This article originally appeared in HRMorning
By: Elizabeth Brockey, Chief Customer Officer at Simpli.fi
The technology sector has consistently been ranked as the No. 1 industry with the highest turnover, and it comes down to the one thing that sets digital advertising apart from traditional advertising – metrics.
Metrics and KPIs are important in evaluating employee success, but using only the number of phone calls taken or emails sent often fails to present a full picture of what employees are achieving and the value they bring to the business.
In fact, these statistics and data points often foster a culture that can promote efficiency and profitability but can hurt the bottom line in deep and irreversible ways.
Employers are well advised to ditch the metric-based evaluation approach and instead, opt for a holistic review of employee performance if they want to create a culture that empowers their employees and benefits business initiatives.
A Zero-Sum Game
Company cultures driven by metrics often play to the idea of “winners” and “losers” and create a zero-sum game. While there are aspects of competitiveness that can be used for positive motivation and encouragement, many of these zero-sum cultures can drive employees to hide, rationalize, minimize, or cover up—all to avoid failure.
This becomes especially complicated when metrics are introduced as a way of measuring this success. For example, if a company begins to measure success based on the number of customers an employee speaks to over the phone per week, the duration of the call, how many customers are onboarded, etc., this can lead to an unconscious realignment of goals that is often in direct conflict with overall business objectives.
Rather than ensuring that each customer has their questions answered and a full understanding of how to use the product or service, employees are now being incentivized to speak to more customers and spend less time on the phone with them. As a result, the quality of interaction goes down, but the frequency of low-quality interactions skyrockets.
While there are metrics that show specific insights into employee performance, it’s important to remember that these metrics provide a very limited view of “success”, and a holistic review is going to be far more insightful when examining overall performance.
It’s worth noting that you can use these metrics as indicators. Just be sure to combine them with other indicators for an overall business health score.
Creating a positive company culture that enables your business (and bottom line) to thrive, starts with focusing on the deeper issues connected to how people feel and understanding how that impacts how they behave within a work environment
Cultures based on a people-first approach enables employees to learn and grow through their weaknesses, acknowledge shortcomings and grow rather than unconsciously expending energy to meet KPIs—many of which can often be misleading when it comes to demonstrating actual value.
Understanding how employees feel, and how they make others feel (both internally and externally) can often prove to be more valuable than what is it they know.
There are three central ideas that need to be considered when building a culture based on people rather than numbers:
Invest in Them and They Will Invest in Your Clients
Understanding and investing in employees’ goals and passions are an integral part of building a company culture based on people rather than metrics. When employees feel that their needs are being met, and that their goals and dreams are aligned with the company’s overall success, they can focus their energy on making those goals a reality.
Allow for Learning
A key tenant of creating a people-first culture is understanding that employees are, in fact, human. Humans make mistakes, and employees will too. Allow for learning experiences and reward those that make mistakes and then bounce back with new solutions and stronger experience. Sometimes failure can be just as important as success when it comes to learning and growing as a team. By establishing a non-punitive culture, a company can then truly foster teamwork where employees learn from their experiences in a positive way. The team then desires to improve, using creative problem solving to ensure other team members avoid similar pitfalls.
Open and Honest Communication
Providing and encouraging open communication, honest feedback, and complete transparency is an essential part of driving a successful culture that puts people first. In order to empower employees to achieve, they need to have a clear understanding of their responsibilities and what is expected of them, along with the freedom to share their ideas and opinions with managers and team members. Team members must feel enabled to provide feedback to their leadership in a respectful way so that the business can not only serve its clients, but team members too.