A Balancing Act: Success Vs. Employee Happiness

You know the drill, thriving founders, CEOs and entrepreneurs. You can dream of the world’s greatest idea, but nothing will ever happen unless you do something about it. You’re driven, much more driven than most, and your drive and tenacity are the keys to your success. If this drive for success ever slows, your business could be at risk.

But what happens when your concern for your employees’ happiness doesn’t come close to how high you value monetary, measured success?

Through my experience as a business coach, I’m amazed when entrepreneurs take their (naturally good) zeal and drive and use it like a blunt stick over the head of their employees. It can come off as overpowering and forceful, and it demonstrates a lack of foresight and progress.

When employers value dollar signs more than their staff’s satisfaction, they threaten the horsepower that can move your company forward.

Here’s how to ensure your business runs full steam ahead without leaving any of your employees’ happiness in the dust.

Rethink your core values. Your core values should represent your company’s ultimate goals and ideals. When companies first develop their core values, I often see them take the easy route with suggestions such as, “We Work Hard” We Don’t Take Excuses,” and “We Go The Extra Mile.” The reactions in the room couldn’t be more opposite—the CEO is usually thrilled, and the employees look frightened.

Instead of suggesting phrases like these, try incorporating more people-centric core values, and watch the change in reaction from your employees this time around.

Balance key metrics with core values. It’s easy to completely neglect the people side of business, especially in the start-up phase. Measuring success is usually found through tracking revenue, profit, gross margin, sales, etc. But, what about measuring the happiness of your employees, or how strong the relationships with their customers and clients are?

One of my favorite techniques comes from “The Ultimate Question 2.0” by Fred Reichheld. In this, Reichheld explains how to create a Net Promoter Score for your business. This simple process reveals valuable, repeatable and reliable metrics for the health of your customer or client relationships. Plus, this process can also be used to measure the health and happiness of your employees.

Try using this information as a vital piece in growing and maintaining your company’s talent. Look at these scores frequently to balance how hard your employees are working and how happy they are.

Start biweekly check-ins with all employees. This is where the magic happens. Just like the Net Promoter Score will keep you in closer touch with your employees, so will biweekly check-ins. This 20-minute to an hour-long meeting is between you and your key staff, and it should focus on building trust, developing employees internally and removing obstacles.

This time set aside every two weeks will show your employees that you truly appreciate their positive and negative feedback, and that you realize this is what will move your company forward.

One of the most difficult lessons entrepreneurs will learn is how to balance your employees’ happiness with your hard-hitting goals. The sooner you tap into this balancing act, the faster your company will grow in the strongest way possible.

This article originally appeared in 12th & Broad.