Highly productive employees & the 2% effect

Equilibrium Business Consulting works with a range of advisors on business matters. This week’s blog is written by HR guru Di Armbrust, founder of Innov8hr and author of the book “The 2% Effect”. Di assists her clients with developing their HR strategy, driving high performance through employee engagement, implementing values-led leadership and building a strong and efficient culture. I have known Di for only a short time however in that time I have found that Di is not like other HR consultants. She really understands how to get the best outcomes for both the business and its people.

The role of a manager can be easier than we think. What if we suddenly thought about our employees differently – that is, they are not a one size fits all?

Think about any organisation you have ever worked in and I know you will see the three groups I am about to describe:

Group 1 – Worker Bees

This group produce the largest amount of output for only a small amount of input. They come to work, do their job and go home at the end of the day. They don’t usually go the extra mile, but they do their job and do it well.

Group 2 – Gifts

These people are your future leaders, the best technical people and a less spoken of group, your utilities (those who can move between roles as needed). Gifts all go the extra mile, are self-directed learners and become your “go to” people.

Group 3 – The 2%ers

This group are small in number but are extremely well known by everybody. These are the people who break the rules and will continue to break them regardless of what they are.

It is interesting that business tends to get bogged down because of 2%ers. More and more bureaucracy and rules are created because of these people. Stop lights are everywhere. What if we changed our mindset from adding more and more red traffic lights in case somebody breaks the rule (which they will do anyway), to adding more and more green lights and reducing the number of red traffic lights.

Building our business systems and rules for the 98% of people who will do the right thing allows lots more green lights. Understanding when a 2%er is starting to show their hand follows a risk management approach and we can use a red stop light for these people to quickly turn them around or turn them out.

This leaves managers with the task of leading the 98%. This means giving them clarity about what needs to be done; removing the roadblocks; giving regular feedback; developing those who deserve it – and then just getting out of their way.

In getting clarity, it is very important to understand that people are driven by their values and expectations. Managers are no different and need to make it clear to their employees what their (authentic) values and expectations are, so employees behave and deliver their outcomes according to these two important aspects.

Understanding that we shouldn’t have a One Size Fits All Approach to our people can simplify what we do in business and allows higher productivity and engagement with 98% of our people which will drive high performance. As for the 2% – they need to be quickly managed so they turn around or turn out so that your people risk is managed.

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