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7 lessons from 7 habits

Our latest research unveils the 7 habits of high performance organisations that have steered them through a low growth economy and an increasingly competitive environment. The research helps leaders of all organisations, regardless of size or type, understand how to increase productivity, performance and profitability. Here’s a summary:

1. Live an inspiring vision

An organisation with a clear and inspiring vision is far more likely to gain employee buy-in and the extra discretionary effort, energy and focus from employees that are essential to achieving sustainable high performance. More than half (54%) of employees from high performance organisations believe their leadership team has an inspiring vision, compared to 24% from low performance organisations.

The lesson: High performance organisations understand that they don’t only need to develop a shared, compelling and inspiring vision; they must make a habit of continually espousing that vision and make it integral to everything they do. The vision then becomes authentic, relevant, aligned, achievable and memorable and something all employees can understand and be proud of.

2. Communicate clear strategies and goals

An inspiring vision becomes the single guiding light that points the way for employees. Strategies and goals aligned to that vision add focus and urgency to the individual plans, actions and goals of employees. High performance organisations make it a priority to communicate their strategies clearly. More than two thirds (69%) of their employees are clear on the strategy.

The lesson: High performance organisations engage their employees in developing their strategy which gains their buy-in and increases the likelihood of achieving the strategy. High performance organisations also spend a lot of time considering how the strategy can be simplified and best communicated to all employees.

3. Develop your people

Nearly half (45%) the employees of low performance organisations state that their organisation doesn’t have effective plans for developing and retaining its people, compared to only 19% for high performance organisations.

The lesson: Many executives say that they can’t afford to develop their employees because the investment is often not worth it, as many employees leave too soon after they receive the relevant education and training. This is a “cup half empty” perspective and not conducive to building leadership talent and capability. The concern should not be “what if we develop our people and they leave?”, but “what if we don’t develop them and they stay?”

4. Go out of your way to recognise people

Over half (55%) of employees from high performance organisations believe their senior leadership team goes out of their way to acknowledge and thank people for their contribution. This is compared to 27% for low performance organisations. On this factor alone, employees of high performance organisations are more likely to be engaged and happy to come to work each day.

The lesson: Until acknowledging and thanking people for their contribution becomes a habit, leaders need to consciously make the extra effort to increase the extent to which they recognise their staff. There is very little extra cost, other than a small amount of time, and the payback will be significant.

5. Genuinely care for your people

The psychological contract refers to the often unwritten expectations of an employee towards their employer. If employees perceive that this contract has been broken, their trust in, and commitment to, their employer will be diminished. The majority (59%) of employees in high performance organisations perceive their organisation to be caring and committed to them. There is also a strong reciprocal relationship, with more than three quarters (78%) willing to recommend the organisation as a good place to work to family and friends.

The lesson: Some organisations aim to manage the psychological contract more effectively by making their employee offer explicit (documented), rather than implicit (unwritten). These organisations take great care in crafting and documenting an employee value proposition (EVP) that appeals to the people most suited to working in their organisation.

6. Listen and adapt to customer needs

More than three quarters (79%) of employees in high performance organisations believe that their organisation consistently shows a commitment to achieving long term customer loyalty compared to only 47% in low performance organisations.

The lesson: High performance organisations demonstrate a much greater, more structured and thoughtful commitment to their customers, and take a longer term view to customer loyalty. They are more likely to partner with their clients by getting to know them and how they can service them better. They understand that, as they demonstrate a true understanding of their customers’ needs and deliver services that meet those needs, they build customer loyalty and advocacy.

7. Continually improve your systems

Almost three quarters (73%) of employees in high performance organisations agree that their organisation is committed to continually improving its systems compared to only 41% in low performance organisations.

The lesson: High performance organisations ensure that their systems are fit for purpose and well integrated as a key enabler for improving productivity and customer service. Inadequate systems hinder many organisations in executing their strategy. If you genuinely care for your people (habit 5), you will ensure that they are not frustrated as a result of inadequate systems.


 

If you would like one or more hard copies of the research, please send your name and postal address to research@insyncsurveys.com.au.

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