Improving Performance: 3 Things Successful Companies Do Well

Written by Joanna Morrow

Joanna Morrow, Principal and Founder of Employer Benefits & Advice, is an employer consultant and advocate who has worked in the employee benefits industry for over two decades. She works diligently to help employers overcome obstacles in their business by sharing her expertise in Human Resources, Benefits & Compensation, Process Mapping, Risk Management and ERISA/DOL/IRS compliance. She is a licensed life and health insurance professional in the State of Arizona and is an active member of the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU).

Improving Performance: 3 Things Successful Companies Do Well

As we enter into 4th quarter and wind down 2018, many companies will take inventory of their goals, assessing where they achieved and where they fell short. Each brand new year is an opportunity to get better.

Think of your business as a game of Monopoly. Strategy is the framework you use to make the day to day decisions as to how you play the game. But without execution, strategy is useless. This is where a lot of companies struggle because let’s face it – there are multiple people, departments, and possibly locations involved in making those day to day decisions.

So how do you get everyone moving in the same direction? High performance companies that stand the test of time are good at assessing their health in areas beyond just the financial. They are able to take a big, blurry strategic vision and break it down into specific, actionable steps for employees to take on a day-to-day basis.

No matter what it is you’re trying to achieve, here’s a quick and simple, 3 step guide to map your road to success.

Step 1:

Start by viewing the company in terms of these four perspectives:

1. Learning and Growth

The learning and growth perspective looks at your overall corporate culture. How knowledgeable are your employees when it comes to industry trends? Does your company promote collaboration and knowledge sharing amongst employees? Does everyone have access to the training and continuing education they need to succeed in their role?

Technology also plays a major role in your company’s learning and growth. Are employees tech savvy, able to use the latest devices and software, or are your systems archaic? What are you doing to ensure you stay ahead of your competition?

2. Internal Business Processes

This is all about efficiency. How good is your company at reducing waste, expediting procedures, and doing more with less? What obstacles stand between new ideas and execution? How quickly can you adapt to your external environment?

Take a step back and get a little philosophical about your company. Are you providing what your customers actually want? What is your core function? In other words, what should you be best at in order to keep the money flowing into the company?

3. Customer

The customer perspective focuses on the people who actually buy your products and services. Is your customer base growing? Are your existing customers happy? How are you viewed when compared to your competitors?

Customer satisfaction is a great forward-looking indicator of success. The way you treat your customers today directly impacts your success tomorrow.

4. Financial

Obviously the financial perspective is a major focus. The financial health of your organization is often a lagging indicator, the end result of past decisions, but it’s still very important. Are you growing revenue? Are your shareholders happy?

Step 2:

Next, define your objectives. Objectives articulate clearly the goals you wish to achieve for the company. Objectives start with a verb, an action word such as “Improve”, “Reduce”, “Increase”, “Optimize”, “Maximize”, “Minimize”. Just remember an objective involves actually DOING something.

Step 3:

Determine your measures. Measures are numerical benchmarks that help you determine your progress. You need only one or two measures for each of your strategic objectives. The simpler you keep it, the easier it will be to attain.

Here are some examples of strategic objectives paired with some sample measures.

This approach of examining the four business perspectives, determining your objectives and measures is useful in that it can be applied on a smaller scale no matter what it is you’re trying to achieve.

Employer Benefits and Advice uses this approach to assist employers in designing and implementing the employee benefits strategy. We go beyond financial issues to encompass human issues as well and measure performance of benefit strategy across a much wider spectrum than traditional employer-sponsored benefit programs.

Recipe for Success

1. Train your employees and build a culture of information sharing (Learning and Growth).

Adapted for Benefit Strategy: Partner with experts who will support and educate you in areas such as compliance and healthcare consumerism.

2. Your company will run more smoothly as a result (Internal Business Processes).

Adapted for Benefit Strategy: Your benefits programs will operate more efficiently when people intuitively understand what is expected of them and are trained to achieve it.

3. A better run business does a better job of taking care of its customers, (Customers).

Adapted for Benefit Strategy: An effective benefit program does a better job of taking care of your employees.

4. Happy customers will buy more of what you’re selling (Financial).

Adapted for Benefit Strategy: Employees who feel valued and informed achieve greater job satisfaction. Greater job satisfaction translates to improved productivity and less turnover which ultimately improves your bottom line.

If you are looking to take a more strategic approach to benefit planning this renewal season contact us at or call us at 602-903-4047.