most valuable asset is gonna be your middle managers. They should be a source of rich data, especially when you’re trying to verify that you’re where you think you are and you’re trying to identify red flags of vulnerabilities. Those two processes could really come from the managers noticing stuff, managers being able to kind of track and collect. Because again, some warning signs like we talked about this. I think it was on the Q&A episode we did at the end of last season, some warning signs for problems around like employee burnout. You know, those types of things you know, again a single example of somebody kind of like, you know, pulling back in meetings, you know, might just be they’re having a bad week. But we see kind of time over time or multiple people doing it, those types of things that are red flags if you, if you are collecting and noticing those through observation, so it is important to realize that. But realizing that again, some of this the collection methods can be observation, can be policy assessments, can be identifying again the practice, and perception of the workplaces. It’s more than just the surveys that can provide you this rich evidence. You need to really make these effective decisions again, that will provide you the highest impact with the lowest effort.


JAMES: Yeah. And I mean, it doesn’t, you’re right. It doesn’t need to be complicated but it needs to be consistent.


COBY: Yeah. Yeah. And consistency is, is vital, right? Because I mean, you know, if you’re, if you’re doing it here, you, you’re not doing it there or you’re doing it this week, you’re not doing it that week, then you can’t trust that data. And that’s the other thing too is you wanna make sure that the collection of information that you’re getting is reliable and consistent enough, you can trust it because just like we talked about, you know, again, you mentioned early on and we mentioned the other podcast collecting data without psychological safety through surveys is, is, is often unreliable and then you have to make very important decisions based on very shaky data. Yeah. But I think the best way to kind of, I don’t know, put this into perspective about how you should approach your data collection. And your, and your, the way that you use your data to workplaces is kind of going back to the analogy that we used in our last episode around Productivity Installation. And the idea of comparing our workplaces to a home and the installation value of it because the idea of going all out and collecting all the information that you can and almost changing your workplace to be this massive data collection process is as invasive of an effort as like as you notice some problems with your home. So you tear everything down to the studs. You don’t have to start there.


JAMES: Yeah. Yeah, I think I like that analogy because we could try to start from scratch and just, you know, build everything, you know, tear down to the studs and rebuild everything in the most optimal manner. Great. That’s gonna be incredibly invasive, incredibly expensive and it’s gonna take a lot of time or we can I do some sort of investigation and find somebody who knows what they’re looking for to tell us. Ok, you’ve got some cracks in your foundation, let’s fix that first. OK? You’ve got some doors that are not closing properly. Let’s fix that first, right? If we know what to look for and we have the data that’s actually going to tell us what we can start with. We don’t need to go into these big expensive time intensive data collection processes that could take a year or years to not only collect but analyze and then do something with. What can we do in the next week? What information can we collect and gather that will actually inform a strategy that we can roll out? Like, let’s look at a three month strategy, not a three year strategy, a three month strategy. That is part of a longer ongoing aspirational goal is great, but you still need to start with those. What can we do now to make improvements right away? Because we want to show early success, we need to have some sort of quick return on investment. Because if we’re not able to show some early wins, we’re gonna lose the buy in from senior leadership, right? They’re gonna start looking at OK. What are you doing? And what are the results? Why are we pouring all this money into investigating our work environment when we’re not seeing any return on that? So it needs to be targeted, it needs to be quick and it needs to be effective.


COBY: Yeah. And, and like we say, you know, the even that approach is how we design the OCEAN suite of tools that we have because I mean, and again, they compare with an effective way for us to address like the insulation issues in our homes, right? Because our ocean tools are tool one is to verify your, where you think you are. Tool two is to identify the the red flags and vulnerabilities. Three is to finding indicators of where your problems are coming from. Four is a risk assessment and the impact you’re having on your efficiency. And five is a full audit, to get to the root cause, just like when you’re trying to resolve things in your home, verify that the home is operating the way that you think it is. Do the simple tests, identify the red flags for where your problems are coming from, the big cracks in the holes, the doors that don’t properly close, the windows that are leaking. Find the indicators of where your problems are coming from, find the indicators of like the heat collection, bring someone in to kind of do those heat checks to kind of find up, ok. Your roof is leaking or the windows are leaking or, you know, then there’s the idea of the risk assessment actually having a full efficiency assessment done to know how risky your home is of being poorly efficient. And then if you need to go that far, tear the, you know, do a full audit and tear the house down to the wall studs and, I mean, it’s a, those types of small tools that add towards better, better actions are just, are gonna be what’s far more effective than to jump in the 2 feet and then completely renovate the way that you do your workplace in hopes of having this payoff. But you’re right, it’s gonna be long term. You’re gonna lose interest from senior leadership and from staff why are you collecting this data? No one’s doing anything with it, right? So there’s all kinds of problems if, when we try and go from identifying the pain points through a full Renault rather than doing the small steps that will give us that high impact with the lowest effort.


JAMES: And you, if you ask for it, a contractor would be more than happy to come in and rip your house down to the studs and charge you for all of the work that’s involved in it. But you don’t need to start there. That doesn’t need to be your first step into investigating your workplace. You don’t need to start with a full audit. You shouldn’t start with a full audit. Let’s find out what we can do quickly to show some success, to show that there are actual improvements that can be made to organizational efficiency and the employee experience by addressing our organizational culture.


COBY: Absolutely. But I think that this was a good conversation. I think I’ll do a quick wrap up. anything more before I do.


JAMES: No, I think I’m good.


COBY: All right. So the question was how can we make data driven people and culture decisions? Well, one of the things that we tend to do when we’re trying to, identify problems in our workplace is we try and go after the pain points, we’re leaving the pain points, we’re leaving the things that we’re seeing the overt problems and it often has us completely or not noticing or overlooking the underlying problems. I mean, we ignore the root cause unintentionally to try and address the pain points that we see every day. But what we need to do is we need to be collecting the information on the root causes just as much as we’re collecting the information on the pain points. And to do that, we need to start small enough that we can have a practical effort that will yield a high impact with, with a low effort, things that will have a shorter turnaround time and that we can build on success to kind of move the effort forward. So we’re not waiting for a long time to see success on our efforts. Too much data collection can be a problem in our workplaces. It can lead to a problem that we call analysis paralysis and it’s something that can happen, especially if you are collecting data at random and you’re not having intentional strategy in the way that you were bringing information in or having a good reason for why you’re surveying employees, which tends to be an overused method of data collection. Often our workplaces operate like our home as far as the way that we can. We think of efficiency. We wanna make sure that we’re insulating our productivity and insulating our, our, our efficiency by going by addressing problems in a way that’s going to again yield the best ROI and not resort, resorting to every problem is a full reno. So if you’re interested in learning about the programs and tools that we at Roma 3 have our OCEAN suite of tools, we something that we’d be happy to have a conversation and explore those was with you and see if they would be a good fit for problems you might have in your workplace. Just reach out to us at Roman 3, at or contact James directly through LinkedIn. We’re always happy to chat about both, you know, workplace diagnostic tools and just how to make our organizations more efficient and productive.


JAMES: Yeah, we’re always willing to talk. That’s probably abundantly clear at this point.


COBY: Absolutely. All right. That about does it for us. For a full archive of the podcast and access to the video version hosted on our youtube channel, visit Thanks for joining us.

ANNOUNCER: For more information on topics like these. Don’t forget to visit us at Side effects of this podcast may include improved retention, high productivity, increased market share, employees breaking out in spontaneous dance, dry mouth. A version of the sound of James’s voice, desire to find a better podcast…


Share what inspires you