When nobody knows what the score is, it’s hard to set benchmarks for growth. Historically, all our employees work hard throughout the year; sometimes we’ve made enough money, sometimes we’ve made less than what’s ideal. But if all our employees don’t know where we stand as a company, how can we expect to improve?
We were brainstorming different ways to motivate employees to shoot for a goal and realized that most people in the company had no idea what was on the scorecard. The assumption was that the lights were on, everyone was still coming to work and getting paid, so that meant we were doing well.
I wanted to come up with a system of goal-setting that would drive employees to improve their sales strategies but would also keep them aware of where the company is financially at any given time. Using those goals, I could reward them for hard work in whatever way made the most sense, financially and logistically.
The pivotal moment came in 2017, when July 4 fell on a Tuesday. Employees wanted to know if they would be working the day before or getting an extra day off for the holiday. When I ran the numbers, I realized it would cost me $20,000 to give all 85 employees that unplanned day off. So how could I make that happen?
I used that desire for an extra day off to push everyone to give it their all: Come June 1, if we hit $2.2 million in sales for the month with $1.8 million in revenue, July 3 would be a paid day off. It was a challenging—but achievable—goal.
We were brainstorming different ways to motivate employees to shoot for a goal and realized that most of the people in the company had no idea what was on the scorecard.
We cut it close: Two days prior we still weren’t sure if July 3 would be a work day or a day off. But the numbers came in, they met our goal, and everyone got their two-day Fourth of July holiday. I announced the outcome on the Friday before with a company-wide ice cream social. It was huge for team building.
Following that experiment, I implemented a quarterly goal system for paid days off. If the team members meet their goals, each person earns a day off. For Q1, you can earn one day; for Q2, you can earn two days, and so on through Q4.
Four key factors play into the goals we set each quarter: sales, revenue, design agreements, and client affirmations. Sales and revenue vary each quarter, but every quarter employees must get 30 design agreements and 30 client affirmations. These can come in the form of a review, feedback from GuildQuality, or even a note from a vendor.
We’ve actually dedicated a 4x15-foot wall in the office to post the client affirmations for everyone to use as motivation.
What’s important about this system is that the onus is on the employees to hit the goal. It becomes their responsibility to work hard and produce the numbers to earn extra time off. It takes some brain power and math to make a system like this work, but the energy you spend building up your employees and company culture will come back to you tenfold.