- the effects of collective employee immaturity on corporate success
Every organisation has a culture, and included in that culture is a set of assumptions and practices around the organisation’s learning culture. How the organisation demonstrates and enhances its objectives through a focus on ethics, good governance and leadership determine its corporate maturity. Bill Gates once mentioned that “Success is a lousy teacher, for it seduces us into thinking we cannot fail”. We find this statement true in the prevalence of organisations which fail to create the learning space for the development of its employees to align and connect with the corporate purpose and wider social and human needs. By this, the mature organisation much in demand by investors, consumers, regulators and employees is one that can be trusted to deliver on its corporate objectives as a result of its deeply embedded integrity, professionalism, maturity and uncompromising leadership character.
However, corporate maturity as it may be is a valuable concept that provides a holistic view of an organisation’s performance, sustainability and resilience character. Though good corporate initiatives sometimes fail, the incessant manifestation of failure for greater objectives and efforts is largely a significant contribution by the collective levels of employee immaturity that remain unimproved.
Associated with each level of employee maturity within the corporate set-up is a complete set of subtly different management practices and behaviour which ought to be learnt and mastered by all employees to align skills for greater performance. Again, crucially, how employees own their learning space to contribute to organisational expectations is critical in championing the organisation’s greater ambitions. Having employees who are willing to walk through proper leadership skills and techniques consistently contributes to their growth into a more efficient, mature and successful employee-body who are highly equitable to spearhead corporate progress, and success is highly important for tem.
Meanwhile, signs that employees are immature and that their state of immaturity has greater negative impacts on corporate success cannot be downplayed. The concern for organisations remains that their employees become more experienced and proficient to deal with their individual, inherent behaviour in order to achieve corporate maturity. The perpetual search trap syndrome – whereby many employee-related issues prevent organisations from reaching their goals – remains a concern that limits the individual and curtails organisational progress to maturity. In this article, we will deal with the state of employee immaturity and the effect it has on corporate maturity and success.
What’s the Maturity Level of Your Employees?
Employee maturity within the context of an organisation set-up is defined as the group member’s readiness level based on their knowledge of the role. The employee’s level of maturity is affected by time on the job, Work experience, enthusiasm and job confidence as to their competence in performing a given task is observed.
Several levels of employee engagement and impact can be identified as they walk through different levels of maturity. At the readiness maturity level-one, employees may be new to the role and have not yet gained the knowledge or skills to complete a task. Employees at this level may need motivation and purpose to fulfil their role. The level-two maturity indicates that employees are eager and willing to perform their role, but may require additional supervision. However, for those employees in the category of level-three and four, they generally possess higher skill levels and competencies; and always remain able and willing to complete tasks independently from their leaders input.
However, an organisation at any stage has a learning culture with which emphasis must be placed on upskilling workers to become their best to push the corporate agenda. These organisations may deploy training on workplace processes and procedures, or on their own products and services with the goal of equipping workers to perform effectively and efficiently in their job roles.
Because when organisations commit to developing a learning culture that enables employees to participate in self- and professional-development activities, they develop and mature. The deliberate action by some organisations of pushing learning opportunities, encouraging learners to spend time on improving their skills or knowledge, eventually builds its culture and corporate maturity. The question, however, is what signs demonstrate that your employees are immature as an organisation?
Signs that Employees are Immature
Professional maturity at work is the ability to respect other people’s diversified cultural backgrounds and unique set of experiences in the workplace. The mature employee shows his or her maturity through their inherent behaviour, personality and attitude. Work maturity includes making decisions based on one’s values, ethics and morals instead of what feels good at the moment.
Individual maturity is anchored on the person’s emotional development. The question is: does the individual remain teachable and maintain a non-judgmental attitude, and keep commitments? How well does he or she know his or her responsibilities? For the employee to ask what is expected of his or her job role and seek wisdom whenever required, remaining committed and focused on job commitments and schedules, submit all the key deliverables in time and be humble and kind to others are signs of a good-natured and mature character.
