A study conducted last year by a United States-based talent management company involving 47 clients from different industries demonstrated the impact of using People Intelligence information to meet business results.

So what is People Intelligence? It is about understanding a person and then finding the right job for him. And if the right person is not already in the right job, is it possible to make him aware of his blind spots so that he can function productively? The answer can be found in a whole plethora of assessment tools and coaching.

Assessment tools enable organisations to select the right person and develop them to their full potential and lining up an effective succession-planning pathway for their employees. They are also used to make the existing employees aware of their blind spots so that they can adjust their styles and acquire the necessary skills to do their job effectively.

Productivity

Let’s look at productivity. Why are some organisations more productive than others? A recent article in The Straits Times lamented the slow progress in meeting productivity targets. We have been looking at productivity in all the traditional areas with a focus of improving efficiency and doing more with less.

One possible reason that productivity is stuck is the lack of alignment of resources to the corporate goals. Setting clear corporate goals and getting the different departments and teams to understand their roles in achieving the corporate objectives will go a long way in getting everyone to “row in the same direction”.

A key issue is the lack of clarity in the goals. Some departments are not aligned to corporate objectives because they are unclear about their roles and not able to define their sub-goals clearly.

Another possible intervention to unleash the latent productivity in an organisation can be through improved employee engagement. The employee can use simple profiling tools to understand himself — his strengths and blind spots — to also improve interpersonal communications.

Improved interaction among individuals, teams and departments will have a positive impact on the productivity of any organisation. An employee in the right job who can communicate effectively with his colleagues is likely to enjoy his work.

In many organisations, there are people who are satisfied about what they are doing and do not mind doing the job because there is no other alternative. This group of people is unlikely to create a major impact on productivity in their work.

A report, titled High-Impact Performance Management: Maximizing Performance Coaching by California-based advisory firm Bersin and Associates, cited that organisations where senior management “very frequently” coached had demonstrated 21 per cent higher business results.

It also said that organisations with well-established support for coaching showed 39 per cent stronger employee results, such as better employee engagement, productivity and customer service. The report is based on responses from nearly 200 US companies. However, the report also noted that most managers do not know how to coach.

Coaching can play an increasingly important role to improve employee engagement and interactions. Having short coaching conversations can have a positive developmental effect on the employees.

Companies should look beyond the traditional areas to increase productivity in an organisation and explore areas of improving employee engagement by helping them find the right job fit and increasing self-awareness.