Read a certain way, getting the most from your employees can seem a little sinister. One only has to consider the modern startup culture of working 25 hrs a day with no breaks, no vacations, and no time for extras such as sleep and family. Work your employees to death or tears. Excoriate them for their weakness and ineptitude. Then discard them once you have rung out every drop of life energy and usefulness from them.
That’s certainly one way to look at it.
Startup culture as described above is unhealthy, impractical, and ultimately self-defeating. Even if you refused to regard the people who work for you as humans, you are still not getting the most from them by using them up in that way. You are barely scratching the surface of their potential. You have to manage human effort like the valuable resource it is. Here is how to maximize it and get the best from your employees:
You can’t just call them into the office, close the door, and give them an attaboy, and a pat on the head. You have to reward their good work as publicly as you expect them to do the work. You put them in open cubicles where they cannot goof off without everyone seeing. You are not above a little public shaming when you walk by and see them updating Facebook. So when they land the big deal with that important client, that should be just as public.
Employee recognition programs have to include symbols of accomplishment that are visible to everyone. Not every recognition requires the Avant Blue Crystal trophy. But positive deeds require positive reinforcement. And public deeds require public reinforcement.
Recognition is not just about individual achievement. It also includes appreciation for the whole team. That means providing coffee and pastries in the morning just as your way of saying Thank You to everyone for showing up bright and early. Little acts of appreciation go a long way.
One of the best ways to get the best effort from your employees is to provide them with real responsibility. We tend to try harder to rise to the occasion when the occasion is important enough. No one gives 100% all the time. We offer variable percentages of effort as dictated by the occasion.
Small jobs get small efforts. No one wants to expend all of their energy on things that don’t matter. It is important to feel important. So even when a worker is on a project that is not particularly significant, you need to frame it in a way that makes it feel important. After a while, people start to realize when they are being passed over for the important jobs. It is up to you to make sure that everyone has a taste of the important work from time to time.
Align Expectations With Your Bottom Line
Too many companies lose sight of the big picture when setting employee expectations. You need to keep in mind that your goal is to create a profitable long-term company. This means repeat customers, which one of the reasons that companies like Cars Brisbane reward employees for delivering exceptional customer service.
If you earn a poor reputation for customer quality or have a lot of customers return their purchases, then you won’t be in business long, even if your sales staff do very well in the short-run.
Feed Their Passion
People tend to do their best work when they are passionate about what they are doing. When you can give your employees work that sparks passion in them, you will get their best in return. Passion is not just a matter of what is important. It is a matter of what makes a person tick. Everyone knows how important sanitation work is. It might be the most important work of any society. But few are passionate about it.
Inversely, there are a lot of things we are passionate about that no one else would find particularly important. It doesn’t even feel like work when we are doing those things that spark our passion. If you take the time to figure out what fires the passion of the people who work for you, 100% of their effort will be yours to unlock.
Getting the best from your employees is not about finding leverage, tightening the screws, applying shame, guilt, threat, or fear. Those things always produce the opposite effect in the long run. Get the best from your employees by acts of recognition, imparting real responsibility. And sparking their passion. Their best work is yet to come.