With the global pandemic emergency causing massive life and economic losses, this re-run of our 2010 post once again becomes relevant.
Leaders should always keep front-of-mind that it’s their workforce that actually does the work to execute strategies to fulfill organization goals and objectives. Retaining an experienced workforce is a vital element of scaling a business, sustaining it during a downturn, and accelerating fast during a rebound/comeback. And, if your workforce isn’t “bought in”, or engaged, in your goals, objectives, strategies and action plans, those simply won’t be achieved.
Getting, and keeping, workforce engagement is critical to success. It depends on the performance management equivalent of financial “materiality”: Relevance. For your goals and strategies to be successfully accomplished, they need to be aligned, relevant and meaningful to the workforce, and their enabling processes and technologies.
Part of this is the “Culture” often discussed in posts, articles and presentations. But, there is a lot more to it than just culture.
Consistent business and work priorities are a vital element of relevance and engagement. Most organizations fail not because of absent priorities, but because of too many contradictory priorities and their competing resources and processes. People start out working hard to succeed, but when they discover they’re working at competing or net-zero cross-purposes with co-workers, they disengage and perform at the minimum, not the optimum. Co-workers figure out quickly that they’re working against each other, so they stop, and the business suffers zero progress.
Timely, accurate and precise performance information feedback reporting is another essential ingredient to workforce engagement. You will be amazed at how much performance results can be improved simply by providing your workforce with time-relevant role-precise performance results. People want to succeed. You just need to clearly tell them what that actually means.
This highlights the obvious critical importance to workforce engagement of communication, outreach, interaction and team participation; especially during times of crisis, challenge and uncertainty. The workforce is looking straight at leadership for this. So, deliver it.
Finally, since performance incentive, commission and recognition programs are one of the organization’s most explicit expressions of “how to succeed here”, creating and implementing role-precise and time-relevant variable compensation plans, whether non-cash, cash or equity, is a key best-practice for getting and keeping the engagement of the people who perform for you.