People Are Your Biggest Possibility

People Are Your Biggest Possibility

My Octopus Teacher on Netflix blew me away. It is so beautiful, I absolutely recommend it. It’s a lovely view of lessons from the natural world. Particularly how to deal with risk and uncertainty.

We domesticated animals have plenty of risk and uncertainty of our own – but almost all of it is self-inflicted. Maybe we can reduce some of that where we work.

For all the talk about automation coming for everyone’s job, it seems to be costing big companies more money to provide terrible automated service than it would to just talk to their customers, or to build better systems to allow that, like Apple. At least for the foreseeable future (still waiting for flying cars guys).

People are kept healthy by connection, everything is about connection. Your clients like being connected to people they like, people that understand them, people that want them to prosper.

So, how do you foster great, and empowered, people, while monitoring and managing that performance?

A client pointed out to me that utilisation isn’t an accounting issue, it’s a people issue. It’s up to management, and HR, to help people understand that their time has to go on a timesheet so it can be billed and accounted for, and that they have to be prepared to do billable work for a percentage of their paid hours (usually 80%). Or it might be some other measure of productivity, say if you use fixed fees.

People & Resources (HR) need practical infrastructure to be able to support frontline managers. They need accurate timesheets and payroll records, they need employee self-service portals for transactional stuff like leave calculations, super, bank accounts, tax, etc. It’s lovely to chat with HR people but let’s make it about something important, not “I need to change my bank account”.

Payroll is the very foundation of performance measurement. It has to hold up your operations and time and billing systems. They have to reconcile to payroll. This work naturally fits in your Middle Office, along with compliance for payroll tax, workers compensation insurance, LSL, and a long, long list of other risk management and compliance responsibilities (add Jobkeeper to that list). Back office needs to be able to do their thing, process and reconcile transactions and prepare monthly accounts.

One of the reasons accounts departments grind to a halt is the problem of focusing on these two very separate responsibilities at the same time. Like rubbing your stomach and patting your head. Make sure you keep them separate.

Life is short, let’s do worthwhile things.


Photo by Museums Victoria on Unsplash