The Work Institute’s “Why Factor” has WOW factor!

The Work Institute’s “Why Factor” has WOW factor!

“Keep It Simple Son” that’s what one of my mentors used to tell me all time. The acronym K.I.S.S. It’s served me well for many years and it also gotten me in a bit of trouble. See, while at the Ohio State University, I would simplify my answers to the professors’ exams and papers and that earned me Cs. One of my classmates, who studied and helped me saw the grades and said “Chris, you know this stuff, but you are getting Cs because you are not using the professors’ words. You have to use their jargon and expand on it,” Translation, you have to be long-winded. I took her advice and guess what, my grades went from Cs to As and Bs.

Now as a HR professional, I try to simplify many of HR’s difficult processes because if you don’t, it will eat you alive. You have to break it down and make it simple. What does this have to do with “The Why Factor”? Well, I’m glad you asked.

The Work Institute sent me a copy of their book but didn’t warned me in advance. In fact, it had been sitting in my “office” with the rest of the snail mail. I hate mail so it tends to pile up high before I am forced to sort through it all. Once I saw their logo I recognized it immediately because we’re connected on Twitter.

I opened the package and began reading the book and I really enjoyed it. First of all, the book is only 90 pages, short and sweet but don’t let that fool you – it’s a solid read.  They tackle the fundamentals of HR head on. 2nd, this book is written from the POV of the company’s email or communications server, STOP!  Just think about that for a second, if your email server could talk what would it say?  Imagine the kind of real information you could get – and we’re not just talking about the office affairs either.  We are talking employee sentiment, new initiatives, data manipulation and real hours worked versus hours paid from those on the VPN. That’s a clever approach in my opinion.

The book crescendos with some great analysis of workforce data, engagement metrics, survey information along with costs analysis. No one likes crunching numbers and dealing with the real deal but “The Why Factor” breaks it down into easily digestible bites.

Here are a couple of my favorite bites of information.

“Employees have a voice that must be heard. Unless you respect that voice, they will leave.”

  • To keep employees, maximize them.
  • To maximize employees, listen to them.
  • To listen to employees, hear them.
  • To hear employees, care enough to believe they have much to offer

“If you hire a benefits company to come in and do your survey, guess what? You’ll be changing your benefit programs.”

“If you hire a compensation company to come in and do your survey, all your changes will be tied to a revised compensation program.”

Finally, I share this excerpt from the book; remember this is written from the communications server point of view.

“I regularly calculate and report the dollars lost and am aware of your process improvement initiatives and the financial value of the controls… I don’t see any attention on managing the controllable costs related to people that do the work – your human behavior costs.”

“If you have a turnover rate of 25 percent in a company with 6,000 employees, at a cost of $15K per, what would your saving be if you reduced it to 20% or 15%.”

Tough questions that most companies don’t want to ask nor answer. Sure you can do the quick math, but actually solving the real retention problem and getting that percentage down is a huge task. Most companies justify it by saying, “We want some turnover, its good for business.”

The Work Institute hits the nail on the head– as stated above, I like nice and easy reading that makes me want to turn the page instead of close the book. This book basically explains why it’s important to examine the “why factor” in all of your processes and then it challenges you to not be afraid to ask questions of your employees. I’ve had managers give us books to read as a team and I believe this book is an excellent choice for something like that.  New HR pros, team leaders and HR Managers could give this book to their staff as required reading and they should be able to get a lot out of it.

By the way, in the interest of full disclosure and all, this is NOT a paid promotional or sponsored article – I really like the book and think you should check it out.

1 Comment

  1. Paul Hebert

    I love your start out story about writing to how the professor teaches. So true. In a similar vein my father use to say: “If the boss likes green ties, wear green ties.” For you millenials ties were clothing option that went around your neck when you wor a suite or sport coat. Now I’ll have to explain those!

    Any way – nice post Chris – looking forward to connecting IRL soon!

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