The Case for Employee Success
Why the next wave of great companies will be defined by how they equip and unleash the potential and talent of their people.
If you’re a leader of people, I’ll say to you clearly: our people deserve better.
66% of employees are apathetic or actively disengaged at work.
It’s not the pandemic’s fault. Over the last 20 years, the number of apathetic and actively disengaged employees has been as high as 74% (2000, 2005) and has only been lower than 66% twice (65% in 2019, 64% in 2020).
67% of workers believe that repetitive tasks are robbing them of their opportunity to do their best work. 38% of workers think they could save 5-10 hours of work a week with basic automation. We’re hiring talented people, and then wasting their talents on repetitive tasks or worse, tasks that a machine can do.
Nothing we do. Nothing we build. Nothing we implement. Nothing we launch. Nothing we sell. Nothing we try is possible without our people.
So … why do we keep letting our people down? And how do we finally stop?
From “Customer Obsessed” to
People are the most powerful, the most dynamic, the most adaptable, and in truth, the most sustainable drivers of success.
You’ve heard the term “customer first”? It’s time for “people first”.
You’ve heard of “voice of the customer”? It’s time for “voice of the employee”.
You’ve heard the term “customer success”? It’s time for “employee success”.
Companies have spent the past 20 years finding new ways to attract, to acquire, to maintain, and to expand relationships with prospects and customers. There’s been an explosion of marketing, growth, product, and customer experience frameworks, tools, and entire disciplines and our people have borne the brunt of this hasty, rushed, unsustainable progress.
They’re drowning in new metrics, new technologies, new frameworks, new demands, and ultimately, more work. It’s emblematic of the way systems work (and break) more broadly. We build new trains without updating the tracks, we build new buildings without updating the power grid, we upgrade our facades without upgrading our water system.
Our people are tired, are frustrated, are undervalued, and they are demanding better.
The companies who
thrive over the next 10 years sustain innovations that win and retain customers
To make your customers successful, you must first create an environment that makes your employees successful.
From “The Great Reckoning” to
“The Next Great Frontier”
Where people once sat quietly and toiled apathetically, people now demand to be put in positions that maximize their talents instead of marginalize their contributions.
Where people once felt trapped unless they had another job lined up, they now feel compelled to leave regardless.
The Great Reckoning is upon us and organizations that understand and respond thoughtfully and holistically, will thrive. Those that don’t, won’t.
Making employees maximally successful, Employee Success, is no longer a strategy, it’s an imperative. And it’s not a new idea! Employee Success is not a new idea. HR, Talent and People leaders have been advocating for these principles tirelessly and uphill (climbs, battles) for years (decades).
(Also, thank you.)
People Leaders deserve a grander stage, a louder microphone, and a bigger audience for their voice and their ideas. Because Employee Success will be the primary driver of organizational success going forward.
Before jumping to “how” Employee Success can be brought to your organization, it’s important to get aligned on “why” – and we’re clearly not aligned on the importance of the moment. Many leaders and experts have already misread the opportunity by downplaying the profound change in labor dynamics as a “resignation” or “reshuffle” as opposed to the more material disruption it actually is. Misreading the market and the challenge means missing the opportunity.
Which is why I’ve chosen to start by making a more robust case for Employee Success. One that provides context, evidence, examples, while also pulling from a host of resources that have already been published but to date, have not received the stage or the audience they deserve.
The how follows the why.
Understanding the opportunity holistically will position you, as Thoreau would have wished, to strike at the root of the problem instead of the branch.
With what follows, we’ll lay out the case for employee success by sharing more information on:
- The Reckoning – An overview of current employment market conditions.
- The Case Study – An example of Employee Success mindset transforming a company’s performance.
- The Precedents – Two historical analogues of macro-business trends and why Employee Success is next.
- The Catalog – An (ever expanding) library of expert material on Employee Success
- The Moment of Truth – How to begin the shift from understanding the opportunity, to operating against it.