One of the critical components of creating an engaged, high-retention workforce is visibility. I use the term to explain the degree to which the employee base has access to the information they need to determine whether or not the company is doing well. Let’s call that your company’s Visibility Quotient.
To increase your Visibility Quotient, follow these four core operating guidelines.
1. Publish and explain your operating targets
Management teams of high-growth companies spend countless hours huddled up in annual offsites to set top-level operating targets for things like revenue, EBITDA/net income, customer retention, product engagement, and the like. The issue is that, in most cases, the goals are not adequately communicated and explained to the employee base, nor are they understood by the team.
It’s not enough for your leadership team to set targets. You have to publish them to the company so that everyone knows what is expected and understands management’s plan to get there. And I don’t mean just post the numbers so people can see them; a number without a corresponding “why” is just a number. You need to explain your targets and goals to your company in a way that creates a shared understanding and unity of purpose.
2. Publicly commit to hitting the targets that you’ve set
Don’t just email the company’s annual goals to everyone with a “here they are!” email. In doing so, you miss a critical opportunity to present the goals publicly, get buy-in and rally the company around the plan to hit them.
Call an all-hands meeting (or town hall, use your preferred term). Start off by telling everyone that you’re excited to share with them the targets your management team has set for the year and walk them through the plan to get there. Treat this presentation like you’re presenting to the most important prospect to whom you’ve ever sold–because you are.
Tell the company that you, and every member of the leadership team, are personally committed to hitting these targets. Explain to everyone how they benefit when these targets are hit. Is there a bonus pool? Profit sharing? An elevated stock price? You’ve got to show them where they have skin in the game and a reason to care about the outcome.
3. Post the data so everyone can see it
Once you’ve outlined the plan and communicated it publicly, reporting your results is a must-do. Post your progress against KPI targets on the company intranet. If you don’t have an intranet, post it on the wall.
At Hireology, we report our progress-to-target with the entire company every Tuesday morning at our all-company huddle. Here, managers will share their results and whether or not the company is on-track or off-track to meet goals. We take it a step further and report the percentage of the bonus pool that will fund based on the progress we’ve made.
If you’re ahead of plan, awesome. If you’re behind plan, don’t sugar coat it. This is your chance to rally the troops and bend that curve up and to the right.
4. Make leadership fully accessible
I’ve found that when employees have gaps in understanding about the nature of a particular issue, like why a metric is behind target, they start to fill in the gaps with assumptions. And typically not good ones. Why are we behind revenue targets? Customers must not like our product and therefore I might want to update my resume! We’re behind our profit target? I bet they’re getting ready to lay off a bunch of us! You get the idea.
Don’t hide behind the numbers. As the leadership team, it’s your duty to make yourself accessible to the company so that they can ask questions or vent frustrations if things aren’t working.
If your team knows where they are going and why they are going there, it opens the floor for an engaged conversation about how they get there. Every opportunity to create buy-in from your team is another chance to create an engaged workforce. Increasing your company’s Visibility Quotient is entirely under your control. Make a deliberate, intentional effort to drive visibility by following these four guidelines.