Over the past 18 months I have noticed a big upturn in the number of candidates feeling pressured and subsequently passively looking at opportunities as a result of leadership focusing purely on productivity. The reasons behind the upturn are open for debate, but I have a suspicion that it's as a result of Covid and correlates directly with the increased number of employees working remotely.
Leaders have lost some direct control, seeing their teams every day in the office isn't happening anymore and the immediate reaction to this has in many examples been to hold on tighter and control as much as is possible.
However, there are several problems with taking this approach. The reality is that focusing on output rather than outcomes starves your best talent of the space to innovate, create and grow - leading not only to a culture that most high potential employees don't enjoy, but also a culture that doesn't deliver the outcomes that its anywhere near capable of.
My initial interaction with candidates normally focuses on them, as I look to understand what they are looking for and specifically what type of environment and culture they feel would allow them to grow. There are certain things that almost every candidate is looking for;
* A culture built on trust.
* A culture that empowers them to get the job done.
*The opportunity to be creative, innovate and grow.
I understand the additional challenges that leaders now face - as they look to motivate, lead and drive performance remotely. But from all of the conversations I have with candidates (it’s a lot!) the best way to drive performance and ultimately outcomes, is to give your employees a culture focusing on outcomes rather than the number of hours worked.
Productivity has always been a good way to measure the impact of machines and capital. It’s just never been a good way to measure the impact of humans. So what metric should we use instead? How do we reframe how our contributions are valued? How do teams and companies evolve their culture to measure more meaningful things? How do we shift from focusing on efficiency to focusing on effectiveness?