Keep your business close to your employees

Everyone knows that keeping your people informed about how they impact the company with their work is a significant motivator. We hire people to help us build value for all stakeholders. However, most of the time the stakeholder we are referring to, is a customer. Talking about shareholders goals, the company revenue, costs, and profits, keeps the real business close to your employees.

The most common and still the most important way to talk about the value your product creates for stakeholders is to talk about customers. You and your team for sure know what impact they have on the customers. You probably discuss a lot how each change can impact your current customer and you probably measure how many users use this feature or how much time they spend using your product.

But consider adding a couple of points to your agenda. How many people churn your product? How much does this churn cost you? How much money do these customers using particular feature pay your company? What is average spend per customer using the feature your team is focusing on? Is your feature or your team truly profitable? How much do your team earn for the company, how much your users cost us?

To get this information you need a certain level of transparency in your company and you probably will need to fight for it. The truth is that a customer is quite a hazy concept - it doesn’t really mean anything about your business. But a dollar is a dollar. Everyone understands a dollar and a dollar is the same value for everyone. The feeling that your team is responsible for huge, absolute value of revenue is motivating.

On the other hand, not every company culture can be aligned with keeping your business close to the team. For some teams, it can actually decrease their morale. Some people are not interested in business and would rather focus on their primary job. Pushing the business talk can be risky - how to make sure if it’s a good decision?

There are two very clear situations when you should keep the business close your employees. First, when you push for aggressive growth - your team must share your vision and you need to make sure you have a team that understands it and believes in it. Second, when you give your team stocks or stock options - they deserve to know the company health and their impact on eventual valuation.