5 Steps to Building a Goal Focused Culture
It’s proven that employees want more guidance and support from their managers when it comes to performance in the workplace. Various studies show that around 70% of employees want more feedback from their supervisors on the overall quality of the work they are completing to help them become more successful. That being said, employees often feel that the feedback they get from their supervisors isn’t structured in a way that brings them and the company the most value. Meetings discussing numbers and vague areas of improvement are often setup without a clear picture of how to succeed.
These pain points that companies see so often are what ignited the idea for QOREBOARD. We realized that the best way to build clarity in the workplace is to create a goal-focused platform that worked to assist managers in their communications, as well as employees in their growth and achievements. By doing this, not only did the culture improve drastically for our customers, but so did overall revenue.
So, what makes up a successful goal-focused culture? QOREBOARD’s digital solution is structured around these 5 steps to success:
- Identify QORE KPIs that move the needle and positively impact the bottom line. Many companies focus on measurements related to historical practices and norms but have minimal impact to the bottom line. To maximize impact, it may be necessary to create new KPIs that didn’t exist previously. Most solutions require a balance between effectiveness and efficiency, and unfortunately in many companies one group gets dinged for small increases in cost while another gets credit for increased revenue. Leaders need to acknowledge those tradeoffs and reward each function for selfless behavior that results in bottom line improvements. For example – in a call center, Operations may focus heavily on average handle time (AHT) and be able to shave 10 seconds off each call, saving a few pennies per customer engagement. However, increasing handle time by 60 seconds could maximize upsells, cross sells, saves or conversion translating into significant incremental revenue per customer at a cost of only a few dollars. Doing the right thing for the company would make the Operations team miss their targets and make the Sales and Marketing teams look like heroes. When starting a performance improvement program, you should evaluate the impact and tradeoff of different KPIs, making sure that employees and managers are rewarded for making the right decision for the company as a whole, not just their department.
- Gather feedback and work collaboratively to set aggressive, but achievable MICROGOALS℠ on your QORE KPIs. Teams like to win and winning promotes more winning. You shouldn’t set goals that are too high or too low. We could write an entire article on goal setting (and we will), but the short answer is to leverage SMART1 goals which are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time Bound. Try to set individual goals based on tenure, historical performance or role. A new hire capable of selling 2 products per day should not have the same goal as a 3-year veteran averaging 25 products per day. If you set goals too high, individuals/teams give up before the race begins. If you set goals too low, individuals/teams either lack urgency and shoot to achieve the goal over the entire period or they hit the goal and lose incentive to over deliver. Both scenarios fail to maximize performance and fail to build a performance driven culture.
- Communicate and share best practices. To rally any size team or group of individuals, you need to set clear expectations on performance and communicate feedback frequently. We have found that many companies have cut out daily team meetings and reduced “non-productive time”. We would argue that getting teams, supervisors and leadership to communicate more frequently should not be classified as non-productive. It can become the most productive and impactful part of your team’s day. We have seen a significant ROI from frontline employees spending time sharing best practices which generally has a positive sustainable effect on efficiency and effectiveness. Facilitating frequent discussions around difficult situations or tricky customer interactions can help raise the game of all your employees and provide a more consistent and improved Customer Experience. Building a performance culture requires frequent communication and engagement with frontlines and managers. They need to know how their daily activities impact the company and that what they do matters.
- Track performance and offer frequent feedback through MICROADJUSTMENTS℠. We promote real time measurement and feedback. That’s not always an easy thing to do. Do your best to minimize the time between updates of performance data. Once that is done, get the information in the hands of the person responsible for delivering the metric as quickly as possible. Offering actionable feedback as close to the actual activity that drove the result allows the person to recall the interaction and have a clearer understanding of how their behaviors resulted in either a positive or negative outcome. Instead of offering feedback on the 12 things someone did wrong, we like to select one important behavior to focus on at a time. Help the person improve and perfect that single behavior or action by making MICROADJUSTMENTS℠. In our experience the employee will be much more likely to incorporate a best practice into their everyday routine when the improvements are broken into smaller digestible shifts in behavior. Whenever possible, make the performance tracking visible and as close to real time as possible using dashboards, QOREBOARDs, whiteboards, etc..
- Celebrate wins and acknowledge setbacks. People like to win and contribute. Although we have met many individuals that aren’t properly motivated, once we uncover what moves that person, attitudes can change 180 degrees in a short period of time. Our approach is to find ways for people to win multiple times per day. We love to hear stories of employees telling their family and significant others how they won “8 out of 8 hours today!”. People can achieve incredible things when properly motivated. When setbacks occur, reevaluate whether your goals, training, communication, incentives, etc. were the driver and adjust your approach. Employees appreciate when leadership acknowledges a mistake and works quickly to fix it.
1 Doran, G. T. (1981). "There's a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management's goals and objectives". Management Review. 70 (11): 35–36.