Happy, Passionate and Committed Staff Feed Your Bottom Line
Who primarily benefits from traditional Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s)? It is the beneficiaries, i.e. shareholders, of the business that reap the monetary rewards from the toll or the operational staff. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with stakeholders getting return on their investments, it would be wrong if they didn’t. However, traditionally we have looked at KPI’s as tools directly linked to the bottom line; how can we increase the revenues? visit more clients! We need to visit 20% more clients to increase our turnover by 15%, you recognise it I am sure. However, we are neglecting the human factor when we set these goals. We have the same attitude to our staff as we do with the environment; it is a never ending resource, if one is used up, another will come along.
Richard Branson famously said that he puts employee first because if you take care of your employees they take care of your clients. To do this you need to create a business that embodies the focus on the employees and that there is a real trust and understanding that the focus and care is genuine. Measuring their value against monetary success doesn’t achieve that. Let’s have a look at how this focus will change how you view your KPI’s
Entrepreneurs don’t need KPI’s normally, at least not when they are starting out, they are driven by passion and determination. Is it possible to have a company full of employees that operate with that same passion and determination as an entrepreneur in the start up phase does? For us who experienced the .com Boom in the 90’s know that it is possible as these companies were full of creative people with a passion and drive to build something from scratch. I know there are a fair few out there that wish they could experience that again, and I think we can.
Of course there are counter arguments:
- Businesses need money to thrive
- There are many that want the jobs, but not that many that want to invest.
- Money motivates people
- If we don’t control the input we can’t control the outcome
- It’s too risky
- If you coddle staff they will just keep demanding more.
Changes and risks go hand in hand, but if we don’t make changes we are bound to fail as we stagnate and the world moves past us leaving us to wither. My earlier point is that the passion and creative energies alone allow you to reach your goals, which will result in monetary rewards (do what you love and the money will follow). Money only motivates people until they have used up all the stored energy they have. If you don’t have a balance between satisfying the interests of your key constituencies you will lose one or several. So, yes, coddling staff could mean that you get taken advantage of, which is why you need to transform the business before embarking on any change.
So for us to move towards a place where we implement healthy Key Performance Indicators we need to first take the business through a process of fundamental change. We will need to move staff and managers away from the traditional business practices and to do that we have to shake up the foundations. Core changes in attitudes, beliefs and expectations will take place.
The process of discovering and healing your business’ energy imbalances has no formula, it is a unique process for every individual and every group. However, some important elements that will be part of every case are:
- Providing tools for how to deal with fear and anxiety
- Waking the individual up to their value and responsibility
- Make each person realise their energetic impact on the collective energy
- Education of how to direct energy towards positive thoughts, words, deeds and actions
- Improving empathy and engagement in the business, its values and community
- Changing individuals attitude and approach to interacting with colleagues, managers, clients, suppliers, etc.
When you embark on the process of profound change in your business there will be periods of pain and resistance. It is only natural as you are moving away from what is familiar to something that is not yet known, it is imagined, but not known. Constant reinforcement of the goals with the process is important to alleviate the challenges.
Of course there is far more to the process of change than what I described above, but, for this exercise, you only need to understand that it is needed and what we seek to achieve with change. If you try to implement wellness and mindfulness based KPI’s without change, you will fail miserably. Staff and managers have to have an innate sense and knowledge how the new KPI’s will benefit the WHOLE business before implementation.
In your new business that has a balanced collective energy with individuals that respect themselves and others and with a new commitment to the business you are ready to set new goals and success indicators. Below is a simple formula for tying in your KPI’s top to bottom and back again:
- Define success for your overall business without using numbers. The definition will be closely related to your USP (unique selling proposition) and your Mission Statement.
- Break down that success statement for each area/business unit. Don’t forget to define success for management as a group as well.
- Set ‘soft’ Key Performance Indicators against each groups success statement. By ‘soft’ KPI’s I mean make them human focused. For example, in customer service you might previously have had a KPI relating to how many calls a rep should handle each day. Now you might want to change that to ‘ratio of positive client outcomes against number of calls’. You have changed your KPI focus from efficiency to client satisfaction.
- Bring all the KPI’s together at the top level and compare them against each other and against the overall success definition of the business, do they correspond and relate to each other? Do they feed the same idea of success? If not, tweak them and bring them down on a group level again to ensure they match the group success definition. Fine tune this back and forth until it fits perfectly.
- Finally set success definitions for the business as it relates to its people and the community. You may want to be on the forefront of wellness and reducing sick days in the business, you may want to help reduce pollution and wast in your area, etc. Set KPI’s against these goals.
- Set up plans at every level to achieve the KPI’s, allocate resources towards those plans and follow through with accountability and rewards at the goal line.
If you have succeeded in the programme with changing your business and implementing ‘soft’ KPI’s, you will be doubly rewarded through your bottom line as well as a staff that is happy and healthy and as committed and passionate about the success of your business as you are.
Don’t be afraid to talk about monetary performance and success/failure, but always use it against the back drop of your new Key Performance Inidicators and your success definitions.
Go out there, be happy, passionate, committed and make some money while you’re at it.
Also published on Medium.