It doesn’t matter if your company is service or product based, large or small, B2B or B2C.

There is one factor above all others that will define the success of your business.

So what is this crucial factor?

Let’s illustrate with examples:

Recently I was in a store with my family, aiming to buy new trainers for my daughter. We knew which shoes we wanted to buy, so all we needed was a willing member of staff to find the right size. Yes, there were plenty of staff, but no they were not ‘willing’. We left the store and ordered on Amazon (luckily we estimated the correct size). The staff lost an opportunity to create a happy customer and the company lost a sale. The only reason was that the staff did not ‘give a sh*t’.

The following week, I joined a Board meeting in an electronics company at the request of the CEO. By complete coincidence, the store I spoke of is a customer of this electronics firm. My role was to assess the capabilities of the Exec Team members and how they work together. A Board should offer value and insight that is worth far more than the sum of all its parts. In this case, despite the assembled talent, their combination resulted in chaos and dissent. It was clear that several members of the Exec team did not ‘give a sh*t’ about the companies objectives.

Again, this was resulting in a significant loss of sales and growth opportunities.

If the people at any level of your business don’t ‘give a sh*t’, your business or team will struggle and probably fail.

If people just do their job and don’t care about the outcome of the work they do, then your business or team will struggle. They may just ‘get by’, but your ambitions for growth and success are unlikely to be achieved. Eventually, that will erode what little motivation there is, resulting in failure.

Your customers know. They feel the vibe coming from your people. That’s how they judge your company and your product.

Customers may never meet your people (they buy online for example). Your customers know if your people ‘give a sh*t’ (or not) in the way they create your product or deliver it. This defines their decision to buy (or not).

So, let’s look at how to optimise this key factor in your business. How do we get our people to ‘give a sh*t’ about your business or team objectives? Better yet, how do we get our people so enthused that the company experience is a positive one for everyone involved?

I have my thoughts on this subject and so might you, but I recently interviewed someone with a special insight and expertise on this subject.

He practices the subtle art of – ‘How to get your staff to ‘give a sh*t’ and inject character and energy into your business‘.

His foundation is the creation of a “People P&L” giving a direct correlation of people to profit in each area of your business. Unlike many typical “staff satisfaction surveys”, the “People P&L” doesn’t just tell you if your staff are unhappy.

The result is an “E3 Score” for each area of your business. This reflects:

  • Engagement (do staff want to serve to serve your business and customers?)
  • Empowerment (do staff feel confident in their role?)
  • Enablement (do staff have the support and resources to do their job?).

He creates the “People P&L” to tell us why people act the way they do, using neuroscience and behavioural analysis.

Plus, what to do to improve their engagement with the business, with each other and with customers.

There are 5 key steps you need in your “People P&L”:

  1. What do you actually need to know about your staff and how they feel about the business? This will vary according to the size and nature of your business. To help your people to “give a sh*t”, you need to know how they really feel about the company, their boss, and their role. We all have hard-wired human needs – how is your business helping your people to meet those needs? Your employees are not robots, but you can influence their happiness, motivation, and creativity to work for your business. This is within your control, so why not?
  2. Take a ‘brave pill’. Ask questions that matter, even the painful ones. Ask the questions you are afraid to hear the answers to. These are the answers you need the most because facing them will make the most difference. Go to the heart of the issue and you will uncover the solutions.
  3. Encourage openness. Your staff must trust that their feedback is 100% confidential. With no possibility of ‘repercussions’ on the individual and this must be 100% clear to all participants. Otherwise, the feedback will not be honest and the response rate will be too low to be of real value. The style of the questionnaire helps here. Using a friendly and trusted internal voice and questions that don’t appear to judge will encourage honest response.
  4. Commit to action on your findings. If a ‘staff survey’ is just to tick a CSR box in the annual report, it is wasting whatever reserves of goodwill you do have with your staff. This means buy-in at Board level, for action based on the findings. The “People P&L” is as valuable to decision-making as the Financial P&L. It shows the root cause of where your business may be experiencing difficulties, why, and what you can do to improve. Why would an Executive team make decisions without that information?
  5. Communicate results from the survey and your action plans to deal with issues raised – asap. Do this via Line Managers and Team Leaders, not HR – this has to be as direct and as personal as possible. Straight away, thank the participants, tell them the response rate and let them know your plans for what happens next. Once the results come in, tell them what they and the business are doing well. Tell them where improvements can be made. Roll out your specific action plan with each team via Line Managers.

Actually, there is a 6th crucial step that can easily be forgotten once progress starts, but is perhaps the most important of all:

  1. Repeat. Your aim is continual improvement. Don’t stop at the first sign of progress. Celebrate successes and commit to regular updates of your “People P&L”. Your people will recognise that commitment and value it. Your improvements and their benefits will compound over time.

Follow these steps – your people will “give a sh*t” and your customers will want to engage with them.

12 years ago, I placed the creator of the “People P&L” and the “E3 Score” in his current company. He handles global engagement covering over 120,000 employees worldwide.

He is very good at his work. Good enough that his current employer thinks they can now manage the engagement processes he created without him. He will soon be made redundant and is keen to bring his expertise to a new workforce.

Their loss could be your gain.

Happy employees = happy customers = growth in EBITDA.