Half of all businesses believe they will be hugely or substantially impacted by digital transformation in their industry according to Gartner research. This, along with accelerated innovation and hyper competition, means that many businesses are struggling to keep up with unprecedented levels of change. What do they need to do to ensure they prosper in this challenging business environment?
Two things come to mind. First, make customers the cornerstone of your business; focus on improving customer experience and boosting loyalty and invest time and resources in finding new ways to do this. Second, understand that in a knowledge driven economy your staff are crucial to your success. Therefore, implement management processes that get the most out of them to bring sustained organisational effectiveness.
Feedback from customers and employees is central to success in both these areas. Listening to what they are saying, and using this insight to fuel change, is crucial. This post focuses on the people side of the equation – in other words, how you can go about using feedback to drive organisation effectiveness for your business. There are three main considerations:
Driving higher staff engagement
You probably already understand the importance of employee engagement for your business – staff who are more engaged tend to be more productive, stay longer and contribute more. High staff engagement increases efficiency – because employees go above and beyond in their jobs, achieve more, and, as they are less likely to leave, your hiring costs are lower. Greater engagement comes from listening, and acting on feedback. So you need to move away from an annual employee survey to introducing modern ways of collecting feedback, such as quarterly pulse and weekly ‘heartbeat’ monitoring.
Getting your company culture aligned with business strategy
Of course, employee engagement can only take you so far. Your staff can be engaged and enthusiastic, but that’s not useful unless they are focused on your company strategy. To make sure they are both productive and focusing on the things that are important for your objectives requires you to break down barriers and create an open culture that is driven by always-on feedback. This can be daunting because it involves all employees sharing their thoughts, whenever they want, and ensuring you act on their feedback – meaning your organisation has to have a flatter structure, and be more transparent. Yet, the benefits are enormous – managers have access to broader insight and staff are both engaged and aligned with the organisation’s goals. The upshot is effective staff operating in a culture of continuous improvement.
Wave goodbye to top-down leadership
To drive organisational effectiveness, you need to move away from top down leadership, to creating leaders across the organisation. All managers should see themselves as leaders and be continually looking at how they improve their performance by listening to, and acting on, feedback from all those around them. This is about continuous performance management, with managers able to ask for, and receive, feedback at any time. They can appraise their own performance and work with their teams to create new innovations and solve any issues that are holding the business back.
If you want to survive and thrive in increasingly competitive and fast moving markets, then it’s essential to get the best out of your people. Central to this is building a strategy that delivers organisational effectiveness– and it all starts with listening to your employees, and acting on their feedback.