How you measure the contribution your people make? Do you count the number of hours they spend at work? How well do you measure their contribution while they’re present?
If ‘face-time’ is what matters to you – the time your people spend at the office - ask yourself why. That is, why does the time they spend at work influence your perceptions of their performance? And should it?
We’d say no.
FACE TIME – IT’S NOT THE FUTURE
All too often I meet leaders who believe that hard work means long hours, and that long hours are the only recipe for commitment and success. The reality is quite different. It’s the outcomes people are able to achieve which are the true reflection of their value.
Placing value on someone’s willingness go the extra mile from time to time is natural, and it’s important your people are willing to be there when the pressure is on. But expecting them to be there at all hours and live at the office to demonstrate their commitment – just isn’t.
FACE-TIME CULTURE – SHOULD BE IN THE PAST
A ‘face time’ culture that permeates your workplace can have very real financial consequences for your business – and we’re not talking beneficial ones. For example, it’s common to find that people regularly work overtime to boost their income. Others might be ineffective in their roles and flying under the radar of accountability by doing extra time.
A lack of capability, focus, ability to delegate or share responsibility are common reasons why people work long hours - and business owners pay for it. Good value? We think not.
GET THE BALANCE RIGHT
A team who are willing to put the hours in when the job just has to be done – that’s invaluable. It’s especially important to build a culture that inspires people to roll up their sleeves when the chips are down. However it’s unquestionably in everyone’s best interest to maintain a balance.
Working long hours and regularly making personal sacrifices for our job is detrimental to our health, wellbeing, relationships, productivity and performance. Allowing people to reach a point of burnout is not only irresponsible, it’s also unwise. When people are exhausted and stressed the consequences for them, their families and your business are serious. Mental and physical illnesses are very real costs of unreasonable workload and demand.
FACE UP TO WHAT MATTERS
If your people are spending a lot of ‘face time’ at work, you need to understand why. If it’s a challenging time and they’re driven by dedication, then value and reward their behaviour. But if employees are measuring their own success by the hours they spend in the workplace, you must set clearer expectations of their outcomes – achievements, not hours.
Managing for outcomes and creating a performance-focused culture takes five essential steps:
Create a clear and compelling vision for the future. Make it clear that you expect your people to influence overall success – with their talent and dedication, which matches your own. Build confidence and energise your team’s spirit with the strength of your leadership.
Get specific. Give clear guidelines for each individual and every team - and then let them get on with the job. What will their contribution be? How will they influence your success? Create specific aims, and communicate them.
Allow each person to take ownership of their role. Empowerment is essential if you want to hold people accountable for their performance. Give them room to make day-to-day decisions for themselves. Be clear about the number of hours they need to meet the needs of your customers and deliver on their objectives.
Influence your team’s approach and capabilities through regular coaching conversations. Give feedback about what works well and how they might approach a scenario or task differently. Aim to give them the spirit and capability to take full ownership of the task - and achieve a great outcome.
Put mechanisms in place for measuring the standard of performance achieved along the way. Set milestone goals, and measure and reward progress. Long-term objectives are important, for sure, but breaking them down is an important way of maintaining focus, motivation and momentum achieved.