Perspectives you can change to better understand the value of your workers: from Quantity to Quality

Perspectives you can change to better understand the value of your workers: from Quantity to Quality

As with a lot of things in life, work can be seen from many different angles. By extension, this provides organizations with several approaches to assess how valuable their members are individually and collectively. This can affect certain decisions, such as whether to promote them or give them a pay raise.

The thing is, a lot of the approaches or angles that are still in use today are woefully outdated and can hinder you from discovering the true value of your workers. Changing these perspectives can help you get a more realistic pulse on how important your people are as assets to your organization. And when you know how valuable they are and treat them accordingly, you’re more likely to retain them.

So what are these perspectives that you can change to better understand the value of your workers? Each week we will examine one of them and tell you all about how to turn these blind spots into vantage points.

FROM: Quantity

TO: Quality

Does larger output, on its own, still mean greater success? Not really.

We’ve all been conditioned to ensure that we are doing enough, that we fulfill a numerical target as a measure of our contribution to our organization. No matter where we are in the organizational chart, our performance is measured in pages written, tickets closed, units sold, people hired, projects initiated, and other quantitative benchmarks.

It’s not surprising that we have this line of thinking. The dominant scale against which we measure productivity, time, is in numbers. And it’s easier to measure performance quantitatively through an established ratio of time spent and output quantity produced. Any amount of time that workers spend without producing any output is considered a lost opportunity.

And in all fairness, this is a valid measure of performance. It illustrates a natural correlation between time and productivity. However, on its own it’s an incomplete measurement. Specifically, it’s the second phase in what should be a two-part process of performance assessment. The first part, quality, is arguably the more important of the two.

Why is this the case? It’s because maintaining and raising the quality of work implies mastery of it. And mastery, in turn, fuels confidence to accept greater workloads and increase output. In short, focusing on quality first organically leads to the ability to increase quantity in the long run.

Yes, you can definitely expect both from your employees. The whole point of professional growth is an improvement in both qualitative and quantitative output delivery. But quality has to come first. It’s the foundation that your people need to tackle high work volumes without committing many mistakes.

Focusing on quality before transitioning to quantity is also a highly effective way for your workers to avoid burnout (and the toxicity that comes with it.) These joint factors are among the most prominent causes of employee attrition.

And all that’s needed to increase your organization’s resistance to their effects is to equip your people with the ability to consistently deliver quality output. By doing this, you give them essential task management skills that will help them accomplish more without feeling overburdened. And employees who don’t feel like they’re being stretched out to cover two positions (instead of one as stated in their employment contract) are unlikely to leave their employer.

And yes, in order to take full advantage of the “quality first, quantity subsequently” perspective and approach, you must apply it to each brand-new task assigned to your team. New tasks mean new dynamics, and not everything learned from previous tasks can be carried over and used effectively.

In sum, expecting your people to deliver quality work first – before expecting them to deliver both quality and quantity at the same time – helps build their capabilities in terms of productivity and task management. They become able to do more at an excellent level, while mitigating the risks of being burned out and unhappy with the volume of work at their workplace.

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