Google, Apple, Bloomberg - just to name a few - are celebrated as innovative work places where the lines between adult playgrounds and work spaces are blurred with the intent of keeping the employee engaged and happy. (Note: “keeping the employee” being a key phrase.) Why are these companies successful? What have they learned that the rest of the masses need to awaken to?
Perks like foosball tables, Ping-Pong tables, meditation classes and a brand ambassador program are par for the course, but the key point is to enable our talent to be highly productive by aligning their individual goals to our company goals within the context of an innovative work environment.
Let’s take the example of our Head of Talent, Chris Burnett, who moved from our Chicago office to Boise, Idaho. He is an important part of the leadership team and has a critical function. At first, we were not sure if he could be as impactful not being in the office every day. However, we were able to leverage new video technologies to effectively manage remote working sessions and strategically schedule in-person sessions in our New York office.
Chris’s success, however, lies mainly in the alignment of his own goal with the larger corporate goal. Since working remotely, our global employee turnover has reduced by two-thirds to less than 10% per year globally and we have hired 90 positions in the last 12 months. His efforts helped us in working on our larger corporate goal of achieving 100% client referencability by the end of 2014.
Initially involved exclusively with our research team, our Director of Research, Rama Krishna, soon grew to play to his strengths on the business development side, bringing in a number of new prospects and has also been a substantial force behind our corporate planning and business strategy efforts for 2015. Based in Mumbai, Rama was able to collaborate with our global team, despite different time zones and oceans separating the group.
With the freedom to navigate a diverse set of new experiences and roles at the firm, Rama has been successful through setting and pursuing a clear individual goal which aligns to our larger corporate goal. Since his role evolution, our sales, research and business strategy units have the requisite structure and intelligence in place in order to hit our 2015 corporate targets.
So what are some key tips we can use to best engage our employees?
- Define the “big arrows” or corporate goals and make these clear to everyone in the firm.
- Help each employee tie his/her individual goal to the big arrows and define a clear measurement system to track progress.
- ·Always stay open-minded; be open to trying new models and approaches of engaging employees and don’t be afraid to make mistakes – mistakes are how we iterate and become wiser.