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Critical Success Factors: The Three P’s

by Lisa.McGill on ‎10-04-2012 02:20 AM (993 Views)

If you plug “the three P’s” into Google, you’ll come up with a range of best practices for a number of topics and disciplines from “effective negotiation” to “risk management.” In fact, it seems that almost anything can be boiled down to three P’s. It applies to HR concepts too. In my many years of working in HR, I’ve observed many an instance that have illustrated to me that the key to employees’ contentment with the job and overall job satisfaction can be tied to these three P’s: People, Projects and Pay. My belief is that employees must have at least two of the three P’s in order to be satisfied at work; if you’ve got all three, then you’re batting 100%!



Let’s face it: No company can survive without people. It’s the people who help innovate, design, build, market, sell, distribute and support whatever product the company has created – and this has a positive impact on financial business outcomes. In a nutshell, a company’s workforce needs to have the right balance of skills, knowledge, capabilities, and attitude in order to successfully perform their job. In addition to the tangibles, such as being in the right role/position/job level which leverages their strengths and skills; there are a number of intangibles, like team dynamics and co-worker camaraderie. Studies have shown that when people work with people they like or respect, they tend to report higher levels of job satisfaction, which in turn increases productivity and collaboration. At Brocade, we do our best to create an environment where people actually want to come to work every day and HR plays a major role in this, from the initial recruiting process to the review process and beyond.



We’ve talked about the importance of people, but unless those people are doing what they love, what they’re good at and working on interesting projects, they will not remain engaged. Some projects involve working cross-functionally, some projects stretch employees to get out of their comfort zone and learn a new area, some projects are highly visible either to peers, Senior Management or even the Board or shareholders, and some projects may involve a completely new concept, strategy or approach which could have a potentially high business impact. Employees who know what they want should take every opportunity to speak up and make it known to decision-makers; in other words, never assume that “everybody knows.”


At Brocade, we emphasize Individual Development Plans (IDPs). IDPs help to identify employee’s strengths, skill gaps, interests and what they want to do next. This process was created so that everyone involved has full visibility into the process. I firmly believe that employees need to know where they’re going and how they’re going to get there; without this insight, they will eventually get stuck doing the same things over and over and never get an opportunity to try anything new, which leads to increased dissatisfaction. I know because I’ve seen it first-hand: Many high performing people on my own team have had opportunities to work on highly-visible, cross-functional projects, and move into other roles, and they have come to realize success through this.



People want to not only feel they are paid fairly, but also recognized for their efforts, accomplishments and hard work and want this type of reward at different times throughout the year. With competition heating up, a limited talent pool particularly within the engineering field, and the return of the start-up mentality, people have far more choices in terms of potential employers. The reality is, if employers want to attract and retain top people, “fair pay” just isn’t enough anymore.


Brocade reviews pay annually for all functions at all job levels in all geographies and benchmark what we pay our employees to what other similar companies are paying their employees. Brocade also has a performance based incentive program which rewards employees directly for the level of contribution they are making towards achieving corporate goals. We can proactively make adjustments to these compensation programs to ensure employees are being paid competitively.


While it may sound overly simplistic to boil all of this down to three P’s, it’s important to recognize that it is really that simple. In order to remain content and productive on the job, people need to feel challenged, valued and be compensated fairly.