People pick an organization because they believe its purpose resonates with their values and that they can make a difference there.
Today employees are in the driver’s seat, and they have high expectations that must be met for them to stay with an employer. If they don’t immediately feel connected and have a clear view of the culture and mission of the organization and their role in it, they aren’t likely to stick around long.
What kind of company do you want to be working for, and what helps you to feel valued, appreciated and inspired to do your very best?
Goals provide a sense of purpose and meaning to any task and without meaning, a job can drain the energy from people. So, make the goal truly fulfilling and show its purpose. Describe its relevance within the larger business goals and how a goal isn’t just an arbitrary target but an outcome that truly matters. Allow employees to help create goals, both at an individual and a broader level. They are more likely to achieve that goa because they own it!
A TRUE SENSE OF PURPOSE
We all want to feel we are a part of something bigger. Let employees know what you want to achieve for your customers, for your business, and for your community. As with goals, allow them to create a few missions of their own because knowing what to care about and why drives purpose into people.
PRAISE AND RECOGNITION
Recognition gives employees “permission” to be awesome. Praise costs nothing to give and is priceless to the recipient. So start praising. Be specific. Be genuine.
Recognition rewards effort and accomplishment, reinforces positive behaviors, builds self-esteem and confidence, and boosts motivation and enthusiasm.
While every job should include some degree of latitude, every job requires basic and clear expectations. If everyone understands the metrics that indicate success and the activities that are directly tied to those metrics, your team is more likely to succeed. It also means everyone is aligned and moving in the same direction.
When guidelines change, make sure you communicate those changes first. When that’s not possible, take time to explain why this situation is different and why you made the decision you made.
Best practices can create excellence, but not every task doesn’t require a best practice. Why? Autonomy and latitude breed engagement and satisfaction. Autonomy also breeds innovation. Even “systematic” and “process-driven” jobs have room for different approaches. Give your employees the freedom to work the way they work best within reason.
Everyone wants to make suggestions and offer ideas. Restricting opportunities to give input, or shooting down ideas without consideration, risks turning people into machines… and machines don’t care. Make it easy for employees to offer suggestions, to question, to challenge, and to share their opinions. When an idea doesn’t have merit, take the time to explain why. You may not always implement every idea, but you can always make employees feel valued for their ideas.
People don’t want to work simply for a pay check… they want to work with and for people. A kind word, a short discussion about family, a brief check-in to see if they need anything… personal moments make a lot more impact than meetings or formal evaluations. A manager doesn’t have to be a best friend – and shouldn’t be — but must always be friendly and show caring on a personal as well as professional level.
While you should treat each employee differently, you must treat each employee fairly. (There’s a big difference.) The key to maintaining reasonable consistency is communication. The more employees understand why a decision was made, the less likely they are to assume favoritism or unfair treatment.
Every job should have the potential to lead to greater opportunities, either within or outside your company. Take the time to develop employees for jobs they someday hope to fill, even if those positions are outside your company. Employees will only care about growing and developing your business after you show you care about growing and developing them.
AN ATMOSPHERE OF EXCELLENCE
Superstars want to work with superstars. Excellent employees want to work in an environment where outstanding performance is the rule, not the exception. So be unreasonably selective about the people you hire. Work hard to turn around a failing employee or, failing that, weed out the poor performers. As Drew Houston, the CEO of Dropbox, once said, “You become the average of the five people you hang out with.” As a leader, your goal is to surround every employee with awesome people and the best they’ve ever worked with.
What kind of company do people want to be working for? There is no single formula but companies with a clear purpose, in an environment of openness and a culture with a growth mindset, delivering a consistent and strong set of values will attract the right people who will want to deliver only their best. It’s only going to become more important from here – so are you making people feel valued, appreciated and inspired to do their very best?