Getting that extra 5% contribution from people?
The CEO of a midsized company once remarked “my employees line up at the exit door just before 5 PM. It is almost an exodus as soon as the clock strikes five”. What is going on? And this of course was before the pandemic when people came to work. How is this connection frayed even further when people are virtual? What is the solution?
The company is doing well, is profitable, respected in its segment and has been growing fairly consistently over the last 30 years. But is it growing faster than its competitors, is its profitability higher than the industry average and does it have employees who are actively sought after by other companies?
Every employee brings their mind and their body to work. That is why work gets done, checklists get ticked off, customer orders met, and money collected. These are table stakes. Every company does this. But which are the other companies where the employees give that extra 5% in their efforts which results in dramatically improved performance for the company at large. It is those companies where the employee is bringing not only their mind and their body to work but also their soul.
And management’s job is to create the necessary conditions for people to be able to contribute with their mind, their body, and with their soul. And that happens when work is not about meeting checklists and deadlines but about a larger purpose. Everybody working at the company should not only believe that they are serving customers and getting paid, but also fulfilling a critical part of making the world a better place. And while doing so, they are also learning and growing.
Management’s job is not to provide employment but to provide employability in which the people continuously become better than their own selves, and hence contribute to making the company better in the process. Every employee has options. They should be eminently employable in other companies but choose to continue working in your company. Your job is to give them that purpose and that environment which enables that 5% extra performance in a continuously learning organization.
That is when they will contribute to success with their mind, their body, and with their soul.