- Work is part of life and should be included in a “life design” rather than an oppositional work-life balance.
- Staff should be given permission to live a happy and fulfilled life and not feel guilty about it.
- Incorporating non-work goals into workplace targets can help improve productivity and overall wellbeing.
By Mark LeBusque
Work is part of life, and happiness and being successful at work are not mutually exclusive. With the challenges brought on by the COVID crisis, this is a time like no other in the history of work to think about how we define success.
Imagine this scenario.
John’s manager incorporated non-work-related goals into his yearly performance review. He was paid 15% of his annual bonus for walking on the beach with his wife two nights a week, reducing his golf handicap by three strokes and speaking at his local high school once a month about career choices and leadership.
The manager also instructed John to stop taking his laptop on family holidays and even called John’s wife to take a vote on the matter. John lost the vote by two to one and remarked, on his return, how he’d had a more relaxed time on their annual trip to the Great Barrier Reef.
None of those activities has anything to do with “getting the job done” and achieving business outcomes. Had the manager lost the plot?
What was the outcome of this ‘human’ KPI approach?
Not surprisingly, the outcome was outstanding. Over a two-year period, John reduced his actual work hours and increased his family time and time for himself. Additionally, in the same period, John exceeded his sales targets.
And it wasn’t just John who had non-work-related KPIs in his performance plan. In fact, the whole team of 30 staff went through the same process and the benefits were just as profound:
Over the two years, employee engagement rose (and grew year on year), there was no staff attrition, and the overall team results far exceeded targets.
“This is a time like no other in the history of work to redefine how we view success. Managers can be bold and change the game.”
What’s the lesson in this for managers?
- Stop talking about work-life balance and reframe it as “life design”. Work is part of your life.
- Give your people permission to live a happy and fulfilled life and not feel guilty about it.
- Walk your talk and role model the art of life design.
- Get creative and expand your mind on the ways you measure success.
- Make it clear that there are no free rides with the new approach. Goals are goals and evidence is still required to be rewarded.
Managers can be bold and change the game. So, how will you approach your next goal-setting conversation? Will it be care-based or compliance-based?
Find out more:
3 tips for managing junior staff
Kevin Phillips, author of Managing Millennials, says bosses are more effective when they understand millennials’ motivations.Read more