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Go upstream

Posted by Andy G. Schmidt on Jan 17, 2022 10:27:59 AM

Focus is both the strength and the weakness of your organization.

The specialization inherent to organizations creates great efficiencies. But it also deters upstream efforts.

People resist acting on a perceived problem because they feel as though it’s not their place to do so.

What’s odd about upstream work is that, despite the enormous stakes, it’s often optional.

While downstream activity - the rescues, responses and reactions – is what your work demands of you.

Somehow fighting the fire is valued over preventing the fire.


The Employee-Engagement-Service-Shareholder-Value-Chain

Let’s pause and take a step back: You see, nowadays there are no longer just those categories of B2B or B2C.

It’s all H2H-business. Human to Human business (unless you do sell robots and your company is run by robots who sell robots, but then you would hardly be in that company anyway).

Everything starts with people.

And whether those people are engaged or not matters.

The great news is, your engaged employees could fuel a virtuous cycle.

I call it the Employee-Engagement-Service-Shareholder-Value-Chain (“EESSVC”).

It works like dominoes.

How exactly?

Let’s look at an example from the hotel sector:

The housekeeper – let’s call her Sharon - knows that not only has the room to be clean but that her mission is to make sure every single guest will return to her hotel again and again. She is fully committed to that mission and uses discretionary efforts to contribute her part. Her service level, proficiency & productivity are high. Her attrition risk is low. And magically the operational and financial KPIs fall into place.


EESSVC Published 11Jan22


How engaged your people really are ('upstream') makes all the difference in all those financial KPIs that managers like to focus their attention on ('downstream').

An employee is always at the root cause.


So in these critical times, if you don’t address the upstream reasons people are leaving, more might be off in a flash like a fluffle of rabbits at the sight of danger.


Let me end with these questions:

Why do your efforts skew so heavily towards reaction than prevention?

Why is fighting the fire valued over preventing the fire?

Could the key to solving the most common ‘downstream’ problems be found ‘upstream’?

Why don’t we go ‘upstream’ and put focus and resources into fulfilling those needs of our frontline employees to make them stay?

How might we reward and support efforts that prevent problems? Even if they are not as tangible or easier to reward.


Are YOU the person to improve the system from within at your workplace?

Are YOU the one who has the will, fire and thought process to think bigger and in systems to figure out that there is a problem and actually make an attempt at solving it?

How can YOU go upstream to fix ‘it’?

Could 2022 be YOUR year to start on 'it'?

Not doing something ‘upstream’ has consequences - sometimes huge ones.


If you need help in going upstream, do reach out to us. We will be delighted to show you some proven options that you could implement at your place too.

Show me how it works


Press to play two quick examples of going upstream:

1) with your Workplace Health & Safety

HubSpot Video


2) with your Data Security & Privacy

HubSpot Video


Topics: Employee Experience, Best Practice, Operational Efficiency

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