Business is a Team Sport
Engagement is not a yes they are, or no their not issue. There is a continuum of employee engagement. From absolutely disconnected to incredibly productive and effective. There is another dimension to the issue that may be even more critical. Are your individual employees engaged organizationally? To put it more clearly, are they a fully functional, effective, and engaged team, that fully cooperates between departments and pursues company-wide objectives? Or are they stellar individuals, but not particularly concerned with team performance as a whole, let alone corporate results?
How do you create an atmosphere or culture that will cause employees to unite their efforts for benefit of all – including your corporate results? One team, one goal is the objective. I believe there are four fundamentals in creating this environment. When asked what the key to winning in football was, Vince Lombardi, the great coach of the Green Bay Packers responded, “Running, passing, blocking, and tackling. If we do those four things well, we’ll win more then we lose.” Likewise, our Equishare™ System deploys a four-pronged strategy to drive organizational engagement and performance:
Define the essence of performance and profitability. This is not some vision or mission statement that nobody can recite. Rather, we identify the four most critical factors in your business and measure them in dollars. The definition must be clear, concise, powerful, and universally understood. The centerpiece of the Equishare™ System is a unique set of four (4) key relational financial metrics, which offer an extremely high correlation to over-all financial results. Without the complications and misunderstandings associated with the entire financial statement. Running, passing, blocking and tackling.
Measure and communicate the critical factors that drive winning performance—constantly, visually, and energetically. What is the score? How much time is left? How far to the goal? Are we winning or losing? Employees need to see, feel, and have an emotional reaction to business outcomes. And most importantly, have compensation linked to business outcomes, real time.
Pursue the game plan. You must have a focused, tactical, visible leadership and operating plan and effort to create awareness, identify opportunities, deploy resources, flex the organization, remove barriers, find solutions, and achieve gains. Performance-based compensation is never a substitution for leadership.
Reward all employees, every month “we win”, for superior results. One team, one goal, one company, one financial statement – everybody wins or everybody loses.
For 30 years, in hundreds of organizations, we have seen seriously engaged and effective individuals and organizations pursue and reach significant new levels of financial performance. Notice on our website – http://www.equishare.com – that the majority of client comments are from CFO’s. Why? Most likely, for the first time they have experienced a performance based compensation strategy that is highly correlative to true incremental gains in company financial results. Not an expense to be borne, rather an incremental gain to be shared.
Some may be asking, why not just do some sort of profit sharing? Here are three of many very good reasons not to share profits. First – NO ONE understands it. What people don’t understand, they do not trust. Think about it, your financial statement probably requires 200 to 500 line items to explain profit, and 98% of your employees (including many managers) don’t understand it. Many businesses have passed out many dollars and simply angered employees. Not intentionally, but as a product of misunderstanding that “hard work” does not always translate into profit. Second – the majority of profit sharing systems are annual. To far away to drive a behavioral change. NOBODY is working harder in March, because they might get a check next January. When the “result – reward” relationship goes beyond a month you fall way off the behavioral change/engagement curve. Third – the word profit is to big, misunderstood, misinterpreted, macro, etc. Of course we want to be profitable – like a football coach wants to win. But what are the critical components of winning? Of being profitable? What is running, passing, blocking and tackling in your business? Simply saying Profit is the objective is too strategic, not tactical. We want to focus the organization on the four critical factors that drive profit, and share with them the fruits of success.
Having star individuals may be good, but having an effective, focused, results driven team is what it takes to excel in the marketplace and on the financial statement. Having a universal prospective to define, measure, pursue and reward performance will facilitate a culture of organizational engagement.
I will leave you with this play on words. What your employees are paid is interesting… what they cost is critical. What an organization wants, and what the financial statement needs, are the highest paid employees, that cost the business the least amount of money. That is only achievable through a highly engaged organization… not just individuals.