In Part One of this series, I concluded with the apparently baffling observation that while individual employee productivity and awareness may be excellent, it simply doesn’t automatically translate at the organisational level, which can in reality be zero or even negative despite the valiant efforts of engaged, loyal and motivated employees.

To explain how, I’m going to borrow an example from the expert I cited last week, Ryan Fuller, whose company VoloMetrix (now part of Microsoft) specialises in people and organisational analytics.

Fuller describes a multi-billion-dollar tech firm that had asked VoloMetrix to help them improve the efficiency of how they managed their partner ecosystem; most of its revenues came through a huge partner ecosystem encompassing resellers, manufacturers and other entities. To that end, they supplied VoloMetrix with a list of approximately 700 employees who they believed were the partner-facing part of the workforce. They wanted to know if they were right in their belief and whether they had missed anyone.

After rigorous data mining, VoloMetrix found that they had – and by a whole order of magnitude. The real number of employees interacting with partners for at least one hour per week over the course of the previous year was closer to 7,000. Between them, they accounted for 2 million hours of time sent on direct partner interactions like meetings and emails. That’s $200 million in employee time every year.

Surprisingly, despite the dedication of these employees, who were doing their individual jobs exceedingly well, a staggering 50 per cent of the time they spent engaging with partners had zero correlation with enterprise value. 50 per cent amounts to a million hours a year, or 500 full-time employees. These are big figures.

Multiple employees from several teams were engaging with the same people at the same partner firms in a completely uncoordinated way.

Next time, I’ll explore the need to embrace both an approach to individual productivity and awareness and an organisational mindset to ensure that efforts like those exemplified by these dedicated workers don’t end up impeding or even destroying value.

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