Are you measuring Headcount…

engagement What is your heartcount and how do you know?

…or Heartcount?

As we enter into what is arguably the most emotional season of the year, it seems fitting to remind ourselves as leaders the importance of engaging followers at a level much deeper than merely following orders. We’ve all read the ever-growing number of articles and blogs concerning the low levels of employee engagement in the workforce. One reason may well be the simple reference to people as “headcount”. What if we stopped measuring headcount and started measuring “heartcount”?

Heartcount, for purposes of this discussion, refers to the level of commitment to the Vision, Mission and Strategy as active participants in the organizational Culture. Imagine a monthly meeting where leaders report their heartcount or heartcount-as-a-percentage-of-headcount to their management and boards. Think of the discussion that comes out of a leader stating, “We had a 43% heartcount this past quarter” which is akin to saying, “We were 43% committed to the success of the organization this past quarter.” As ridiculous as it sounds when phrased this way, that is exactly what the research tells us is happening regardless of how we phrase it!

So how do leaders influence heartcount?

  • While it may seem obvious, the first step is to give the organization something to be committed to. Is the Vision compelling? Is the Mission clear enough to break down the Vision into tangible components? Does the Strategy make sense throughout the organization to the extent everyone knows how their role influences the overall success? People need something to be committed to in order to be fully engaged!
  • Set and reinforce expectations. An expectation I reinforced throughout my corporate leadership roles was, “I expect100% out of 100%”. In other words, if you see a way to improve the business, you have an obligation to speak up. This philosophy became the catalyst for the culture and promoted commitment to each other throughout the organization.
  • Exercise integrity each day, every day. People can more easily commit to an organization that has true integrity. When leaders commit to their own Beliefs, Attitudes and Behaviors, the organization will follow suit. Making the right personnel selection decisions (selecting in or selecting out of the organization) that align with the culture while maintaining the integrity of the Vision, Mission and Strategy is crucial to sustainable heartcount.

Headcount means we have the physical bodies to do the work. Heartcount means we have a commitment to the work leading to sustainable success!

What is your heartcount and how do you know? If you're not sure, we can help.

Lead Well!

“Leadership…
“There is nothing so useless…

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Comments 2

Guest - Atul Akhand on Wednesday, 26 November 2014 09:09

Good article Rich. It is true that for employee engagement, clear mission and vision is important. Additionally, as you stated, integrity is also critical for employee to stay committed to the organization.

Good article Rich. It is true that for employee engagement, clear mission and vision is important. Additionally, as you stated, integrity is also critical for employee to stay committed to the organization.
Guest - RLochner on Sunday, 25 January 2015 13:42

Thank you, Atul for your thoughts. I find that "wishing" for engaged employees without the other cultural elements is meaningless in the long run. Thanks again!

Thank you, Atul for your thoughts. I find that "wishing" for engaged employees without the other cultural elements is meaningless in the long run. Thanks again!
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