Last month I discussed clearly
defined structure. However, it does no good if you never follow
up to ensure that those expectations are met.
Always be fair. If your employees
are going to have bonus plans, give them the bonus plans and clearly
inform them how they are going to be measured. Do this as agreed,
whether it is monthly, quarterly or annually.
Being prompt with incentives
is important. Many good employees have moved on to other opportunities
because their management seemed unable to make decisions regarding
incentives (either defining them, or later, paying them).
You don’t want to beat
them out of incentives by implementing standards that are too
high. Don’t design something you know they can’t make
so you won’t have to pay the bonuses. That kind of dishonesty
only serves to erode morale. You’ll achieve the opposite
of what you want to achieve.
You might define an incentive
like this: “If you deliver these stats by the end of this
period, we’re willing to pay you a bonus of such and such
an amount on this date.” Clearly and objectively defined,
it becomes a motivator that’s reachable. That’s the
kind of structure that will get you the results you desire most.
Achieving significant success
in business requires that you build loyalty among your employees.
You build loyalty in part by being fair and in part by setting
goals that are reachable and bring reward when achieved.
To improve the quality of relationships
at the point of contact, we establish an employee index that looks
at the employee’s level of satisfaction.
You can do this by mailing bi-annual
surveys to your employees wherein you ask questions which are
geared toward understanding their level of satisfaction in their
work. Try to design a method that objectively scores the survey
so that you can measure improvement. If it’s too subjective,
you set yourself up for distrust or favoritism. You might also
consider doing this through open round-table meetings with your
Ask questions like the following:
Are you allowed to do your job?
Are you happy working here?
Are the goals we set realistic?
Would you like more challenge?
The list of questions can go
on and on. You can learn a great deal about your company by doing
this. You will also have a better relationship with your employees
because they’ll feel they’re being heard - that is,
if you respond to their answers in a favorable light. There’s
another benefit here that should not be overlooked. You will discover
ways to ensure that your employees are happier. When they are,
they’ll spread their happiness to both your vendors and
your customers at the point of contact! More people will believe
in you than ever before. You’ll achieve more.
No one is the perfect leader.
You can’t please everyone who works for you all the time.
I’m not suggesting that you patronize your employees. Neither
can you constantly motivate those who work for you. You can’t
even appreciate everyone who works for you all the time! By implementing
a program, however, such as the one suggested here, you can actually
reach all of your employees, even in a very large firm.
You may be tempted to prepare
your own employee survey, but before you do, buy a copy of the
best selling book First, Break All The Rules. The authors analyzed
over 80,000 employee interviews. Their results provide great insight
into what questions in a survey really get meaningful answers.
Their expansive study produced a survey you can use. Take the
survey and score the results objectively. Mail it to your employees’
homes and don’t require their signatures. You can track
improvement in the scores by repeating the survey every six months
Give your employees a voice and
you’ll grow their happiness, which in turn will spread to
both your customers and your vendors. But don’t forget -
you must show your employees that you are hearing their answers
to your questions.