Characteristics of High-Performance Organizations
- Employment Security (history & written policy)
- Selective in Recruiting (feeling of joining an elite force)
- High Compensation (no second thoughts)
- Fair, Objective and Consistent Profit Sharing (not subjective or short -term incentives)
- High Employee Ownership
- Information Sharing
- Participation and Empowerment
- Teams & Job Redesign
- Training, Skill Development, Learning Choices and Resources
- Cross-Utilization & Cross-Training
- Egalitarianism (common lunchroom, clothes, parking and office etc.)
- Wage Compression (no outrageous executive compensation)
- Promotion from Within
- Clear and Passionate Purpose
What is your Strategy?
- Align your talent strategy to your business strategy.
- Define the Target. You can’t be everything to everyone.
- Read Michael Porter’s “What is Strategy?” and read Ed Lawler’s “Strategies for High Performance Organization”.
What kind of people do you need – Goals, Motivation & Characteristics?
- Lifestyle Seeker: Flexibility, fair pay, security, minimal stress, nice boss & peers. Seldom move and seek stability rather than fast growth and excitement. A small fish in warm water.
- Profit Seeker: Big Risk – Big Reward. Compensation over company success, entrepreneurial, results oriented, opportunity to have flexibility, control, direct impact, excitement, power and reward
- Image Driven Seeker: Go with the Winner. Fortune 500, well paid, room for long term growth, political savvy, magnitude of impact (a big fish in a big pool), depth (resources for bigger risks), capital (big decisions) and variety of courses
- Purpose Driven Seeker: Save the World. Inspiring mission, exciting challenge, opportunity to satisfy desire for meaning, excitement, impact and reward.
What stage of the company cycle are you in?
You need different types of people at different stages. Energetic, versatile and adventurous executives might be better suited for a start-up.
- Fast Growth
- Modest Growth
- Who are the competitors and what are their attraction strategies?
- Remember the unique offering and differentiated competitive advantages from the MBA schools? What are they?
- Strategy means you can’t be all things to all people – throwing all the perks won’t do the trick. The history shows that companies offer these perks during the boom time and cut back during the recession.
- Remember that people who join you for money will leave for money.
- Market compensation is given. Adding all the features in the world will not attract them unless you reach into their inner needs.
- Location is important: life, culture, housing and schools.
- Be financially sound – backing by secure funds, stock price, market capitalization and balance sheet.
- Highlight your customers, partners and suppliers.
- Showcase your magnetic management.
Build an Attractive Brand – Company
- Be selective in recruiting. People love the feeling of joining an elite force or a winning team.
- Share information whether good or bad – people can sense bad news from executives’ faces and behaviour. There is nothing worse than a vicious rumor to poison the work environment. Lost trust means lost commitment and the beginning of a vicious cycle.
- Get rid of old patriarchal class system – executive dining lounge, reserved parking, business class flying, elaborate corner offices and special antique furniture.
- Provide plenty of incentives – recognition for achievements, celebrations for occasions/milestones and profit sharing.
- Employment Security (not by words but by practice). If you plan your growth well and think creatively (as you demand from your employees), you can provide security.
- Promote from within as much as possible and provide room for growth and development.
- Have a long-term perspective. Don’t let the short-term score drive you.
- Have an overarching purpose that people can be passionate about.
- Show you care about your people, their family, neighbour, community, country and the world.
- A great work environment – fun with colleagues.
- Strong Financial Backing and/or Consistent Financial Performance
- Compress the compensation gap. Some top CEOs won’t join your company? You are supposed to develop your CEO internally. Whatever happened to all those gurus that said “It’s not the money – I do it because I am passionate about it.”? The CEO can still make lots of money by buying company shares through option plan and increase the value of the shares by improving the earnings. You want a CEO who not only shares power but also shares wealth. Anyone who claims they deserve more are just greedy and they are lying about not doing it for the money. The army generals, school principals and charity foundation executive directors are the ones that truly do it for the passion.
Produce High Performance Products – Jobs
- Design the organization and jobs to be easy for people to accomplish your goals. Encourage teamwork, autonomy, empowerment, risk-taking and collaboration. Competition is good but only if you design your teams to compete against your competitors. Instead of internal competition set up by many sales managers, let your sales team set team goals to beat your competition and reward them.
- Engage people, let people participate in making decisions, give them the choices, let them plan and budget – you just provide money, guidelines and mentorship.
- Provide training and skill development. Even Michael Jordan trained and practiced on the basic and advanced skills on a regular basis. Let people realize the power of self-learning, self-development and self-management. Teaching without learning is useless.
- Provide cross-utilization and cross-training. People get bored and tired of doing the same thing for a long time. Even food, sex and leisure can get boring and tiring.
- Provide advancement, growth, mentoring and development.
- Measure, recognize and celebrate your progress, achievements and milestones.
- Establish a clear link between tasks and business results (P&L is ideal).
- Set goals that “stretch” people but not “strain” them.
- Be flexible and be trusting with your people.
- Scrap performance appraisals and provide informal feedbacks.
Offer Good Price – Compensation & Lifestyle
- Pay high. There is no need to pay outrageously but pay well. None of your people will think twice about moving for a higher pay when they know you always pay top in the industry.
- High employee ownership – you won’t even need a poison pill.
- Flexible and respect for lifestyle
- Acceptable pace and stress