If your like me, you have a strong faith that your team is out there producing an experience or product that represents the values you have set forth for your organization. If not, read my earlier blogs regarding hiring good people and getting out of their way, but lets assume you have gotten this far. Now what?
It’s time to do another sometimes-difficult task. It’s time to find your defendable metrics that help you support your staff and verify something. Not that your employees are great, but that the values they are approaching their jobs with are in alignment with bettering your product. These can be two very different things.
Metrics help you understand the nuts and bolts, but no captain can simply look at the numbers from the bridge and understand how she is sailing, it requires a feeling or understanding that others may not have to get safely to harbor. Your team may be great, but if they are not showing it in the right ways to the end users you’re loosing the battle. You can rely on how many jobs are taken off of the board, but if you do the peril is loosing touch with metrics that give you a better understanding about how your staff is doing. Try a couple of these things:
Pick up the phone:
Call 20-30% of the end users that came off of the job board last month. Ask how it went, was there any follow up? Did you get exactly what you wanted, or just close? Did they feel the person was just there to clean up a job board posting, or genuinely cared about the job.
Better yet, get out of your own chair:
Your asking them to get out there, their will never be a better substitute for face-to-face interactions when getting good or bad news, so get out there yourself. You will get very different answers than on the phone than you will when you’re sharing a lunch or just a sit down with a coworker.
While you’re out there, attend that office party:
Stop complaining when at the office party you hear “Hey, can I ask you an I.T. question, it will only take a minute”. Listen to the questions and comments at the office parties; I have received some great ideas on bettering our product from these socials. Invite those questions, don’t avoid them.
Some of these things are hard for technical people to do, often they feel that they work better isolated or in small teams, but insist that your team follow up, and invite them to join you for the social events as they get to hear what your hearing. Do these things and I promise you will hear a better, unvarnished truth about your department.