Profitability is often a subject between owners, executives, and decision-makers in a company. It's the most important thing about a business, without it there isn't a future. But when we don't communicate with employees, we lose opportunities for exponential growth.
Each member of your organization is part of a team that supports your vision. If they don’t have all the pieces, how can you expect them to fully contribute?
Leaders can communicate expectations to their team. They ensure a better, more fruitful, future of progress and innovation. It starts by developing a culture built on valuing profitability.
- Develop employees who care about profitability
- Benefit from a team that helps you increase it
- Create a healthy, satisfying workplace culture that values it
- Grow your company with a strong team that champions the same goals
Here’s how we can communicate with our employees.
Combine Transparency with Vision
Whether it’s a vision statement or a bigger-than-life message to your employees, nothing can be accomplished without the “what” and “how”.
If a manager wants to “change an industry by creating superior products” it’s a great start and respectable goal. But there needs to be a plan to differentiate her products from competitors.
Transparency plays a key role to make visions become reality. When we clarify and measure our goals, employees know exactly where the company stands.
Wrike’s survey of 1,400 office workers identified that missing information is the number one stress factor for employees. When we are transparent, we have clear expectations and we empower our team. This gives them a sense of ownership that directly ties to the success of the company.
If the team is exceeding expectations, it’s celebrated. If they fall short, it’s known and you can begin the conversation to do something about it.
When we’re transparent about profitability, we reap the benefits of vision with action. Transparency increases productivity. It improves workplace culture which decreases stress and equips employees to perform their best.
How do you combine profitability transparency with vision? Here are a few steps you can start right now.
- State your vision
- Identify profitability goals
- State how it can be done
- Ask for help and input
- Communicate benefits that affect everyone
Focus on Results and Action
One hundred years ago, the USA and many countries were industrialized. Time mattered. Each minute, hour, directly correlated with the bottom line. Over time, we entered the information age, focused on tangible value rather than time spent.
Within every industry, we can shift towards results for better profitability.
An employee who works 50+ hours a week vs. someone who works less doesn't guarantee a better bottom line. It's their actions and tangible results that matter.
What kind of results should we focus on? It’s different for everyone but here are three that most can relate to.
- Sales: how much is a particular employee bringing into the company and is it meeting your goals?
- Happy customers: are your employees adding value to customers? Are they creating long-term relationships, helping build super fans, and word-of-mouth marketing? Did customers feel like their expectations of the product and service were exceeded?
- Essential responsibilities: did employees meet all the tasks that are critical to the success of your company? Are they trustworthy enough to get them done without micromanagement?
It can be tempting to measure different things within the company and with employees. Analyzing growth in all areas is important but brands should make a clear distinction with priorities.
Founder of Profit Frog, Mark Buff, realized this throughout his business ventures. He learned that if we do not prioritize profitability and link it with results-focused expectations, then we face an uphill climb. It can only be done through a vibrant team that believes in the same mission.
There are many ways to encourage results. It starts with celebrating and valuing those results instead of time. Find ways for employees to share in the rewards through incentives and programs. Encourage fruitful results.
Define Financial Success
Some business leaders feel weird talking about profit in front of employees. Do they care? Would it discourage them to work harder?
When we make them part of the journey and the benefits of profitability, they increase synergy and improve company culture.
Make profit a part of your everyday language. It’s a good word. It should make employees excited and motivated to do more. They know that the better the company does, the better they will do too.
Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson highlight the importance of brevity in The One Minute Manager. The clearer and more concise you are about expectations, the more likely they will be met. You can define what you want for better profitability. Make sure it is said as short as possible, within one page, with goals that can be stated by memory. Keep it simple.
As you define financial success, everyone should know what is good and bad. They will identify it through everyday operations, actions, and the environment around them. Instead of you and managers seeking opportunities to improve, an entire team will have that awareness.
Provide Consistent Communication About Profitability
Most relational problems in the workplace can be attributed to communication. Someone was not clear with expectations, someone felt unappreciated, someone said something hurtful.
If we want to continue improving or maintaining profitability, it requires communicating often.
How much should you communicate? It's better to do it more than you think. We often say things once or twice and assume others value it the same and will remember. But we all have different concerns, pressures, and unique challenges in our lives. For something to catch on and become a habit, it has to be consistently communicated.
It’s why so many organizations use phrases, terms, and other branded words that reflect the company's DNA. It must be declared, shared, and repeated, consistently over a long period.
The right communication offers several benefits.
- Provides necessary information to do a great job
- Increases engagement
- Improves workplace culture
- Increases retention and attracts high-quality talent
Make profitability a normal part of the conversation. It should flow smoothly within meetings, presentations, one-on-ones, and other points of contact.
Communication isn’t one-way either. Provide an open setting for people to share their ideas and thoughts on improving the bottom line. Your employees are on the frontline of the business. If anyone knows a way to improve in a certain area of expertise, it’s the people doing it daily.
There are many ways you can facilitate communication and engagement with employees.
Traditional methods involve conference room meetings. Public and anonymous ways people can send feedback. We can also utilize great technologies like Slack for easy team communication. SurveyMonkey for opportunities to get feedback and tools like Zoom for remote interaction on video.
Encourage Change and Innovation
If we do not move forward, we risk falling behind. To protect ourselves from profit loss, we must seek ways to continually evolve and improve. What's working now does not mean it will be working in three years. That's why it's important to embrace change and encourage innovation.
We can't have innovation without change so it's important to establish a culture that not only tolerates it but welcomes it. Employees should get excited about the change. That's possible when leaders are excited first and lay out the benefits for everyone. Change means opportunity and it should be a great thing for everyone.
How do you establish a culture of change? Risk and failure shouldn't be discouraged.
When someone fails, we use that time to celebrate their effort and then analyze what went wrong as a lesson to avoid in the future. They should be honored for what they did right and respected for the lessons they learned and have taught the team. When people are no longer afraid to fail, they will welcome change and even seek it themselves if it benefits the organization.
Leaders should also allow everyone to be a part of the conversation. What are legitimate concerns about a particular change? Thank everyone for the feedback and establish a way to recognize and measure those concerns.
When employees embrace change, they will naturally begin to innovate. This is critical for profitability.
Your team will find ways to do things more efficiently to save costs, especially when they know your vision and goals for an improved bottom line. Your team will begin to create new processes, features, and products that will improve the entire company. From the way they do things to the value they provide.
Once your team welcomes change and innovates for better profitability, you’ll multiply results and far exceed what you could have done yourself.
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As we communicate profitability to our employees, we invite them to take ownership of the company vision.
They are your most valuable resource and can grow your organization through team effort and great ideas. When they have profitability on their minds, they’ll work hard to make it possible and find ways to improve.