Tip of the Month for January 2005
TIP - Getting The Very Best From Your Employees
Looking for ways to better motivate your employees and help boost productivity? Review our checklist and see where you can do more to encourage your staff.
- Know who your employees or associates are. You don’t have to be their best friend, but it is a good idea to know something about each employee’s interests and family life. A friendly question or comment is always appreciated.
- In the same vein, understand each employee’s mind-set, and know what gives him or her satisfaction in the work place. Some people are end-result oriented, while others enjoy the actual work process more. Some people enjoy challenge and variety; others prefer familiar routines and procedures. If you understand their respective work habits, you’ll have a good idea how best to motivate and encourage individuals.
- Get hands-on from time-to-time. If possible, handle various jobs yourself occasionally. That way you get a real idea of the challenges and opportunities facing your staff, and you can make suggestions based on practical experience.
- Invest in your staff. Offer training and encourage continued education. Let them see that you are committed to their personal growth and development.
- Hire good people. There are no shortcuts involved in finding and recruiting good people. It takes time to review and qualify applicants, and to prepare for, and conduct, a thorough interview with each candidate. Checking references, education information, work history and credentials can be time consuming, but it will save you from making expensive mistakes.
- If individual employees are not performing up to your standards, figure out why. Is the problem lack of ability, commitment or work discipline? If so, let the individual go. The non-performer will drag down their co-workers, and if the situation is not handled promptly, the "bad apple" can seriously harm overall morale and productivity.
- If employees are under-performing because they are not sure how to handle an assignment, or if poor communication is a factor, do your part to address the situation. Provide training or more direction, and do more to communicate effectively.
- Value time - theirs as well as your own. Here "walking the talk" is key. Are the meetings you chair constructive and time efficient? Do you honor deadlines yourself, and provide sufficient lead-time to allow employees to do a good job?
- Take the work seriously - but not yourself. Smile and laugh more. A happy work place is usually a productive one.
- Criticize employees in private, but praise publicly. Praise and publicize success stories throughout your company. Whether you post customers' "thank you" notes and comments on a bulletin board, or have an official "Employee of the Week" (or Month) program, celebrate successes. You can’t provide too much of this type of feedback. Constantly remind your employees that what they do, and how they do it, matters, and that their efforts are appreciated.