I figure lots of you probably have employees. And it occurred to me the other day that we should spend some time here talking about what it is like to lead and run a business or department. So here is our first post that speaks to running a company instead of incredible ways to market yourself online. Make no mistake…this stuff is important. I have found that in order to have happy customers and to be successful you need to have happy employees.
The Times Are Changing
The Digital Revolution is bringing radical changes to the workplace. The old models where employees felt secure in their jobs with pensions and a gold watch to look forward to are over. And so is the world where a business owner could hire someone and expect them to stick around for their entire career. The next generation, the Millennials, are expected to have 3 careers each before they retire.
Not 3 jobs….3 careers!
It’s evolution, baby
The Digital Revolution is transforming the way we work on a scale not seen since the Industrial Revolution of the early 20th century. And many business owners and bosses are unsure of how they should change their methods.
As business models change and customer expectations seemingly morph with the introduction of each new social media network – owners and managers are slow to respond and to figure out how to lead their teams in the right direction.
Let’s change that right now. Follow these 4 tips, straight from the mouths of your employees to learn how to motivate, inspire and lead your company to success. Let’s shed some light by letting you know 4 things your employees wish you knew.
#1 – We want to be part of something special
Nobody wants to work for a bad company. We all want to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. To be a member of a community. To be a part of a tribe. We want to work for companies that do good work. Work that matters and makes a difference in the world.
If you don’t know what your company stands for, how can your employees? There is a reason that some of the companies that are the best at communicating their mission to consumers are also some of the best companies to work for. Their employees are made to feel like they are part of the mission…because they are!
Apple stands for challenging the status quo. Consumers know it. Their marketing reinforces this message with everything from the famous 1984 SuperBowl ad for the Macintosh to the tagline, “1000 songs in your pocket” to their iconic Think Different campaign.
This messaging is not an accident. It is a part of their mission and they have succeeded so well because they are true to their message. They look for, hire and train employees they feel will help them in their cause. An engineer at Apple may not do so well at Microsoft, and vice versa.
You need to decide what your company stands for. As Simon Sinek put it is his book, Start with Why – people don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it. Your company needs to have a why that you, your customers and your employees can rally around.
#2 – We understand the value of feedback and accountability
How often do you review your employees? The old annual review model is dead. Actually, we just wish it were dead – lots of bad companies are still using it. With this model, the annual review essentially becomes an undesirable but bearable moment on the way to an annual raise. With those kinds of expectations, the stakes are so high for both the employee and the manager, that no one really sees any benefit out of the situation.
Feedback is like Funyuns… much better when delivered in small doses.
The goal should always be constant daily feedback. Your employees are no different from you or anyone else in the world – they want a little instant gratification. When you notice someone doing a good job, you need to let them know. Even if you don’t get to see the good job they are doing until days have passed and you are reading their TPS reports, I highly recommend getting off your keister , heading over to their desk and giving them a simple “thank you.”
This model of immediate feedback also holds true when the feedback needs to be negative. Your employees are not children. And while they may squirm a little when you give negative feedback right away, they will still appreciate the clear direction and your assertiveness.
A quick word of caution here: This does not mean that you should provide negative feedback in front other employees or anyone else, sometimes even their direct boss. No one enjoys the minute or so it may take to hear constructive criticism, but it makes your employees and your company better in the long run, just don’t call anyone out in front of their peers.
Your candor and honesty can go a long way with your employees. They want you to be a leader and help them grow. Sometimes negative feedback is a part of that equation.
And employees like to be held accountable and to have their peers held accountable as well. When employees feel like everyone is doing their part to move the company forward, they perform better. They only way to ensure employees feel this way to be fair, consistent and to hold everyone accountable….including yourself.
I am sure you know by now that employees citing different reasons for taking a job beyond just pay these days. A couple of perks employees consistently note at the top of the list are flexibility and mobility. But here is a stat from a recent NBER Paper, “The Value of Bosses” that may bruise your ego a bit:
65% of employees polled said they would take a new boss over a pay raise!
75% report that their boss is the worst and most stressful part of their job!
Ladies and gentleman….we can do better than this!
From a different study, the top reasons employees want to replace their boss include:
Failure to inspire
Lacks clear vision
Do these complaints sound like they came from people looking to avoid accountability or who only work for the paycheck?
Yes, employees want to make a fair and decent wage. But so many other things affect someone’s perception of their job.
I have seen many overpaid people completely hate their job! They don’t like their boss, they are over their customers, they are unproductive and they spread their negative attitude like a cancer – all while being overpaid!
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that money is the most important thing to your employees and that if you could just hire better people everything would be o.k. You do your employees a dis-service and you hurt your company.
Let them know what it means and how to be a great employee. Reinforce this with excellent training. Give consistent and fair feedback and watch your employees (AND your company) prosper.
#4 – Be a Leader!
At the end of the day, your employees want you to lead. Executing all of the things outlined above requires you to be a true leader.
Making tough decisions, managing your team, being fair and not taking your employees for granted are all the hallmarks of being a true leader.
When we take a step back to realize what it truly means to give honest feedback, to make tough decisions, to create meaning in our work and to have trust in our team is when we most clearly see the true duties of being the boss.
It is so much more than just knowing the next operation step.
It is not easy to be the boss and it is important to remember that nobody is perfect. The good news is that your employees don’t expect you to be either. But they do expect you to lead the way. Recognize what your employees want and you will learn how to lead them where you all want to go.