Train people well enough so they can leave…

…Treat them well enough that they don’t want to. Richard Branson

I love this quote! This is the way every company should be.

Most people actually like or sometimes even LOVE their jobs. It is management that typically muddies the waters.

I know there are some pretty crappy employees out there but then that begs the questions…are they crappy employees because that is their personality or were they somehow pushed to that point.

Every child wants to do well I believe. So is it poor parenting, did the school system let them down or maybe a boss along the way jaded them.

I am not one to allow excuses. It really doesn’t matter how we were treated. We can always rise above as human beings but all of our experiences do shape the people we are and the attitude we have.

So what if companies actually cared about us as a person, and not just a money maker? Do you think it would make people better employees?

Absolutely it would!

Everyone likes to be paid fairly and get regular raises so they can keep up with cost of living increases but recognition of a job well done goes much farther with employees than money.

Respect is huge as well. None of us enjoy being spoken down to or micro managed when we do our jobs well. Companies can build trust by making their employees feel respected & valued. Many managers give fear driven motivation which is harmful and won’t last in the long run. This fear based management style makes employees put in more hours than they are paid for in hopes of not being fired. What typically ends up happening is the employee gets burned out and resentful. Another idea the company has is to do some “team building” but if it is not done in the interest of the employee and lacks a positive outcome then it just becomes one more thing the employee has to do from their own precious time. Genuinely making sure the employee is happy costs nothing if companies would only put them first.

Companies need to provide consistent feedback. Performance feedback needs to be treated as a training opportunity and not a punishment.

Many companies see the high unemployment rates as a way of having the upper hand. There are so many people looking for jobs that people need to be “just happy they have a job”. Having a job should be a right and not a privilege. If companies hire people because of their talents and then tap into those talents it’s a win win situation. The company gets an extremely productive employee and the employee feels valued & happy to be doing a job they love. Provide career growth to those who excel and want to advance.

I think employee benefits and rewards programs should be more tailored. I remember at one company I received hockey tickets. Although they were expensive, I don’t appreciate hockey in the least. This was not of value to me. It doesn’t take much for the department manager to know that the single Mum would love a grocery gift card or the employee with aging parents would appreciate a flex day or a young newly married couple would use a restaurant card for a night out.

Giving clear goals is so important. We are all given the obligatory description of our job but how about some concrete expectations? That leaves no guess work. Making goals challenging gives people a sense of purpose. They are not just punching a clock and waiting for a paycheck.

Open communication without the worry of being reprimanded is a huge plus. Knowing you can politely and respectfully express a concern and know you won’t be criticized or fired.

Autonomy is a BIG one in my mind. This is one thing that irritates me the most. You walk in to a store to make a return and the store has to call 8 different managers for their authorization (exaggeration, I know, but it feels like that). Give your people generous guidelines and if they don’t hit the mark then have a respectful discussion about how they would handle it next time. Let them know that their ideas, discretion and personal interaction means something.

If a company can give flexible work options that’s a huge plus! Let the single Mum come in at 8 am instead of 7 am because that’s when her day home opens. If one of your employees has a crazy long commute and it is worse during rush hour. Can they start after rush hour? As long as the work gets done does it really matter when they show up? I know retail businesses don’t have as much leeway but what about talking to your employees about what works best for them and then trying to adjust accordingly?

So……now I feel like I need to address the employee.

Once you get that job do your best! You signed up for a job, you read the job description, you have an obligation to carry through. If your employer doesn’t meet the written job explanations then leave.

Be the best employee ever but don’t let someone take advantage of you…

…also don’t let your ego take control of you.

Gayle Impey

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