People Science

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Practicing HR with a People Science Mindset

Performentor practices human resources (HR) and team development with a People Science mindset. This is one way we set ourselves apart from alternative service providers. Let’s talk about what we mean by People Science and why it’s useful.

What is People Science?

There is a field of behavior science practice in which experts help developmentally disabled individuals learn skills that the rest of us learn automatically through typical development. This involves converting seemingly hard to measure capabilities into their specific behaviors and creating programs that enable the learning of these new behaviors. This approach, when applied to the business setting, is called organizational behavior management (OBM). Leveraging this approach in people practices is a part of what people science (either capitalize people science or leave lowercase throughout…maintain consistency means for HR.

People science means more than just behavior science and its related fields. More importantly, people science is a mindset of openness and rigor in finding the right solution for a particular context. Behavior science is a good way to generate robust hypotheses about what the problem is and a likely solution to address root causes of difficult people-related challenges. With a people science mindset, we treat our first assessments as hypotheses that we can test, gain feedback iterate/pivot, and then scale what works. This mindset is exemplified by our operating principle “what we don’t know > what we do know.”

What can People Science do for your business?

A people science approach helps any HR professional (and organization) increase team performance and engagement. Specific benefits include:

  • People scientists are experts at finding ways to measure and improve things that are hard to measure. This skillset translates really well to difficult people issues.
  • People science helps us address skills and behaviors without labeling the person as being a certain way (e.g., toxic, not a teamplayer, difficult). When we label, it’s much harder for us to see how things can change.
  • People science gives us a set of tools to address root causes of people performance issues that serve as a great supplement to traditional HR-specific solutions.
  • People science helps us identify system-level barriers to performance and cultural alignment. Rather than focus solely on the individual, we can unleash capacity by tweaking the system in a way that works with human nature instead of against it.
  • People science helps us avoid misguided but well-intentioned ‘flavor of the month’ approaches to people management and performance improvement.

What People Science is NOT.

You may have heard of Industrial/Organizational (I/O) Psychology and wonder how that might compare to people science. I/O Psychology is quite popular, and there’s definitely some overlap between the fields.

I/O psychology tends to rely more on self-report assessments and addresses what people think and feel. They also look at what people do, but typically through the lens of personality. In comparison, behavior science prioritizes what people do– their behaviors– as the primary measure of performance improvement. It’s a matter of emphasizing visible behaviors versus the subjective internal dynamics.

Behavior science applications for businesses

  • Leadership Development – Leader behavior drives culture and creates the environment that employees work in. Let’s give them the tools to make the best workplace possible.
  • Behavior-Based Safety – Focusing on leading indicators and emphasizing safe behavior can dramatically reduce workplace injuries as well as provide opportunities for feedback, growth and performance improvement.
  • Process Improvement – Clarification of confusing or complicated processes allows us to streamline workflows, remove redundancies and create consistent, predictable results.
  • Training – Having clear objectives for behavior change and building in practice opportunities creates highly effective training programs.
  • Performance Management – Improving performance, motivation, satisfaction, etc. for managers and employees by creating solid metrics and feedback systems.
  • Core Values/Culture Definition & Dissemination – A values-driven culture is known by the patterns of behaviors the whole team exhibits. We help translate values into behavioral actions, build them into all people practices, and integrate them into the company brand.

People Science Coaching for HR Professionals.

When working in HR, you are confronted with all kinds of people-related opportunities and challenges. Many HR professionals have learned through experience and tradition of “how things have always been done.” What if we have a people science ‘whisperer’ who could be our sounding board and teacher of all things people science? This is beyond just learning some new terminology. It’s also applying the science with real life current issues, so your team performs better and so do you. It’s a great way to expand your skillset beyond compliance and traditional HR tactics so that you can be the true business partner your business leaders truly appreciate.

Learn more and start a conversation

Fill out the form below or give us a call for more information about Performentor’s Fractional HR Services and how we work with clients to assist them in managing team productivity and unleashing people energy in and for companies and nonprofits. We are here to help businesses conduct smart, practical, and flexible HR solutions.

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We’re not your standard blocking and tackling HR professionals, therefore, we’re quite easy to talk to and level with. Schedule a consultation with us if you’re seeking an HR partnership and ready to Unleash People Energy™ to propel your team’s growth. Whether you need us for an hour or a standing meeting to build and run the leanest and simplest people practices, we’ve got you!

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600 Park Offices Drive
Suite 300
Durham , NC 27709
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