What does this mean for you as a business owner?
You need to have a clear set of metrics that are important to you, yes (“the numbers”). But you also need to think just as critically about how you manage and engage your people, which involves:
- Compensation: While you don’t need to break the bank, especially as a smaller outfit, you need to be competitive at least in geographic market.
- Job Role: Is it clear how each employee contributes to their own development, their department/functional area, and the overall business?
- Process: Is it impossible to get even the simplest stuff done? What processes could be killed to make things flow better?
- Team Functions: Are there opportunities for teams to connect outside of tasks? Are there happy hours, gym sessions, and more to help them learn about each other at a personal level?
- Development: Are there learning opportunities? Can employees take classes, either online or in-person? Is there a mentorship setup so that more veteran employees can teach younger ones?
- Empathetic Management: What are your managers being evaluated on? Is it solely numbers? If so, can you incorporate numbers related to their management of other people, i.e. scores from their direct reports or something similar? You need to have a path to ensure that managers are actually managing and developing, not just looking out for their specific KPIs.
Business growth comes from both external — sales, marketing, operations — and internal — your people — strategies. Think about employees as “internal customers.” That one vocabulary shift might help you reframe the issue.
In general, the most successful, speedy-growth companies focus on 1-2 big goals and align everything — the people systems, the IT processes, the revenue reporting — to those goals. Otherwise you can get trapped in thinking 10-15 things are important, and never really pay the right amount of attention to any of them. So if you have a big goal of “Fluid and easy processes,” for example, make sure everything around IT tickets is intuitive and easy, everything around hiring is easy, everything around the metrics tracked and reported is easy, the path to a higher salary is understandable, etc. The alignment drives the strategy forward, and the strategy being aligned creates the growth.