Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Measuring the Team - Part 2

As we discussed in our last posting, managing through metrics is a fairly common technique in the business world. “What gets measured gets managed” is the old adage, and while true to an extent, this can be misleading. Because if you are measuring the wrong things, you are essentially managing the wrong things as well.

Now, I didn’t really make a true breakthrough in leading until I came to another conclusion about the fallacy of measurements. It seems my boss had lied to me when he said, “Everything that is important can be measured.”  While that sounded good, the most important things in my organization were not able to be measured at all. Things like creativity, passion, loyalty, intelligence, perseverance and, most importantly, employee engagement were not things that I could chart on the wall and measure progress. This really jumped out at me when I was asked to measure employee engagement by tracking and reporting on employee turnover. The message I received was quite clear.

Turnover costs money.

Turnover is bad.

Don’t turnover your employees.

At the end of the year I sat down with my boss to review the measurements on employee turnover. It seemed that my numbers were considerably higher than she wanted. One by one we walked through the reasons for my turnover. Some turnover was due to non-performance by the employee. One or two people left the company. But the vast majority of my turnover was the result of my employees getting promoted to new positions in other departments inside of the company. Promotions that I had supported them on, groomed them for, and actively helped them achieve.

It didn’t matter. The bottom line was that my turnover was too high and I had to “get it under control.” Sitting down and reviewing in my mind the reasons for my high turnover, I slowly came to the realization that the most important aspects of human management could not be measured. I could not measure the loyalty that came when employees willingly worked nights and weekends to complete assignments. Nor could I measure how they counseled each other when problems arose. Nor how the team was managing itself and integrating new team members into the expectations of high standards without a word from me. I couldn’t measure what happened one Saturday when an employee was trying to solve a problem and called 3 of his teammates for support. The 3 teammates gave up their Saturday to devise a very creative solution for a thorny problem. I only knew that they had helped when one of my peers mentioned that she had seen all 4 of my employees working on this problem on a bright and sunny Saturday afternoon and chided me for “being a slave driver.”

It seems that the very best things about a team are difficult, if not impossible, to measure. And while we can measure productivity increases of engaged people and teams, we can’t truly measure what is in the heart of our people. While measuring and using metrics in our business is a critical aspect of our overall success, we need to be careful in thinking that metrics ARE our business. Our long term success is tied to our ability to get the most from our people, and the reality is that our people are our business.

At ECI Learning Systems LLC, we are dedicated to helping companies get the greatest return from their most valuable asset: their employees. We work with you to align 3 key organizational factors:

• Your Company Culture
• The Leadership Styles of your key managers
• The Expectations of your Employees

When these 3 factors are aligned, you create an energy in your company that improves productivity, reduces absenteeism, increases creativity, and positively impacts your bottom line. Contact ECI Learning Systems LLC today to get your free Workplace Evaluation.

Until next time.....

Dave Meyer
ECI Learning Systems, LLC

1 comment:

  1. AMEN, I could not have said it better. There are character traits that make all the difference in our employee engagement, our client engagement and our top and bottom line. We can't measure them. BUT, they make all the difference.

    I think it comes down to the intention behind the action.