Are you getting the performance out of your employees your company needs?
A recent Gallup poll showed that a mere 31.5% of employees felt engaged at work, with a worrying 17.5% so disengaged that they actively worked against their company’s goals. It can be hard enough to get the results you want without having to fight against the people who should be on your side. The simple truth is that disgruntled employees have a direct impact on your bottom line and it’s an issue you ignore at your peril.
So what can you do about it?
- Build success into the very culture of your business
It sounds so obvious, doesn’t it? Yet not all companies have a clear vision and strategy for their employees to follow and it shows.
Take some time to define what success means to you. What qualities do you look for in a leader and what traits do you want in the people you work with?
Once you’ve determined what kind of people you feel your business needs, make sure that you embody that vision yourself. Actions speak far louder than words and you won’t win respect from your employees by asking them to do something you wouldn’t consider yourself. You need to make sure that all the messages you send out to your staff, both in your words and deeds, are consistent and in line with the corporate culture you want to create.
Set clear expectations with your staff. Make sure that everyone knows what’s expected from them – and what they will get in return. If your core values are clearly communicated, whether they be a passion for your mission/goals, innovation or the courage to speak out and make a change for the better, the more likely it is that your staff will incorporate them.
- Identify your superstar employees
There are always going to be those few employees who stand out, not just because they do an excellent job, but because they bring something extra to the workplace. They go above and beyond expectations to generate innovations, push up sales or inspire customer loyalty.
You need to identify your superstars so you can nurture and encourage them, making sure that they’re not looking to go elsewhere, taking their talents with them.
There are a number of factors you should look out for when identifying a superstar, including:
- Generates unique, creative, original ideas
- Leads customers
- Inspires their fellow staff
- Has an in-depth knowledge of your business, products and services
- They respect those around them and receive respect in return
- They are aware that they’re always representing your business and their behaviour reflects that
- They don’t take themselves too seriously but know when it’s time to leave joking aside
Even a few superstars can make a big difference and for most top performing companies, superstars make up around 20% of their staff.
- Hire the right people
Once you’ve identified your superstars and defined the corporate culture you want to create, don’t lose sight of that vision when it comes to recruiting new team members, but before you begin that process, take a good hard look at your existing staff.
Are they all up to speed? Are they all pulling in the same direction, supporting your vision? If you have a supervisor who is undermining what you are trying to achieve, deal with that problem first before you start bringing new people into the mix.
When hiring, keep your corporate culture in mind at every step of the way. You can train someone in new skills. It’s much harder to teach values and attitude.
- Put together a hiring template, filled with questions designed to show if someone shares your corporate values and bullet point the kind of answers you need. Ask them about how their friends would describe them and why or what achievements they’re most proud of so that you can get a sense for how they think.
- Institute a referral program, offering incentives to current employees who help attract the right new hires.
- Tailor the job offer so that it’s clear how an employee will use their strengths to achieve both personal and professional goals while working for you.
- Nurture your superstars
One of the biggest dangers with superstars is burn out. What makes them such fantastic employees also runs the risk of their overdoing things in their zeal to please, resulting in burn out and fatigue.
This is why it’s so important to take care of your superstars. It’s important to lead by example, so you never ask anything of them that you wouldn’t do yourself. Take time to show your appreciation for their efforts, even if it’s just a simple email to say thank you for a job well done. Make sure they know that what they do matters – if someone sees a tangible, positive effect from their efforts, even if it’s just to make the boss happy, they’ll be motivated to keep up the good work.
Finally, put in place a process for assessment that allows for objective feedback so that individuals can assess their own progress or success. If they see themselves as being in control of their own fate, they’ll want that destiny to be positive.
Creating a corporate culture that actively encourages superstar performance is an ongoing process and one which requires active management to achieve the results you want. But if you follow these four simple steps, you’ll be making a major step in the right direction.
Do you know who your company’s superstars are? What do you do to encourage and motivate your team? Let us know your strategies in the comments below.