I was recently the keynote speaker at the Fenestration Association of BC 2015 Western Conference. There, many small engineering firms and manufacturing companies met to discuss the issues facing the window, door and glazing industry. After speaking with several attendees, I noticed that they face the same issues as do many of my clients: finding good employees and keeping them.
When I listen to my own clients describing this critical challenge, I often ask them two questions:
- What do you want from your employees?
- What do you think your employees want from you?
The answer to the first question usually goes something like, “I want my employees to take ownership for their work, instead of just doing the minimum.”, or, “I’d just be happy if they showed up on time.”
When I ask them what they think their employees want from them, my clients are usually less definitive. Many of them say, “Who knows what they want?”, or, “All they seem to want is a paycheck.”
Is it possible that the answers to all four questions (how to attract good employees; how to keep them; what do employers want from their employees; and what do employees want from their employer) are linked, and that they could have something in common?
I believe that’s the case, and that the answer revolves around the principles of motivation. Employers want motivated employees, and people really do want to be inspired. What’s more, they wish their boss could be the one to inspire them.
Goodies or Go
I’ve heard managers say that they have asked their employees what they want (either in person or in a survey), and that all their employees say they want is more money or benefits. Managers often interpret this as the manifestation of the “entitlement mentality”, a label often used to describe the millennial generation. Society in general may be suffering more today from the entitlement mentality than in the past, but perhaps there’s more to it than simply thinking that your employees have a poor work ethic, or that they are radically different than you.
Almost everyone wants to be inspired and passionate about something. But when people don’t believe that they can have an inspiring boss, they typically resort to asking for more money or benefits, or else they simply quit. So, if you feel like you have a bunch of demanding employees or if you have a retention problem, you may just need to find more effective ways to motivate them.
Motivated Employees are More Productive
The link between employee productivity and motivation may be obvious, but have you ever wondered if it can be measured? The Gallup organization has, and they discovered how to measure it. Here’s what they found. Companies with motivated employees have:
- 48 per cent fewer safety incidents
- 37 per cent less absenteeism
- 65 per cent less turnover
- 28 per cent less internal theft
- 41 per cent fewer quality defects
- and are 22 per cent more profitable
Does this sound like the great results you would like to see in your business? If so, then you need to become deeply interested in what employees really want, and how to give it to them.
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