When it comes to what to prioritize in the workplace, and how to motivate employees, these days it feels like leaders and employees are on completely different pages.
Despite U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data showing employee productivity down, with economists warning about a potential recession, business leaders appear to be even more hyper-focused on employee performance.
Many are attempting to force reluctant employees back into the office – which, unsurprisingly, is at odds, and is jarring compared against new employee expectations around things like flexibility, career growth, and compensation.
Where it’s leaving employers and employees, however, is in some form of vacuum.
Quite rightly, and after experiencing greater empowerment during Covid-19, many employees are not keen to return to old ways of working. The labor market too is giving employees scope to focus on their own individual needs and preferences.
And so it’s almost inevitable that there is now a huge divide between impact-focused leaders and experience-focused employees.
So what is the right way forward?
The metric of ‘Employee success’
It’s my view that rather than warring over which set of goals is the most important, both leaders and employees should focus on a single measure that encompasses both – employee success.
Employee success may sound like a nebulus concept, but I would argue that it’s the connecting strand that exists between three key elements:
Experience: Are you working to create an engaging employee experience?
Quantum Workplace research shows this is less about foosball tables and fancy perks and more about connection to the organization and workplace culture. This means things like: Do employees have autonomy over how they pursue their goals? Are they recognized for great work? Do your company values align with their personal goals and values?
Impact: Are employees and teams high performing?
Impact is all about designing work that not only moves the organization forward, but also makes the most of employees’ skills and talents. So, do they understand how their work contributes to the organization’s success? Are employees effective and growing in their jobs?
Magnetism: Can you communicate what it’s like to work at your company in a way that attracts and retains talent?
This includes the extent to which HRDs market their company, and whether it matches the day-to-day reality for staff. Attracting talent that disconnects or departs when it discovers a gap between what you promised and what you delivered is not magnetism.
Pieces that fit together
These might look like three separate concepts. But I believe they are three puzzle pieces that fit together to build a complete picture of employee success.
Without a great employee experience, you will lose top talent or suffer from low employee engagement – both of which dent impact.
Research shows that 81% of executives believe that engaged employees perform better. Teams and individuals that lack impact do not advance the business’s goals, and will soon face scrutiny from leaders.
Impact is also a big part of a positive employee experience.
People do not like to feel their work is meaningless. Without magnetism your talent pipeline may run dry.
Get out of the siloed mindset
The good news is that nearly every organization measures employee experience, impact, and magnetism in some way.
Companies measure how engaged their employees are. Leaders measure employee outputs, objectives, and goals. HR measures retention and how their recruiting efforts are going.
The new piece here however, isn’t about measuring the components of employee success but understanding how they work together — and then acting on this understanding.
The most successful businesses don’t file data on experience, impact, and magnetism away in separate silos. Nor do they operate with the understanding that they must trade one off against the other. Instead they see these three drivers of employee success as working in harmony together.
By measuring each of the three components of employee success, and then making changes based on this data, companies can create workplaces that make both leaders and employees happy.
It’s worth remembering that all employees (typically) want to be successful. They want to perform and they want to tell you what they need in order to accomplish that.
Moreover, managers also want employees to be successful. When employees have the tools to be successful, managers can become coaches.
Finally, leaders want everyone in the organization to be successful. When individuals are successful, the business achieves success.
Employee success is a crusade that benefits everyone in the organization.
Yes, employee success is shared responsibility, and requires everyine to be pulling in the same direction, so that everyone wins.
But intrinsically, employee success really is a goal the whole organization can get behind
Get the flywheel turning and tell the world about it.
Well, your organization will not only have engaged, high-performing employees, but it will have the magnetism to attract and retain top tier talent too.