Introducing People Success: Helping People Be their Best and Do their Best at Work
By: Jim Barnett
Is it the right thing to do? Yes. But it’s also good for business.
If I could pick a term to summarize one of the biggest learnings from my professional life, it would be People Success.
Throughout the course of my career, I’ve built and led a number of successful companies. My experiences in hiring and working alongside thousands of talented people have taught me that putting people at the center of your organization is not just about doing right by them—it is also the most important thing you can do to achieve business success.
When we refer to People Success at Glint, we’re talking about enabling people to bring their best selves to work—in order to do their best work. That kind of atmosphere looks different from one organization to another. But our experience tells us there’s both a universal definition of People Success as well as five common pillars that organizations can use to build their own thriving People Success practice.
What is People Success?
People Success—it may sound self-explanatory, but in reality, it has several key elements that must all work together.
People Success is bringing your best self to work in order to do your best work. It is enabled by a holistic, agile, and people-centric approach to employee engagement, performance, and learning. It is designed to meet the challenges that modern organizations face. With a People Success strategy, organizations create thriving, high-performance cultures. The approach addresses the needs of individuals and empowers them to take joint ownership of their happiness, development, and prosperity. Ultimately, People Success leads to sustained organizational success.
Let’s look deeper into the three crucial characteristics of People Success.
People Success integrates the traditional HR programs—employee engagement, performance, and learning and development. To be clear, let’s set some common definitions for the three programs:
- Employee engagement is the degree to which employees invest their cognitive, emotional, and behavioral energies toward positive organizational outcomes. Ideally, employee engagement programs help organizations collect and use frequent employee feedback to make consistent improvements to the employee experience.
- Performance, or performance management, is historically known by the age-old “annual performance review,” which is often used as the basis for compensation and promotions. When it’s done well, performance management motivates employees to set ambitious goals, strive for continual growth, and fuel the success of your organization.
- Learning and development. Growth programs should equip employees with new skills and help them grow in their role, prepare for the next role, and adapt to changing organizational needs.
When you take care of an employee’s needs in a holistic way, you provide them with structure and focus, and you help them build habits that lead to success. You help them connect with powerful intrinsic motivators like feelings of joy, accomplishment, and curiosity, which sustain performance over time.
In today’s competitive environment, organizations value agility—the ability to adapt quickly to change. Organizational habits that support agility are central to People Success. One critical habit that keeps organizations agile revolves around conversations. When managers and employees alike are accustomed to giving and receiving feedback regularly—and acting on it quickly—organizations can make faster, higher quality, better-informed decisions and deliver better results. A regular and productive feedback loop also builds trust between colleagues by aligning expectations and avoiding surprises.
People Success puts the individual and their needs at the center of your organization’s purpose, which requires a people-centric design focus. People-centric design thoughtfully maps the many activities that touch employees, creating a meaningful narrative that provides focus and direction throughout the year. It also aligns your People Success programs (employee engagement, performance, and learning and development) to other efforts that are critical to your organization’s success, like strategic planning and quarterly business reviews. But perhaps most importantly, people-centric design reduces the noise that disjointed HR programs often create for employees by obsessing over making life easy and successful for end-users.
Simply put, people-centric design makes programs more relevant and effective for all employees—from HR teams to senior leaders to managers to employees.
The Five Pillars of People Success
The five pillars of People Success help organizations, HR teams, and individuals focus on what matters, orient their activities, build habits, and thrive. They are:
- Fit: Your role matches your strengths and interests, and you feel a sense of belonging at work.
- Alignment: You know what to prioritize, and you get feedback that helps you change course if needed.
- Enablement: You have the support, tools, and resources you need to work effectively.
- Motivation: You have a strong sense of purpose, the freedom to own your work, and you feel like you have a meaningful impact.
- Growth: You are learning new skills, diversifying your experience, and progressing professionally.
The five pillars are based on both research and our experience. Used in every check-in conversation, the five pillars of People Success translate into a model for success for organizations, individuals, and HR. The five pillars:
- Help leaders assess whether their organization is on a path to success by succinctly evaluating the most important drivers of engagement and performance.
- Help people find and even create the right role for themselves and help leaders place people in the right roles.
- Ensure people are working on the right things and consistently aligned with the rest of the team and organization.
- Reveal salient, impactful, and simple opportunities to make it easier to do great work.
- Deepen the connections people feel to their work and their teammates and inspire them to bring their best selves to it.
- Expand people’s view of career growth and gives them the confidence to own their development
These five pillars are a logical, memorable representation of what we know drives happiness and success at work.
How People Success Benefits Organizations
When organizations orient themselves around People Success, the result is an engaged workforce ready to meet the dynamic challenges of today’s world. By looking holistically at employee engagement, performance, and learning and development, organizations that adopt a People Success approach create a more unified experience for employees. In turn, employees feel supported and able to contribute to business success.
And in even simpler terms, it’s the smart business play. High employee engagement correlates with higher average revenue growth, net profit margin, customer satisfaction, and earnings per share.
Happy people and tangible business success. It’s pretty magical when you can do something that benefits both your people and your organization.