What Gets Measured Gets Done!

Having started with the stark contrast between happy employees, satisfied employees, and engaged employees, then looking at the real impact employee engagement can have on our organization’s bottom line before we began working through these strategies we can put in place to earn that kind of engagement, let put a nice bow on it by looking one final thing that has to be in place for any of it to matter - and all too often IS NOT even considered as it related to building engagement within our teams!

In all the years I worked in a manufacturing facility, it seemed like we tracked EVERYTHING! We had to document all the details of the first and last piece we ran for each order, we recorded any scrap produced in the set up process, and we logged the total number of parts we completed before sending them to the next step in the operation or to the warehouse. And most of those metrics needed to be added to multiple forms, not the least of which was a daily time sheet.

On a quarterly basis, the management team met with each business unit to review the results of all those metrics and how the departmental numbers tied to the overall facility goals. That was also when we’d learn whether or not we could expect any kind of bonus that quarter. In most cases, the majority of us had very little clarity about how our individual performance tied to our department’s numbers or the facility’s overall performance. And I’m still not sure anyone on the management team had a clue as to how any of that connected with the goals sent down from the corporate office - the ones that determined whether or not we’d see a kind of bonus… Even when we could connect just a few of the dots, there were so many things we had absolutely no control of as individual contributors (and in some cases, managers), that many of us tuned it all out.

That’s not to say we were disengaged; well, not all of us… The first four years I worked in that facility, I ran various stamping presses that produced parts for the assembly lines. I had a clear understanding of what the machines I operated were capable of and the estimated times for changing the tooling in those machines to produce different parts. Early on, that gave me a target to shoot for. As I learned the nuances of the process, I worked to beat my personal best each and every day. Some days I did and some days I didn’t, but I had a clear standard to measure myself against even when I wasn’t all that sure how any of it tied back to all the squiggly lines they showed us in those quarterly meetings…

I share that scenario from over twenty years ago to call attention to what each of us need to consider as we lead our teams, especially if we want to earn the kind of engagement we’ve looked at to this point. Even after we’ve ensured every single team member knows why their work matters and who it matters to (avoiding feelings of IRRELEVANCE), and we’ve been intentional to make sure they understand that their individual contribution is significant and we care about them (alleviating any potential ANONYMITY), we still need to be sure they know what they should be comparing themselves to on a daily basis - and hopefully that metric can be more meaningful that just making a bunch of parts… Having clear goals and expectations helps to avoid what Lencioni calls the third sign of a miserable job: IMMEASURABILITY

Don’t we all want to know our work matters? Don’t we all appreciate knowing that WE matter? And don’t we tend to put more effort into our jobs when we can know what’s expected and we can easily measure the results?

If we want to truly earn engagement from the team members we’re responsible for leading, this should serve as a solid foundation for doing just that!

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