Organisations facing low productivity, disengagement, a toxic culture and resultantly poor financial performance seem to postpone getting external help, which leaves us with a pressing question: “Why do businesses postpone hiring consultancies?” This conundrum, much like all resistance to change, reflects a peculiar dichotomy between awareness and action. Delving into the parallels between these seemingly disparate realms, we uncover a shared essence of hesitation that begs the question of why transformative changes are often deterred, even when the benefits are undeniably promising.
Why do people resist change, even when they know it’s positive?
Social scientists often conclude that for humans to embrace change, they must experience pain. It is theorised that humans, being creatures of comfort, go to great lengths to avoid discomfort. Essentially, the pain of inaction must surpass the discomfort of action for change to occur.
Today, trending on LinkedIn is the latest research discussing the significant benefits of a vegan diet for the planet. Researchers at the University of Oxford analysed the diets of 55,000 people in the UK over two decades, examining environmental impact factors such as greenhouse gas emissions and water pollution. The analysis revealed that a vegan diet produced just 25% of the greenhouse gases emitted by high meat eaters. Even the least sustainable vegan diet proved more environmentally friendly than the most sustainable meat-eaters diet.
Therefore, those concerned about the environment intuitively should be keen to take up a vegan diet and with 75% of UK adults expressing worry about it, one might assume that a significant proportion of the population has restricted themselves already. However, statistics from YouGov in 2022 reveal that only about 2-3% of the UK’s population is vegan.
So people are concerned about the environment and a vegan diet is better for the environment, not to mention it’s also healthier, and up to 40% cheaper regarding home-cooked meals, yet only a minuscule percentage of the population has committed.
Our theory is that the pain of climate change is not uncomfortable enough for people to change diets. Whilst the effects of climate change are undoubtedly visible, with the number of wildfires rising, thousands of fish washing up dead in the US and species going extinct left, right and centre. It has only just started to directly impact Brits on a large scale through the recent wildfires in Europe.
In an organisational context, businesses postpone hiring consultancies for a similar reason; key decision-makers are often left unaffected or indirectly affected by their ‘people problems’ until it’s widespread.
Let’s take a toxic culture for example. A toxic culture could be causing high attrition, low engagement, low productivity, increasing conflict and complaints to HR within the front-line staff before the decision-makers have even fully acknowledged it’s a problem, let alone taken any action. If the decision-makers were working in a different role, customer service, for example, the discomfort stemming from the toxic culture may be sufficient to warrant a change e.g. hiring a consultancy. But because they are twice, three or four times removed from the situation, their discomfort levels are significantly lower.
The important thing to remember is that, just because your pain point has not been reached, does not mean your organisation’s pain point has not been surpassed. Similarly, just because Britain as a nation has not felt the effects of climate change enough to implement significant change, that does not mean our planet has not.
Whilst an individual’s experience is important, it should not be the only metric used when deciding whether to seek external help. Employee surveys, attrition rates, engagement reports, feedback from middle managers, sales figures, and NPS scores…are all important, if not more important. Yet, many business leaders will have negative trajectories on all of these metrics and still be unwilling to commit to change.
So we challenge you to confront this mindset. This is an insightful quote that can provoke a different way of thinking.
“Marriage is hard. Divorce is hard. Choose your hard.
Obesity is hard. Being fit is hard. Choose your hard.
Being in debt is hard. Being financially disciplined is hard. Choose your hard.
Communication is hard. Not communicating is hard. Choose your hard.
Life will never be easy. It will always be hard. But we can choose our hard. Pick wisely.”
Disclaimer: This quote does not take the myriad of physical & mental health conditions and socioeconomic factors that can play a role in creating some of these circumstances.
Looking at this quote and the intended meaning behind it can give you a new way of thinking about when to address your ‘people problems’ within your organisation.
Having low engagement is hard. Positively engaging your people is hard.
Surviving with low productivity is hard. Increasing organisational productivity is hard.
Managing high attrition and rising recruitment costs is hard. Increasing average tenure is hard.
Operating within a toxic culture is hard. Transforming to a high-performing culture is hard.
The bottom line is, you get to choose your hard…which are you picking?
Now you know why businesses postpone hiring consultancies, take action before the damage is irreversible, and get in touch today for a free, 30-minute consultation with one of our experts.