Results of a survey show that (only) 14% of employees understand the companies strategy and direction.
But, is that the reason that employees do not do what they are supposed to do?
My take on this that — although strategy and direction are important — direct feedback of results is a core driver for employee engagement.
It’s ironic, even if employees seem to have business information available at real-time, as most of their (individual) work is captured in automated systems, they lack direct feedback. Their day-to-day job is focussed on solving customer issues, closing deals, get stuff from A to B, etc.
Sometimes they get a monthly report in the form of a PDF or Excel sheet with too much data and not enough information. That’s feedback, yes sure, but I bet hardly anybody reads that stuff. And it’s a month late…
So, how do best-in-class organizations get employees do what they are supposed to do? They give them, as a group and individually, direct feedback in the form of for example daily updated business metrics in a dashboard. That’s the first step to change behavior and engagement. Chance is that — initially — it might influence the wrong behavior (*). But it shows you can get people to change behavior based on feedback. All you got to find are the right knobs (a.k.a. business metrics) and measure, publish, discuss, adapt — in line with your strategy and direction, of course.
What’s your take?
1. I have seen an example where support requests where first written down a post-it note, and after it was solved, entered into the system whereby it seemed that all requests were solved within the 2 hours.
2. Another popular Beat-The-System: sales deals moved to the next reporting period because sales targets for this period already are met.
20 years ago when we built the software to run our recruitment businesses we built in a feedback system that provided precise measures of performance on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Staff were allowed to set their own budgets so that they had ownership of their performance benchmarks. Formal weekly meetings were held with all our staff to review overall company and individual performance.
This approach proved to be very successful with the solutions for most problems being provided by the staff themselves.
As a manager all I had to do was provide the infrastructure for staff to succeed and, through regular review, ensure that our software provided accurate results. The staff felt in control and new that their efforts were being recognised.