How many CBPPs have you met in your career? I ask the question because there's been a bit of a tiff in the HR web world over the last week or so about internal employee research released by Twitter. Their data indicated that "Instead of managers being the primary driver of engagement, our CEO was the primary driver of engagement."
Did you notice your World at Work and SHRM materials shaking in your bookshelves on October 5, the day that finding was announced? After all, data has consistently indicated for decades that managers are the primary drivers of engagement. I'm talking large, broad-based surveys conducted repeatedly over decades by expert researchers like Gallup and Towers Watson who base their reputations on building valid and reliable data.
What to make of the whole thing? Is it time to rethink our industry standard, turn things over to the revolution demanded by the growing mob of millenials in our midst?
It's hard to imagine why Twitter needed to release this information, and even more tellingly, that The Wall Street Journal needed to publish it unless they felt that Twitter had broken new ground. And so we turn to the CBPPs.
You can either define a best practice as, " a method or technique that has consistently shown results superior to those achieved with other means, and that is used as a benchmark." Or you can take it down a few notches and define it as, "a standard way of doing things that multiple organizations can use."
Either way, the concept is often used by HR executives to get their own way. (Did I really say that? It never happens -- I was just wise cracking.) Here's what I really mean, and Twitter is a great example to use.
A Certified Best Practices Professional would be skeptical of the findings. Not of their importance to Twitter, but of their importance to the rest of us. For data to be valuable to you as a Best Practice, it needs to use findings from industries, companies, financial profiles and talent profiles that are similar to your own. Otherwise, how could you responsibly predict that another's practices would have a beneficial impact on your own organization. Let's take a close look at what distinguishes the Twitter data.
FIRST, and I mean it in big letters, Twitter's CEO Jack Dorsey gave back one-third of his Twitter stock late in October -- about 7 million shares -- to be used for employee bonus pools. Who wouldn't be a fan of this CEO? (And, to crack wise again, how many other CEOs would belong in his database?)
Odds are, behavior of this type signals a strong leadership style, one that has built a clearly defined and communicated culture. Meaning that I, as an employee, can rely on understanding what is happening, and why, every day of my career with Twitter. In spite of, or maybe because of, Twitter's current business issues, I know that my CEO is going out of his way to do his best in his job -- and that means I probably will, too. So will my manager, who -- in this type of culture -- doesn't have to hope leadership will back him or her up. It's just not a question. There just aren't that many grey areas.
Do you work in a company like this? Probably not. It's a sublimely unique situation. Most of us work in companies where strategy is discussed by the CEO in January, perhaps revisited in March or June. Sometimes discussed with employees, sometimes not. In the meantime, we often worry about what to make of things and are comforted to know our managers will help us.
Oh, those pesky Best Practices. If you do your homework, they are awfully elusive -- or if you don't care what comes of your advice, they are amazingly easy to spot.
Just not feeling very thankful even though they've already started blowing up the Hello Kitty balloon outside of Macy's? Download yourself a copy of the popular ebook, Everything You Do (in Compensation) Is Communication @ www.everythingiscommunication.com, and feel the affirmations start to flow! Margaret O'Hanlon, CCP collaborated with Ann Bares and Dan Walter to create this DIY guide to compensation leadership. Margaret is founder and Principal of re:Think Consulting. She brings deep expertise in compensation, career development and communications to the dialog at the Café. Before founding re:Think Consulting, Margaret was a Principal at Towers Watson.