The Savant Business Management System harmonizes the 5 most critical areas of your business – Foundation, People, Strategy, Execution, and Control. With all companies, the last four areas must sit atop a foundation and that foundation is comprised of your company’s leadership team alignment, meeting effectiveness, leadership mindset, and your company’s purpose, values, and culture which we addressed in the first two postings. In our last post we discussed People, and more specifically the Employee Experience. We will continue with People and now look at the importance of Organizational Health.

Organizational Health

Regarding organizational health, there are three things that we want to focus on – Employee Engagement, Internal Initiatives (supporting engagement), and Monitoring (keeping a pulse on the health of the organization):

  1. Employee Engagement: We have all read a lot about employee engagement. At Savant we believe engagement is essentially captured with the acronym MAGIC – Meaning, Autonomy, Growth, Impact, Connection. We’re going to look at each. An employee will be engaged if they feel that the elements of MAGIC are present within their job.
    1. Meaning: A job should be personally meaningful to an employee. For example, those who have pursued a certain education or industry may find jobs considering those personally meaningful. Some might feel passionate about certain types of non-profit work or companies that focus on specific segments of the population. All of these point to personal meaning –things that drive people at an emotional level.
    2. Autonomy: No one likes to be micromanaged. If a company pursues documentation and continuous improvement of its key processes (giving rise to systematic execution) then employees can operate independently within these established systems and provide feedback for improvement along the way. This is one of the reasons why the retention of employees is critical. The longer a company retains its employees by keeping them engaged the more efficient the company will become because of employee input. This is precisely the reason why the words “because that’s the way we’ve always done it” make absolutely no sense.
    3. Growth: Employees desire to feel productive in their roles and placed on a path that creates greater and greater value. This includes being intellectually stretched and rewarded over time – in other words, growth. Growth opportunities are not only found in large companies. Smaller companies can creatively offer them and in doing so increase levels of employee engagement and overall business results.
    4. Impact: Creating an environment and goal structure that shows employees, in measurable results, the impact they make is a key component of engagement. Employees universally want to know, and be able to see, what they do matters. That their contribution aligns with their department’s and company’s objectives; and that all of the objectives clearly align. This alignment objectively shows employees that what they do matters and captures the positive impact they make on customers, the company, and co-workers.
    5. Connection: Connection means having the human desire to belong to something greater than yourself. This desire manifests itself in relationships with others and is supported by a company’s values and culture. Companies that encourage productive relationships and foster collegial environments enjoy a higher degree of employee engagement and as a result outperform their competitors be a wide margin.
  2. Team Initiatives: Initiatives that support engagement are based on trust and relationship building. When we mention trust it means vulnerability-based trust, not the type where one has a reasonable expectation of a given result (e.g., I can trust that Mary will always get me the spreadsheet I need Thursday morning by noon on Wednesday). Vulnerability-based trust focuses on personal areas where you feel weak, uncertain, or insecure. Building this sort of trust requires sharing deeply personal stories about oneself, and the leaders go first. If this is easy or you feel completely comfortable doing it, then you’re not doing it right. Over time team members will be able to focus on their goals without the concern that they will be unfairly judged or ridiculed for needing help. Teams will work more comfortably and closer, solving problems faster and strengthening working relationships along the way.
  3. Monitoring: Once the leadership decision has been made to focus on organizational health, with an emphasis on engagement, it is necessary to monitor statusprogress. At Savant, we recommend a few different ways to do so on a semi-annual basis. First, we recommend Patrick Lencioni’s Five Dysfunctions Assessment. This assessment measures the health of your company’s Vulnerability-based Trust, Healthy Conflict, Commitment, Accountability, and Attention to Results. Second, we recommend the Savant Business Index assessment (SBI – free on our website). The SBI assessment measures the health of your company’s Foundation (mindset, purpose, values, and culture), People, Strategy, Execution, and Control. Lastly, we recommend utilizing TinyPulse on a bi-weekly basis. TinyPulse is an employee engagement system that captures data related to regular employee polling. Typical questions are “How happy are you at work?”, “How likely would you be to recommend working here to a friend?”, or “Are you satisfied in your current role?”. TinyPulse also gives you an opportunity to ask custom questions. The key here is to understand the critical nature of regular employee feedback and the managerial desire to respond to employee needs, even if you have to communicate that there are just some things that you can’t do.

Conclusion

So far in this series we have covered the fundamental importance of leadership team alignment, meeting effectiveness, mindset, purpose, values, and culture. We also covered the introduction to People with the Employee Experience, and then Organizational Health. Next, we will complete the People area of your business with a focus on Functional and Process Accountability.