The booklet, Happy Employees Equal Productivity & Profits: 101 Winning Tips, is now available on Kindle for $3.99.
Why do some companies consistently enjoy resounding profits, high employee productivity, low turnover and a workforce that is willing to go the extra mile, regardless of the economic cycle–while others struggle in times of plenty? The secret is astonishingly simple:
Successful companies of all sizes actively and passionately show members
of their workforce that the company truly appreciates and values their efforts.
An appreciated employee is a happy employee. And happy employees translate into your making more money.
The tips in this booklet can be implemented immediately at little or no cost, to increase your company’s productivity and profits.
Tips are divided into 11 topics:
- Why Appreciate?
- Set the Tone
- The Workplace
- Catch ‘Em in the Act
- Problem Solving
- Employee Opinions
- Engage Employees
- Reward & Recognition
- Appreciate Boomers
- Appreciate GenXers
- Appreciate Millenials
Give clear direction. It’s up to you to make sure the employee understands a task, not up to them to mind-read. Value employees by making it easy for them to succeed.
Respect all your employees. Put-downs and sarcasm hurt people. Teasing usually pleases the teaser far more than the teasee. Treat everyone with courtesy.
Be true to your word. Whatever you promise, big or small, deliver it. If you can’t deliver, proactively seek an equally attractive alternative and explain the situation honestly. The more you deliver on your promises, the more your employees will deliver for you.
Support employee personal needs as your budget permits, from the simple – stamps & greeting cards available for sale at the receptionist’s desk, the local laundry offers pick-up & delivery service, to the complex — onsite child care, a gym, an ATM.
Praise specifically. “The way you summarized the Smith meeting in your report was very concise, very helpful. Thanks.” “Fixing the timing mechanism so quickly got us back on track for that big order. Thank you.” Specific praise is more meaningful than general.
Fix the problem, not the blame. The employee knows he/she has messed up. More lambasting only demoralizes your employee further. Move on to problem solving as quickly as possible.
Break solutions down into small manageable steps. Too large a goal is a set up for failure. People are motivated by success. Many small goals achieved lead to a successful final outcome.
Let your suggestion box live up to its name. The more seriously you consider an employee’s suggestion and let it be known who’s idea it is, how great it is, and how you’re using all or part of it, the more beneficial those suggestions will be.
Show employees where they fit in the bigger picture. Every job is important. Make sure each employee knows exactly the value of his/her contribution.
Reward often. Don’t wait for major accomplishments to give rewards. Reward frequently with a “congrats!” email or card, a humorous “gold star,” a free lunch or designer coffee.
Overall, GenXers are not fond of authority. They prefer to march to their own drummer, which makes many a manager nervous and turn into a micro-managing freak: a GenXer’s worst nightmare.
Instead of trying to corral your GenXers onto the anointed path, keep them on target by giving them ownership of their projects and tasks, with clearly delineated goals and dates-due. Step back, and let them at it!
A 2011 survey from the Center for Talent Innovation (CTI) found that nearly three-quarters of GenXers (70%) prefer to work independently, and that the great majority of them value having control over their work, not only in terms of how they approach the work itself, but also includes their preference for flexible work hours and location (home/office).
GenXers are highly entrepreneurial. You can put those skills to work even within the framework of your department or company. All it takes is a willingness to let your GenXers be in charge of how they get the work done (within agreed-upon boundaries, of course), and acknowledge their brilliance in getting the work done.
Southwest Airlines (SWA) recently budgeted an estimated $23 million for new uniforms for its nearly 42,000 employees, but instead of hiring a clothing company to come up with the new design, Southwest went to the source–its employees—to help with the creative process. That sends an unmistakable message to employees that their opinions matter, that what the employees want is important to the company.
Forty-three employees made up the design committee (selected from about 500 applicants). They factored in weather, functionality, comfort and safety. Their designs were met with overwhelmingly positive employee approval. Following testing and adjustments, the new uniforms for flight attendants, gate agents and ramp workers will be ready in 2017.
Southwest likes to say that it values its employees. In this case, it has again shown that it puts its money where its mouth is. That makes all the difference between engaged and disengaged employees. Employer-employee relationships like these set companies apart from their competition.
Southwest Airlines is consistently listed by Glassdoor as one of the best places to work. That should come as no surprise. Most businesses still stubbornly think that squeezing everything they can from their employees will improve profits. That may work in the short term—until employees flee in droves–but it’s not a successful long-term strategy.
Southwest Airlines is also rated as the fourth top performing large carrier in the world, according to Aviation Week. Southwest’s success and profitability is a logical consequence, to a large degree, of how they value their employees. When employees have a stake in a company, studies consistently show that profits follow.
Companies do not need to spend large amounts of money to show employees that they truly matter and are appreciated. Any such effort in that direction will pay off for the employer with greater employee morale and productivity, which naturally lead to greater profits.
For more on the story of how the Southwest Airlines’ uniforms were designed, go to http://airwaysnews.com/blog/2015/10/12/new-uniforms-on-the-horizon-for-southwest-airlines/
A Chicago McDonald’s cashier recently received praise from his boss when the cashier helped a handicapped elderly man with his meal. Instead of seeing the employee as just a cog in a wheel during the busy dinner rush, the boss showed appreciation to a worker who stepped outside his job description to do what was right.
A photo of the worker, Kenny, showing him cutting up the disabled man’s food, was posted on a Facebook page and quickly went viral. Social media has the power to praise a company’s actions or vilify them in a matter of moments. The Facebook post has been shared more than 400,000 times–to the advantage of both the employee who received recognition for his actions, and McDonald’s itself.
On the opposite end of the feel-good spectrum is the fallout when Turning Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli tried to justify a 4,000 percent increase in price for Daraprim, a drug used by some AIDS and cancer patients. The social media outrage was immediate and he was forced to retreat. Companies that become so enamored with profits lose their humanity. They don’t care who they hurt—employee or customer. Eventually, this mindset hurts their bottom line.
According to the photographer who posted the McDonald’s photo, the man had asked Kenny, who was working the cash register, for help during a busy time of the day. Kenny left his post, washed his hands, put on gloves and went about helping the man. A boss, only looking at sales numbers, would have berated him for leaving his station. Kenny’s boss saw the bigger picture.
Companies that recognize the value of their employees have a leg up on their competition. A corporate culture that only has an eye on the bottom line will not be as successful as those companies that take into account the human factor in business. Studies show repeatedly that companies with a culture of praise and sincere appreciation perform better than those that don’t.
It’s common to think of job descriptions as a list of tasks or duties your employee must fulfill. Certainly, a job description has that function. However a job description has another, very important function, which too often is forgotten.
As Kristy Smith of Lead Change Group reminds us: “I would not accept a job from a company who didn’t clearly define job roles and expectations and I certainly would not lead a team without offering them. Why? Because I need to know what winning looks like. . . Without clarity and without painting the picture of what winning looks like, you can never truly measure performance. . . determining the who what why when how gets lost in the fog. When victories get lost in the fog and the “job well done” goes unrecognized, expect morale to drop.”
Don’t just hand out job descriptions, new or revamped, to employees and leave it at that. Instead, clarify roles and expectations. Specify in unmistakable terms what success looks like, and what are the rewards attached. Follow through by applauding all the victories along the way, small and large, and pointing out how those victories resulted from the accomplishment of various tasks and duties.
Morale will soar!