Managers know that reading employees isn’t easy. Are the employees challenged? Do their job duties line up with their talents? Are they doing tasks because they want to, or because they have to? The distinctions are important. Equally important is having a plan to keep your employees engaged.
Good workers might show up on time, do well, even put in some extra time. They may socialize with coworkers and appear happy. But what if they aren’t? What happens when they’re dependable and capable, yet go through their workday with a ho-hum attitude?
You might successfully market and sell product, meet deadlines, and even beat Wall Street estimates for the quarter. Except that this success is unsustainable in the long term if you aren’t investing in incentives, training, resources, and enrichment for your workforce.
Sometimes the standard incentives aren’t enough. Almost nobody complains about getting a raise, but career fulfillment doesn’t always center around money. Meaningful work, recognition, open-minded management, and creative outlets make for well-rounded personnel. Not sure where to start? We’ve gathered a few ideas to give you some direction.
Hire attitude, train skills. When you look at job descriptions for technical jobs, you often see a list of acronyms and other hi-tech jargon. But what would happen if you hired first for attitude, and second for skills? Maybe a new hire doesn’t have the right mix of “alphabet soup” on their resume. Are they willing to learn? If their attitude and teamwork make them a good fit, then perhaps underfilling the position on skills is worthwhile. The same philosophy applies to current employees who are looking for a change. Losing them to the competition hurts you. Spending some time and money hanging on to a veteran is good business. The company keeps a good worker and the worker keeps their vested benefits. Both parties benefit.
Looser job descriptions. Google’s 20% time policy is well known. Employees spend some time each week working on a passion project. It keeps them thinking out of the box and finding new ways to solve problems. You don’t have to implement the same policy in your office. However, providing the chance to work on projects normally outside their comfort zone can benefit the company.
Create a learning environment. Because technology advances and methods change, continuous training is necessary. The ROI isn’t always easy to calculate, but there is no doubt the company saves money when people spend more time doing work than researching how to do the work. Sometimes, for whatever reason, training resources aren’t available. What happens if you lean on your veteran workers for help? Do they have time to spend part of their hours pouring years of knowledge into an internal training and resource program? It’s a step above standard documentation of processes and procedures. Think of it as the definitive collection of company wisdom, created and edited by the people who learned the lessons first hand.
Flexibility is key. Too much rigidity in your practices holds you back a fast-changing business environment. That doesn’t mean a free for all, of course. It does mean the three examples we list all thrive on flexibility of management and workers to understand the potential of an employee and place them where they can best help the company. If you aren’t already incorporating some of these ideas, take one on a test it with a small group. You might be pleasantly surprised at the results.
In this season of thankfulness, I must thank all of our team members – thank you for your contributions and we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!
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