The ability to attract, engage, develop, and retain employees has become a critical success factor for most companies. Whether a business competes on innovation, customer service, collaboration, or operational excellence, it’s ultimately the people behind those teams that form the foundation of a competitive advantage.
When employees are engaged—committed to and passionate about their jobs—it shows in measurable ways. Organizations with the highest employee engagement scores tend to have 42% higher stock growth than those on the lower end of the spectrum. They also have 35% higher Glassdoor scores, and five times higher market capitalization per employee than those with the lowest engagement scores.
HR Compliance is Shifting to “People Success” Programs
Organizations know that engagement and performance are inextricably tied together; over 90% of business leaders believe that engaged employees become high performers and 70% agree that employee engagement is critical to achieving business results. But knowing that it’s important and knowing how to actually create engagement are two different things.
Organizations have traditionally worked to foster engagement through programs with names like “Talent Management,” which comprises three main areas:
● Employee engagement programs, mostly performed on an annual basis, which are meant to increase engagement and retention.
● Performance management systems, which aim to align employees’ goals with the organization, track their progress, and reward employees fairly.
● Learning & development (L&D) programs, which provide employees with courses for development and upskilling.
However, when these programs are disjointed and centered mainly around compliance, the results aren’t particularly positive. In fact, 56% of employees report they aren’t happy in their current role and less than a third feel like they belong at their company. In addition, 80% of business leaders believe their engagement initiatives are not driving organizational outcomes (Gartner), only 8% of executives see high levels of value in performance management processes, and only 34% of leaders think L&D impacts business outcomes (Gartner).
The good news is that change is on the horizon. Organizations are increasingly shifting their approach to prioritize people’s happiness, development, and prosperity at work. They’re pivoting Talent Management programs into “People Success” programs and creating thriving, high-performance cultures.
The Best Motivation Comes from Within
One of the ways People Success programs differ from traditional approaches is their shift away from extrinsic motivation, i.e., rewards and consequences—such as financial compensation or the fear of losing a job. As Daniel Pink, the author of Drive points out, when people are primarily rewarded extrinsically, they’ll work as hard as they have to…and no more.
People Success programs are based on the premise that what actually matters most to employees is to feel connected to the work that they do. Intrinsic motivation—such as the joy of accomplishing a challenging task or the desire to master a new skill—comes from within. Intrinsic motivation results in peak performance that is self-sustaining. When organizations support individuals to orient their activities around what matters to them, people succeed, the organization succeeds, and everyone thrives.
Leading Organizations Follow These 5 Best Practices
Organizations that put people’s success and happiness first are empowering an engaged workforce, and that workforce is powering their organizations’ success. As Gartner points out, high employee engagement correlates with higher average revenue growth, net profit margin, customer satisfaction and earnings per share. Organizations that are embracing People Success programs to foster successful engagement follow these five best practices:
1. Regular Conversations
Organizations that hold regularly scheduled, one-on-one and team meetings that focus on the success of their people have better focused, committed, and supported teams. Through these consistent and open conversations, managers can assess whether an employee’s role is playing to their strengths.
2. Goal-Setting and Tracking
The most effective organizations perform monthly goal reviews, with updates as needed, and make those goals visible to colleagues. Goal-setting and review helps employees stay on track with how they want to progress professionally and course-correct by learning new skills if needed.
3. Forward-Looking Feedback
The traditional annual performance review isn’t working anymore. Employees expect regular feedback from their managers and peers, and crave continuous development and improvement. The best organizations conduct regularly scheduled pulse checks (e.g., quarterly) and give forward-looking and development-oriented suggestions.
4. One Immediate Action
When problems arise, it’s important for organizations to acknowledge the reality, collaborate to decide on one focus area of improvement, and start by taking an initial action step toward addressing it—such as giving the employees better resources and support.
5. Integrated Insights
In the most highly effective organizations, managers receive input from different sources (such as engagement, performance, and growth programs) in one place in their existing workstream. This helps them see concerns right away, identify solutions, have productive conversations, and make decisions with the freshest and most relevant data.
Putting People’s Success First
As organizations are increasingly moving from a rigid, compliance-oriented, talent management approach to an agile, people-focused approach, they are realizing the benefits. When businesses create an environment where employees can bring their best selves to work—they do their best work. After all, businesses are only as strong as their people. Organizations that are adopting a People Success approach are enabling empowering conversations, continuous improvement, and ultimately, success for everyone.