6 ways to make GREAT people LOVE working for you

Mark Williams Action Coach

Does the idea of losing your best people give you sleepless nights? Would you struggle to replace people if they leave? Do you find it difficult to attract and keep great employees? Do you sometimes feel like your employees don’t live up to your expectations?

You probably love your business. You’re likely to be passionate about it and, if you’re like most small business owners, put your heart and soul into its success. Yet finding employees who share that passion, who are willing to put in the extra effort, is hard. And when you do get them, keeping them is even harder. In this article, I’ll explain what YOU can do to build a business that great people LOVE working for and never want to leave.

Performance = Potential – Interference

In Leadership that Gets Results (published in the Harvard Business Review), Daniel Goleman explains that there are 6 key factors that minimise interference and increase employees’ performance. Get these right and you’ll have high-performing, happy teams who love their work. Get it wrong and you’ll never get to see just how good they could have been.

The 6 steps to Maximise Motivation are:

  1. Clarity:

This is the biggest and most important. In order to perform at their best, people need to know where they’re heading, what’s expected, and how everything fits together. It requires clarity of purpose from the top, and then continuous and consistent communication. If you get it right, your people will know the mission and direction of the business, what is required of them, and the role they play in achieving overall success.

It’s easy to say, but can be tricky to get right. A 2020 study by Gallup showed that 35% of U.K. employees strongly agree that their employer has communicated a clear plan of action in response to the coronavirus, compared with 50% of U.S. employees. If your team does not do what you expect, consider how well you have communicated with them. It might be that a little more clarity would make them more effective, more efficient, and make leadership a lot less frustrating.

  1. Standards:

If you’re looking for high performing employees (and who isn’t!?), it’s essential to set standards. To get the most from staff, they need to understand the expected levels of performance and ‘what good looks like’.

How well do you set and communicate standards? Do people know what they need to achieve? Are there goals which are both stretching and achievable? Does underperformance get addressed, or is it allowed to continue?

Companies with high standards have clear goals, aligned with the overall vision, and leaders monitor progress against them. High achievers thrive on hitting goals, so make sure you set some so they’re motivated to keep hitting them.

  1. Responsibility:

Do you find that you’re forever getting interrupted by staff asking you to review work or make decisions? It can be frustrating for leaders to do this, but it’s just as limiting for employees. High performers like to be given responsibility and run with things, so check whether you’ve given clear delegated authority.

Let your staff know what decisions they are authorised to take, what they need to refer to others for, and help them take full ownership of their own work. Good people will actively seek extra responsibility and will want the chance to take ownership for the success of their work. If they need to run everything past the boss, they are unlikely to feel full ownership. And if the boss makes all the decisions, guess who takes the blame when things don’t go right!?

Look for people who like responsibility, but challenge yourself too. Are you really delegating what you could be or does your inner control-freak get the better of you?

  1. Rewards and Recognition:

When you mention rewards, thoughts often turn to money, and yes, people need to feel they’re getting fair pay for the work they do. But actually money is only one form of reward. In fact, the most admired companies pay 5% less than their competitors. Why? Because people want to work for them for more than pay. They want the training, the exciting work, the exposure to brilliant colleagues and the culture as well as the money and the right name on their CV.

Committed and driven employees like to know how they’re doing. They want timely and meaningful feedback from a credible source. They want to know whether they’re meeting expectations and where they need to improve. And they want to work in a meritocracy, where the best performers get more praise, reward and recognition than those who don’t perform at the same level.

To get this right, make sure you’re praising and recognising more than you’re criticising. Find people doing something right and make a point of praising them. Make celebrating achievements a habit and give more of the credit to those who deserve it most, then watch as people strive to achieve ever more!

  1. Flexibility:

Richard Branson is credited with saying “Red tape will often get in your way. It’s one of the reasons I often carry scissors.” One of the big causes of underperformance in the workplace is employees feeling like they spend too much time and effort battling against bureaucracy. Whether that’s systems that need automating, ineffective processes that inhibit performance or unnecessary rules and regulations that slow things down, bureaucracy kills productivity.

That’s not to say rules, systems and processes are not important. They are. But they should be focused on increasing productivity, not decreasing it. Hold regular discussions to find ways of working more efficiently. Ask the team what they need to work at their best and you’ll quickly foster a culture where people feel involved, and focus on finding solutions rather than complaining about problems.

  1. Group commitment:

Get the 5 factors above right, and it’s likely you’ll have a committed team, pulling in the same direction and united around a common goal. They’ll achieve great results and be understandably proud of their work and the company they work for. And they’ll go t

he extra mile for you, their colleagues and their customers.

Not only will talented people want to work in that environment, they’ll be way less likely to leave. In fact, your company will become a magnet for ambitious, talented people who want to do great things.

Why the hell would anyone want to work for you?

It’s easy to bemoan the lack of talent and loyalty in the marketplace. If you take the “You just can’t get the staff these days” attitude, frankly you are unlikely to find them. Start a little closer to home. Start with this question: “Why the hell would anyone want to work for you?”. If you can’t clearly articulate this, I’ve got good news and bad news:

The bad news: great people will probably go and work somewhere else. And your best people might too.

The good news: you’ve now got a framework to build a culture where you get great performance from your people and they love working for you.

It’s not easy, but it is doable. You just need to be deliberate, determined and disciplined.

To find out more about how I may be able to help your Norfolk business thrive then please don’t hesitate to get in touch on 01603 559590 or email markwilliams@actioncoach.com – you can also get in touch through my contact form here. If you’d like to know a little more about my experience, expertise and accolades then click here.