Measurement is a business imperative because it works as a bridge between your strategy and results. Without measuring success and performance, you’re simply wandering around without a map hoping you reach your strategic destination.
As management guru Peter Drucker once said, “execution eats strategy for breakfast,” meaning that even the most brilliantly-written strategy won’t work unless you put significant effort into executing it well. And what’s essential for execution? A commitment to regularly measure success.
Measure Success: Connecting Strategy with Execution
This blog post will help workplace leaders close the gap between workplace strategy and effective execution in order to better measure success. We’ll be providing actionable insights and practical tips workplace leaders can use to develop an effective measurement framework.
This should enable you to evaluate and iterate progress against their workplace strategy. When you’re veering off your strategic course, measurement will show it and enable you to take corrective action to get back on track.
Measurement is always challenging and necessary, but measuring your workplace strategy has been rendered especially complicated by major shifts in how people work as well as the evolving role of the office.
The measurement framework we describe below will be targeted to hybrid workplaces. We’ll help you begin developing a plan, one aligned with your organization’s workplace strategy, for better measuring success and failure of those plans.
We’ll also describe the importance of having the right tools in place for measuring progress, placing special emphasis on how a hybrid workplace experience platform can facilitate timely, actionable measurement and support ongoing execution.
6 Tips for Measuring Workplace Success
Having a documented workplace strategy is just the beginning of your journey, as we’ve explained. Next comes the hard work of transforming your strategy into the day-to-day work of getting from here to there.
Here are 6 steps for doing just that:
1. Define What Your Own Success Looks Like in the Workplace
Workplace leaders must begin by using their imaginations to envision what the personal success of their workplace strategy would look like for their organization and its people. As the saying goes, “begin with the end in mind.”
When you know what success looks like, that knowledge helps you prioritize how you’ll allocate resources of time, effort, and money, as well as how you’ll make decisions to achieve desired outcomes.
In business and in life, you cannot avoid choices and tradeoffs, but when you define success you get strategic clarity and guidance that helps inform your choices. Consider the process of measuring success as one of:
(1) Defining the core values that are most important for your organization.
(2) Understanding what your organization needs to grow today and in the future.
What does the success of a workplace strategy look like at the individual/employee level? What does it look like for leadership and the organization as a whole? Tackle those key questions first to define success better for your team.
2. Identify the Right Metrics to Measure Success
Once you’ve let your imagination roam about “what success looks like” for your workplace strategy, it’s time to work your way backward from there and start breaking down your “vision of success” into discrete, actionable, and measurable steps.
You can call them milestones or key performance indicators/KPIs, performance metrics, or something else, but it’s all about measuring where you are now versus where you want to go (that vision of success).
KPIs are like the signals from a GPS or navigation system that tell you you’re on the right track to workplace success or that tell you to re-route. Any navigation system measures where you are versus where you need to go. When it comes to workplace strategy, the tool that serves as both your engine and your navigation system/GPS is a hybrid workplace experience platform. You can measure success at work just by following along.
Workplace leaders need to be making strategically-aligned business decisions based on real-time, relevant data. If you have the right workplace experience platform, you’re enabled not only to execute your workplace strategy but also to measure success with your KPIs through detailed data analysis. This workplace data and analytics become the real-time “directional” signals you need to reach your own success.
3. Talk to Your People about How They Measure Success
Any workplace strategy worth the paper it’s written on should promote employee productivity and enhance employee experience in today’s world of hybrid work. Those “people-centric KPIs” of productivity and experience are closely-connected with “bottom-line business KPIs” like customer retention, revenue growth, innovation, profitability, and more. No organization can succeed, and no workplace strategy can succeed, if your people aren’t succeeding.
Want to know how to create a successful workplace where your people are productive and engaged? You could, of course, have a mix of office utilization rates and “people-centered KPIs” such as retention rates and employee engagement metrics, but you also need to talk to your people about what they want. People are, after all, the backbone of your entire organization, and you should be treating them as partners (because they’re exactly that).
The value of employee feedback for developing, executing, and measuring your workplace strategy cannot be emphasized enough. If you don’t know what your people want, ask them and continue asking them. The ways you ask can be via employee surveys, feedback forms, suggestion boxes, digital feedback channels (such as Robin), group meetings, “listening sessions,” one-on-one IRL conversations, and far beyond.
4. Have a Structured Process to Review Key Performance Indicators
Once you’ve envisioned what success looks like, defined the KPIs/metrics you’ll use to measure progress, and talked (and talked some more) to your people, you’ll need to put a structured process in place to formally evaluate both your KPIs and your current progress against your workplace strategy.
How often should you be meeting as a leadership team to discuss your KPIs and what to do with them (especially if you’re off track)? What are your processes for reconsidering and potentially tweaking your plans based on data/analytics?
If your leadership team meets once every half-year to tweak your plans, you could already be so far off track by then that it’s expensive and disruptive to course correct – your employees may also be frustrated by the slowness of change.
The main idea here is to figure out a regular, structured “performance review cadence” to measure success that works for your organization, one that enables you to see what’s happening in a timely manner and make appropriate changes to keep your people and workplace moving forward.
5. Consider the Intangibles When Measuring Success
Not everything that matters can be measured. Perhaps author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry explained it best in The Little Prince: “What is essential is often invisible to the eye.”
When your leadership team is analyzing all the KPIs and quantitative data you’ve collected around your workplace strategy, also consider “invisible but essential” factors like human relationships and your organizational culture.
You should be doing a qualitative analysis centered on workplace intangibles such as the general mood/stress level of the office and the quality of team and individual interactions. Are individuals and teams working better together or starting to fragment? How’s your employee experience and employee collaboration trending? These difficult-to-measure questions are important to consider.
6. Be Ready to Change in the Name of Workplace Success
The modern workplace, especially at a time of hybrid work, is subject to rapid change. Think about the shock created by the tsunami of change in March and April of 2020, as people and organizations around the world were forced to work from home due to COVID-19. Agility and resilience, at both the individual and organizational levels, have become massive competitive advantages in today’s fast-evolving business landscape.
Being ready to change, or “change-readiness,” is a muscle that grows from being used. As a workplace leader, part of your role is preparing your organization to navigate workplace change and flex their change-muscles.
As you leverage the workplace analytics provided by your workplace experience platform, as you conduct KPI and plan reviews, as you evaluate employee feedback, be ready to make tweaks and respond to the signals you’re seeing.
No workplace strategy is “set and forget”: instead, you should remain continually responsive to the evolving needs of your people and organization. Sense and respond to the incoming signals. A workplace experience platform may be the tool you need to execute your strategy, but you’ll also need to build flexible, iterative, and change-ready mindsets.
How to Measure Success in the Workplace
We at Robin have learned a lot from our long experience serving organizations like yours, helping them develop, execute, and iterate workplace strategies.
What works for one organization may not work for another, especially when we are talking about how to measure success. Our team is always willing to share what we know and offer solutions customized to each organization’s needs.
We’d be proud to partner with your organization on workplace strategy. You can get started with Robin, for free.