Are You Getting The Best Out Of Your Staff?
By Tim Brownson
If I asked you what one thing usually comes out top when employees are asked what is most important to them in a job, what do you think it would be? Money? Seniority? Health benefits? Company Car? Working hours?
Well the answer is none of the above. The thing that comes out number one time and time again is staff needing to feel like they are wanted and that they are making a difference in their role. Wow! Who would have thought of that? Something so basic as feeling wanted and needed.
So this begs the question, how many companies use this as a motivational tool to get the best out of their workforce? Well I have to admit that I have absolutely no idea on the answer to that question but I can take a guess using my own anecdotal evidence. Not many. I certainly have never worked for a company that thought anything other than large bonuses or large foots planted up the rear end of under-performing staff could get the best out of people. On top of that, I have never worked with a company in a coaching role that looked outside the bonus or boot box or even have any friends that have regaled me with fascinating stories of senior management concerned about their well-being and sense of belonging. Now let me say at this stage I realize that I am being flippant and that of course there will in actuality be some well managed, thoughtful organizations that have blissfully happy and content workers going about a job that they feel is important and meaningful, but I think they are few and far between.
Whereas this apparent lack of common sense worries me somewhat it also gives me hope for smaller businesses that want to compete with the big guys. Depending on what line of business you are in staff hiring and firing will be one of your biggest expenditures. A company I worked for a few years ago estimated that each member of the sales staff cost them over $20k to recruit, kit out and train! This was a company that had a lot of sales people and seemed to be going through an ever-increasing rate of churn as old dispirited, worn out staff left and new people came in. So what did the company do to stop the hemorrhaging? They offered bigger bonuses, put more employees under the cosh of directives, generally ‘tightened things up’ and of course ramped up workloads. Did they try and make staff feel wanted and needed? Did they demonstrate this by lowering quotas or workload? Did they ask staff what they could do to stem the tide of people leaving? No of course not, they simply used the same tired old tactics that have always ‘worked’ in the past and that’s just the way it is. Except they didn’t work this time and staff retention dropped instead of rising back up as expected.
So I am encouraged, encouraged that smaller, leaner more forward thinking companies can use different tactics, that they can actually try to align with their employees and get the best out of them not because they are greedy for more money or frightened of losing their job but because they genuinely want to be involved in growing a business that not only wants to make money but also wants happy and productive personnel. So if they can go head to head with the traditional giants with a loyal workforce that isn’t constantly changing and is motivated by internal factors rather than external then I believe they can not only compete but beat the opposition soundly.
If you manage or have your own business, take this seriously. It’s easy to stick with the tried and trusted methods of motivation that may well have worked in eras of high unemployment and low employee expectations, but we need something a bit more radical now. It will take brave men and women in power to implement procedures that may take months to come to fruition and will be frowned on by many a stockholder in the process. For the ones that do it however, I am convinced the rewards will be great.
Tim Brownson is a UK qualified Life Coach now living in Orlando, Florida. He is also an NLP Master Practitioner, Hypnotherapist and has extensive experience working in sales and marketing. We welcomes feedback at http://www.adaringadventure.com