In last week’s post, I recalled my experience at the fast food restaurant. The statement, uttered or not, of “What’s in it for me?” is a fair and fundamental question from any employee who is asked or told, to have a significant impact on organizational performance. It’s also a question rarely answered… at least not convincingly.
Not long ago while at a public speaking engagement at a large hotel in Charlotte, I ran into some employees who had just come out of an unrelated management training session down the hall. I overheard a supervisor type make the following comment… “ I got $60,000 before this seminar, and I’ll get $60,000 after the seminar”. In other words, what’s in it for me? Evidently that question wasn’t addressed. Oh we can make the “your lucky to have a job”, or the – “if the company doesn’t meet the customer demands we’ll all lose” argument, ect. In the end, those arguments fall flat.
Whether an employee at a fast food restaurant, a supervisor in manufacturing plant, or a manager at the corporate office… virtually all are emotionally and financially disconnected from the performance of the enterprise. Don’t confuse charts, graphs, KPI’s, dashboards, rah-rah sessions and other such activities as strategies that will engage people emotionally. They will have a minimal impact at best. It’s the subject that never comes up, but until employees have an emotional reaction to a good week or a bad week, a good month or a bad month, they’re not really in the game.
Extra-ordinary organizational performance requires that your employees get beyond the exchange of time for money syndrome, and become active, vibrant participants in the game, in the performance of the business… every day, every week, every month. And like it or not – meaningful, real time, variable compensation is a key ingredient. However, in that context, there are three fundamental requirements. How do you execute in a way that –
- Drives real behavioral change among employees at all levels?
- Impacts activities that really do drive the bottom line?
- And insures an equitable sharing of incremental (new) financial results between employee and employer?
When you deploy an effective answer to those questions, you will outperform the industry, you will have the profit/ebitda/cash flow you require AND you will have highly motivated employees at all levels of the organization.