I’m a big fan of the 80/20 Rule. The 80/20 Rule (also known as the Pareto Principle) means that 20 percent of something is responsible for 80 percent of the results (i.e. 20 percent of the workforce provides 80 percent of production). I use the 80/20 Rule in my description of the normal workforce: 20% of the Employees are Core Employees (whose DNA requires they contribute at a 110% level); 20% of the Employees are The Others (those that should have been fired yesterday).
I also classify Companies using the 80/20 Rule. In an 80/20 Organization, 80% of what management does is spot on when it comes to treating Employees right- respecting them, recognizing them, rewarding them, properly communicating with them and, as a results of doing the right things - and generating very high performance/productivity. And this makes the organization a very good Company indeed.
Recently, I conducted Employee Focus Groups at an 80/20 Company. Why would this very good company pay an outsider to come in and talk to its Employees? Because this 80/20 Company knows what all 80/20 Companies know: in the time of the WorkQuake™ being an 80/20 Company is not good enough!
An 80/20 Company realizes that in this very uncertain time, when there have been multiple layoffs, reduction in hours of work and pay reductions, the communication process between Management and Front Line Employees may not be as open as it was in the past. And reduced communication inevitably leads to reduced productivity and performance. One way to check out the viability of the Company’s lines of communication, and in the process eliminate rumors and gossip, and discover Employee concerns and any poor supervisory practices, which may have crept unnoticed into an operation, is to have an outsider conduct Focus Groups. This makes absolute sense when Employees feel very insecure (every evening on the news they hear about another company closing its doors) and are reluctant to voice their opinion about the operation because of the perception those remarks might adversely effect their future employment. Done through a 3rd party, anonymity is ensured, organizational filters are avoided and perceptions eliminated in favor of reality.
The Bottom Line: Even in this time of crisis, 80/20 Companies are looking for ways to improve the organization by strengthening their bond with the workforce. That is one of the things that makes them an 80/20 Company today and will make them a 90/10 Company when the recession ends.
Questions: Is your Company an 80/20 Company? Does management really know what Employees are thinking? Are the rumormongers controlling the communications in your company? Does your Company have a Communication Plan?