Anytime we assume that all people are functioning at the same level behaviourally and emotionally in the workplace, we are sure to be surprised. Surprised when we encounter some employees whose response to what we thought was a simple comment is an emotional outburst resembling that of an immature employee. Although emotionally immature employees can be a cause for difficulty at any level, as they progress up the organisation the greater the problems. How should organisational leaders see and measure inappropriate behaviour or immaturity? Many signs give credence to an employee’s immaturity status depending on what such employees are expected to know yet have never mastered. Obviously, the following signs define the situation better:
First, the inability to compromise with rules of the workplace and with co-workers is a sure sign. Necessarily, any group of people who spend time together must be able to compromise at times, because not everyone can have their way every time.
Secondly, self-defensiveness and excuse-making when confronted with a reality at work provides a clue. Part of the difficulty in dealing with self-defensiveness and excuse-making is that this can easily divert one from the original issues. Again, the issue of not avoiding responsibility for work and/or interactions with other co-workers; and the ability to say “I was wrong and you were right” are major marks of maturity. Maturity at the workplace helps employees stay within the reality of situations, instead of trying to create a false scenario in order to protect themselves from having to take responsibility for their work and actions.
More importantly, the misuse of authority that leads to resentment on the part of others often results from a false sense of entitlement: “I am the boss and I do not have to respect you” for instance is a sign to watch out. Lastly, the tendency to resort to quarreling rather than communication toward conflict resolution; complacency toward making efforts for quality work, which is another way of saying they care little about the outcome; and a passive approach in trying to make others responsible for their own emotions are all acts of immature employee behaviour.
The good news, however, is that anyone can mature emotionally at any age. The bad news is that the workplace is not the best place to help a person grow up emotionally. Few managers want to be the ‘parent’ to emotionally adolescent workers. The problem that normally occurs with this scenario is interpersonal relationships can sometimes be very disruptive. Figuring out how to manage emotionally immature employee can admittedly be a challenge for managers and co-workers, but it can be done.
The Need for Employee Maturity
Any workplace requires some level of professionalism and has some rules and ethics. It is the mature employees who can increase the company’s productivity and maintain the civilised functioning of a workplace. Moreover, maturity helps to bring stability to the workplace and also improves the work culture. Therefore, the need for employee or leadership maturity is critical in moving businesses forward and creating a positive workplace culture for progress. Obviously, it is worth the time and effort to reach that level of maturity to witness and realise key organisation prospects.
The beginning of employees advancing their level of maturity stems from leadership having matured themselves. Leadership maturity results from various attributes – including knowing how to motivate employees and to put out their best in protecting their subordinates’ welfare. The leader must be seen to instil confidence in their teams and ensure everyone is heading in the right direction up the ladder of success. Not all, as the saying goes, charity begins from home: it imposes a huge task on leadership to be a positive role-model in maintaining credibility, patience, strategic thinking, logical reasoning, integrity, open-door policies, trustworthiness and keeping composure during tough situations.
That being said, let’s talk about maturity as directly connected to the employees being professional. Being mature implies that you know how to behave at a workplace and follow business ethics. The desire to have employees mature comes with its own significant benefits to the corporate structure. A mature employee will know how important it is for the organisation to meet given deadlines and avoid major losses. Maturity improves team collaboration, as team-mates depend on one another for making a collective efforts and producing the outcome. Working with mature persons helps make team collaboration stronger and effective.
Much more importantly, focusing on improving the maturity level of employees creates ripples in improving work culture. Mature employees have more control over their emotions and think twice before acting rough. They are helpful and have a ‘can-do’ attitude at the workplace, and this improves the work culture. The long-run impact is that the organisation senses the feeling of motivation and positive energy in the workplace, and the best achievements result as a whole.
And Corporate Maturity?
The concept of organisational maturity generally refers to the evolutionary process of an organisation building its people, processes and technology-readiness and capability through the adoption of quality practices. With regard to performance management practices in the organisation, maturity relates to the adoption level fr dedicated performance management tools; the shaping of internal performance management processes; the mechanisms, processes and relations through which performance management systems are run and administered; the building of the performance management architecture itself; and the degree of performance management system integration.
