Carrying Rocks or Building a Castle

What does it take to truly build something? Plans? Yes, plans are important. Materials and People? People are the most important factor when building anything. Before you can start to look at plans and gather materials, your people must be motivated to do the job. Today the downturn in the economy is deeply impacting the morale of employees, potentially crippling workforce performance when companies need it the most.

SuccessFactors Research recently surveyed 227 companies in the UK and Ireland and found that 60% of the respondents listed staff morale as the number one effect of the crashing economy, followed closely by goal alignment and achievement, which was selected by 31% of the respondents. What does this mean for business? I am sure you have noticed the title of this blog, Carrying Rocks or Building a Castle. People who are not aligned with their organization are merely carrying rocks, doing work without building the castle. Companies simply cannot afford to let their people do unproductive work, whether in a good or bad economy. Workers with low morale who are not engaged may never pick up the rock at all.

The cost of an unmotivated workforce is quite substantial. SuccessFactors Research has always maintained that a company’s ability to execute is based on three factors: motivation, talent, and organizational ability (tools, etc.) In fact, we consider these three factors to be multiplicative, so low motivation, or low engagement, directly and negatively impacts the other two factors across the company. Companies can tackle both challenges highlighted in our survey, low morale and goal alignment, with an effective goal management strategy.

Having a direct line of sight between one’s individual contribution and the company’s goals is one major driver of engagement. Goal management can help provide that line of sight, linking and cascading goals so that the worker always has a context for his or her actions.

When optimizing the workforce, potentially laying off staff, and adjusting to the changing business environment, you can’t afford to let low morale effect your organisation’s ability to execute. Ensure that goals are clearly set and managed effectively, and build strong teams committed to building the castle.



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