You see it everywhere, on plumbing trucks, heating and cooling vans, in shop windows, and posted to every social media platform under the sun…it’s the phrase, “We’re Hiring!” Through April of 2019 the national unemployment rate was at 3.6%, which indicates individuals looking for work are finding work (source: ncsl.org). That’s great news, right? Not for most business owners I speak with…they’re having trouble finding good people to hire. They dangle their help wanted signs out there like fishing hooks waiting to see who bites. The challenge with this approach is, while you might catch that prized employee, you also might land someone you didn’t want, and be afraid to throw them back for fear you won’t find anyone else.
Do you ever get tired of correcting your team (or spouse or kids)? Well, if you’ve ever read the book “Whale Done”, you know that trainers figured out early on that you can’t “Correct” a killer whale, but you can “Re-Direct” it instead to accomplish the same thing! While your team members are certainly not the same as a pod of killer whales (I hope), they probably prefer the same approach to helping them choose better actions when they need help doing so. So what does Re-Direction look like in the workplace?
In my coaching sessions so far this week, the topic of Setting Expectations has come up several times. It usually starts with, “So-and-so didn’t do what I expected again.” My first question is almost always, “Are you sure he/she knew what you expected?” The typical answer is “I think so…I told him/her a couple times.” Does this pattern sound or look familiar to you? Are you getting tired of this conversation yet?
If you’ve tried to hire anybody in the last 12 months, then you have most likely experienced what most business owners and recruiters have found – there isn’t anyone! Well, let’s clarify that a little bit, in that there are people still unemployed, it’s just that most of them probably are not going to be a good fit for your business. If you want a good employee at this point, you will have to steal them from someone else. Oh, and while you are looking to steal someone away from someone else, guess who else is being heavily recruited … your best employees!
Teaching people how to be accountable will take some time, but it is always worth it because they will improve for you on a steady basis long before they get to owning their accountability. The steps are fairly simple and straight-forward, just like most fundamentals of business. The key is to decide whether you want to be a great task master or a great leader.
I think we can all agree that employees who are Highly Engaged in our business and their role in our business are highly desirable. However, how can we know how many (if any) of our team members are Highly Engaged? Well, a recent Gallup poll (2017) found that only 13% of employees world-wide are Highly Engaged and over twice that many, 27%, are Highly Disengaged. The remainder, the Disengaged, are simply along for the ride.
So what do “Highly Engaged” employees look like? Well, first of all, they are emotionally connected to your business. They buy into your Vision, Mission and Culture if you have one, and if you don’t have those your number of Highly Engaged Employees goes to zero quite fast. Highly Engaged employees are also collaborative and innovative. Does your work environment allow, encourage and foster that way of working? Or do strict rules and processes and outdated management styles stifle, or even worse, punish these characteristics?
Highly Engaged employees do the bulk of the productive (profitable) work in a consistent and sustainable way for you and pull all the dead weight (the Disengaged) along for the ride. The Highly Disengaged are your business’s anchors, holding everyone else back and costing you money every hour they work for you.
Further analysis of the data by Gallup calculates that the loss of productivity from Disengaged and Highly Disengaged employees is 34% of their salary! How long can you afford to lose 34% of the salaries of 87% of your team? If you are like most businesses, that model is unsustainable. These losses are both lost productivity from employees only going through the motions, and the costs of replacing the Highly Engaged employees who leave because they can’t stand it anymore. So what can you do to help your team become more engaged in your business? Well, there are four key areas to look at and improve to create an environment that encourages higher levels of engagement.
The first is Purpose – make sure every team member knows, understands, and lives the Vision, Mission, and Core Values/Culture of your company. Make sure they understand their role and your expectations of them. Second is creating a Culture of Excellence, rather than the typical culture of “Do Just Enough”. The third is creating a supportive culture, where leaders and peers alike have each other’s back. The fourth and last key is to create a culture that looks forward, challenges people to grow, to innovate, to continually improve. This creates lasting confidence in their ability to continue to thrive as part of your team.
To sum it all up, it takes an Engaged Workforce to Grow your Business. What are you doing to create one? For a Free Team Engagement Survey, go to Engage and Grow to request your confidential assessment.
Author: Mark McNulty, Louisville Business Coach