Business Driver #3 (of 7): Your Employees
We’re in the third of a series of seven newsletters that are introducing the Seven Business Drivers. The first and second drivers are you and your management team, respectively. The third is your broader team of employees.
As mentioned in the first two articles, culture, vision, pace, productivity, focus and creativity all start with the way the leader—and then leadership—operates. How the business owner shows up to themselves and their executive team will be the traits that manifest among employees.
These seven drivers are being represented in order of importance with employees coming in third and customers fourth. We’ll cover customers in the next article. Richard Branson, the famed founder and CEO of the popular Virgin brand of companies claims his key to success is putting employees first, customers second and investors third. This strategy has given him a 98 percent retention rate.
Branson, who is also known for his integration of work, life and health takes the time necessary to care for his own well-being so that he can put employees (which includes his management team) first. In other words, there is little difference in reality between his strategy and the priority order of the first three business drivers we’re covering.
What does it look like to focus on employees? Here’s a checklist of items that, if in place, will help transform your culture and increase productivity, accountability and retention.
- Communicate your vision and goals to everyone in the company clearly. Over-communicate them; hang signs around your office, mention them in every all-hands meeting.
- Benchmark your performance against your goals on a regular basis. Tell employees where you are relative to sales, product development, hiring, etc. Make them part of the solution.
- Hold yourself and your management team accountable for not canceling meetings with their teams. Frequent cancellations and reschedules is disrespectful and creates a culture where people cancel on each other.
- Allow employees to create measurable goals for themselves and tie them into their own personal and professional objectives. Then, hold them accountable for achieving their business goals. Build incentive programs around accountability—and stick to them.
- Quickly fire the bottom 10 percent of employees who don’t “get with the program.” This is a strategy from Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric. Firing the bottom feeders respects those employees who are putting in the time for your company and increases morale. Keeping under-performers on the payroll only brings everyone else down. Top performers actually leave.
- Hold regular team-building events and build your own traditions. This could be a Thursday free lunch day or something else. Having your own traditions will help people bond around your company.
How many of these six points are active in your company? What will you do to implement the ones that are not yet in place?A focus on the people who are your company is the key to remaining a top-class enterprise.