Great employees are made up of two foundational elements: enthusiasm and teachability.
The former denotes a passionate individual, while the latter is one who wants to develop and progress, who is hungry to learn, and who evidences the trait of humility.
If you can find an individual with these two traits as well as highly developed skills, then you’re on to a winner. And, even if the skill levels are less than required, their rise to skill mastery will be much faster if they already have these two foundational traits.
The following are my key tips to attracting, creating, and keeping exceptional employees.
1. Remember, like attracts like
If you have employees who absolutely love their place of work, odds are they will boast about it to their friends. In turn, you will have people calling to work with you.
2. Identify the traits of enthusiasm and teachability when recruiting
If someone has the technical abilities but lacks the above key traits, there’s a good chance you’ll be helping them exit sooner rather than later. Much like trying to speed up a slow horse, trying to inject enthusiasm into a half-hearted, passionless person is near impossible.
3. Provide clarity on your expectations of the team member
Be clear in the position description with roles, responsibilities and performance measures. If you can, involve the team member in the process of establishing performance measures to ensure a higher level of personal ownership.
4. Provide ongoing feedback
When you regularly give feedback to your employees, they can gauge how they are progressing in their role.
Doing this in a formal performance review annually isn’t enough. Try to give good feedback at least monthly, so your employees can know the areas they’re doing well in, and those where they can be doing better.
From many discussions that I’ve had with good employees and good managers over the years, providing feedback monthly is, almost without exception, desired.
5. Create a relational and fun culture, not just a do your job, head-down tail-up workplace.
Provide an enjoyable environment where people can be themselves while achieving highly. This starts from the top down.
6. Shift the culture to one where the focus is on results, not time
If the focus is on getting the job done properly with care, and not just as quickly as possible, pressure is relieved and employees can work to their full ability and with their full attention on their tasks.
7. Work both on yourself and your management team
Make it your goal to be exceptional people developers and communicators – not just operational doers.
8. Know that employees want to feel the love – not the rod of correction
Be sure to give praise where it’s due. Your employees want to know that their contributions are highly valued.
9. Understand the purpose and vision for your organisation
And frequently communicate this to your staff. Demonstrate how their daily work contributes to the bigger picture. Create advancement tracks for them to progressively advance in their skills and passions toward this greater vision.
10. Raise the performance bar high
Communicate that you will work with your team for the achievement of such and will hold them accountable for the results.
11. View your people and communicate with them as human beings, not workers
Human beings live a whole life that work is merely part of. Workers, on the other hand, are seen as one dimensional: good for only one thing – doing the job. Your best people will stay around longer if they are seen and treated as human beings.
12. Ensure that people are paid wherever possible above award wages and rewarded
Reward commensurately (not necessarily financially) for performance achievement.
13. Help toxic employees to either become healthy or exit the organisation
These infected employees create high attrition of healthy team members. Good people want to work in a positive environment and will depart when management does not address this toxicity.
Below is a pictorial representation of some of what has been discussed above.
If you get the drivers right and have high managerial relational and communication skills, you’ll get positive outcomes.
Enhancing longevity and productivity
Understanding what our people need (their drivers) is one thing. If we then seek to integrate these drivers into the workplace culture through high relational and communicative skills, you’ll get a more highly engaged and longer-term workforce.
Many organisations fail at this point. They might have great benefits, but if they operate in a purely non-relational manner with poor communicative skills, the engagement drops along with the resultant positive outcomes.
Creating long-term employees and a highly engaged workforce doesn’t just happen. It takes planning, implementation and incremental integration into the cultural fabric of the organisation.
Whatever situation you are currently in, whether experiencing high employee attrition or a highly satisfied workforce, capture a fresh vision of what your organisation could be.
Then, make plans for its fulfilment and start moving forward. Not only will your employees and customers thank you for it, but you are more likely to experience higher degrees of self-satisfaction and profitability in the process.