The following is a guest post from Carol Hacker. Carol is the President and CEO of Hacker & Associates. She specializes in helping HR professionals and teaching managers, supervisors, team leaders, executives and business owners how to meet the leadership challenge. She’s the author the bestseller, Hiring Top Performers-350 Great Interview Questions for People Who Need People.
Commitment and pride are characteristics that are difficult to measure when interviewing prospective employees. However, once you’ve found people who have great attitudes and hire them, it’s up to you to take it one-step further and build commitment. If you’re limited in what you can pay, or opportunities for advancement are scarce, how do you get employees to focus on performance and productivity?
First, are you willing to work at bringing out the best in your employees? It’s a full time job. Most employees want to be successful, but they sometimes lack the skills and know-how. Without structure, systems, and attitudes, employers will never be able to develop and retain every manager’s dream—motivated employees.
Second, the reality is, once fair wages are set, more money or better fringe benefits have a negligible impact on employee loyalty on performance and productivity. There are a number of ways to build employee loyalty, but none of them come without effort.
Your goal is to get your employees to emotionally commit to you and the goals of your organization—admittedly, no easy task—but proven to be doable if you’re willing to work at it. The ideas contained herein are not meant to be all-inclusive. However, they represent a cross-section of ideas that I hope you find helpful.
Behind the success of any thriving business are a number of key principles related to employee performance and productivity. The late Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, said it well: “There are two things people want more than sex and money–recognition and praise.” With that light-hearted, but powerful thought, I’d like to share some ideas that HR professionals can use and share to keep top-notch employees committed and loyal to the task and the organization:
1. Let them know they count. Don’t fail to overlook the use of low-cost or no-cost incentives as a way to show appreciation. Why? Because everyone needs to feel valued from your managers to your office personnel, and beyond. A simple “thank you” can go a long way to get commitment from the people that you depend upon day in and day out.
2. Include “fun” in your organization’s core values that should already include respect, trust, excellence, balance, ethics, adaptability, empowerment and calculated risk-taking. Don’t give it “lip service.” Live each and every one of your core values to the fullest!
3. When someone leaves your company don’t ignore the fact that the loss of an employee puts a burden on your other employees. Anticipate the fact that your existing employees will be willing and able to pick up the slack for only so long before they become frustrated. You then run the risk of losing them too. Show your appreciation for the fact that they are holding things together until you can hire someone to replace the person(s) who left.
4. Promote new responsibilities when there’s no place to be “promoted to.” Many organizations have limited room for advancement. However, it doesn’t have to mean the end of the challenges. Get input from your employees and together decide what new responsibilities they might be interested in pursuing.
5. Promote from within whenever practical. Most people would like the opportunity to be considered for other jobs within the organization. Overlooking your current employees and going outside your company for new hires is a real morale buster.
People naturally want to grow in their work and in their lives. Give your employees the opportunity to do both while having fun. For more tips on increasing employee performance and productivity, please join me at CAI’s 2013 Compensation and Benefits Conference on September 19th and 20th at Raleigh’s McKimmon Center. I’ll be presenting two breakout sessions during the conference, 10 Strategies for Impacting Performance and Productivity, and How to Make Performance Evaluations Stress Free and a Win-Win. Visit www.capital.org/compconf to see additional conference topics and to register for the event.