The Character of Mature Organisations
Organisational maturity frameworks provide a transitional set of common characteristics against which maturity can be assessed. The performance management perspective on organisational maturity provides us with certain levels of evolutionary growth. A lot of organisations close down each year; and while failure is a painful reality for some organisations, one does not have to go through it to learn from mistakes. Today, when we look at some reasons that regularly cause companies to fail, we can suggest how they manage their strategy. The Strategic principle is that the key to growing long-lasting organisations is finding a sense of balance between continuously doing what the organisation is good at and searching for new challenges to start.
How mature organisations leverage learning, hire the cream of the crop, attract top-tier talent; onboard them into their organisation; train and develop their technical skills; engage them through continuous collaboration and social learning; boost performance by aligning employee ambition with company goals so they exit with a mutually beneficial plan defines their character and modus operandi, and whether those practices are sustainable to make such organisations resilient going forward.
A new organisation or new company starts, in principle, at a certain level of maturity without being conditioned by a history and culture acquired over time. An old company or organisation with many years of existence has made a long journey toward organisational maturity with advances and setbacks – which have marked a certain culture, adapted or not to new environments. That notwithstanding, adapting to rapid changes in the environment requires changes in the acquired culture, which cannot be achieved without effort and time.
Effects of Employee Maturity on Corporate Results
As the employees’ learning and improvement progresses within the organisation, corporate progress happen rather naturally. This is because the performance culture is supported by a strong business case for measuring performance across the organisation, which is communicated across the organisation.
Employee maturity can be a significant deal-breaker when it comes to success of the organisation. Leadership maturity requires management to have growth and development training programmes for employees in growing the company. Despite how busy management may be, it is extremely important to retain talented employees and help them develop their skillsets to become even more effective leaders. This not only helps employees grow, but also assists the company in growing more business and in turn revenue.
Besides, no organisation would want its employees to remain immature forever. For in the end, the company’s image in the market improves and value goes up when it prioritises the growth of its employees. Another advantage of maturity is it will also make the individual employee a better person outside the workplace. Besides, which employer would like an employee who behaves immaturely? No one wants to tolerate that which is immature.
Using Performance Management Culture to Boost Employee Maturity for Corporate Good
Companies which understand the need and advantages of implementing a performance management system also know that performance management means much more than putting standard tools and processes in place; it means more than simply measuring data. Such a system can be the organisation’s competitive advantage and a way for it to measure its employees’ maturity levels, and as a tool to stand out. However, organisations cannot improve if they don’t identify and remove the internal roadblocks preventing it from doing so, through testing and weighing evidence in an analytical and objective way.
The performance culture relies on effective communication that reaches all internal and external stakeholders. Performance managements is structured as an organisational capability, integrated in all activities at all organisational levels and enabling a certain level of autonomy in the working environment. Arguably, when there is a strong culture of learning and improvement that captures innovative ideas, employee performance evaluations are aligned to strategy and performance stimulated through a combination of financial and non-financial rewards. With this, investments are made to constantly improve quality of the working environment and employee engagement.
Adopting Training as Investment in Employees
Organisations that have adopted training as a platform for performance management and talent development help to build the level of their employee maturity. These organisations have a maturing learning culture that sees a strong correlation between professional development and improved business performance. Training opportunities extend far beyond what’s needed to ensure efficient day-to-day performance and look to the future good.
Such organisations actively encourage learners to engage with self- and professional development as part of their workday routine, via a performance management platform and other tools that track, manage, and expand their learning opportunities. Here, organisations may launch leadership development programmes, for example, to teach and reinforce soft skills development that might encourage learners to try mastering new skills for their current or aspirational job roles. Training goals can be specific – such as improving performance or developing a particular skill; or they can be developmental, such as nurturing creativity or improving soft skills like mentoring workers or providing feedback.
In summary, let’s consider the maturity of an organisation as a measure of its ability to adapt to the environment; to learn, to improve results and economic and/or social performance… all that with superior results. It is a consequence of their knowledge, learning experience and growth as an organisation that will certainly guarantee this outcome. Therefore, the more advanced the employee maturity, the higher the corporate maturity that contributes to greater corporate results in general – and the less chance that incidents or errors will lead to losses in the quality or use of resources.
Frank is the CEO and Strategic Partner of AQUABEV Investment and Discovery Consulting Group.
Dr. Genevieve Pearl Duncan Obuobi is Lead Consultant on Cx. Leadership & SME, Country Chair, Ladies in Business)