Praise is a POWERFUL Motivator for your team

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Studies show that employees perform at a higher level when praised for doing a great job, or going beyond the call of duty.

I don’t want to play closet psychologist, but we all know this to be true. When playing a sport in high school, we wanted to do well so that our coach would praise us in front of our peers, we would get recognition from our teachers, our parents would give us a pat on the back and a heartfelt “I’m proud of you.” Who wouldn’t want to be praised?

We can look to the work done by Abraham Maslow on the Hierarchy of Needs that employees have – one he pointed to was  recognition from superiors/authority on a job well done.

As a high school girls basketball coach over the last decade, I’ve noticed that my teams perform at a much higher level when players are praised for doing things well instead of making mistakes. Just today this point got driven home again:

 

I asked one of my former players who had graduated from my team to a higher level team in our program She had gone from being a rock star on my team to the bottom of the totem pole on the higher level team. I asked her why she had become so quiet, reserved, cautious, and timid when playing on this new team.

Her response:

Coach Barry, my new coach yells at me every time I make a mistake. I’m afraid of making a mistake. He scares me because he gets so angry. All he ever does is criticize what we do. I’ve never heard him tell me in the last year anything positive.

 

boss_beating_fist_on_his_desk_hg_whtDoesn’t that story want to make you cry? What if that was you? What if it was one of your kids? Imagine how your employees feel when all you do is criticize them and seek out every little mistake to call to their attention, humiliate them in front of their peers, and basically rip them a new one by threatening them about their job security.

Do you think maybe their confidence might be down a little? Do you think they’re going to give you their best effort?

If they are good performer, they’ve already got one foot out the door since top talent doesn’t need your job. And when they lose respect for their immediate boss, they can’t wait to leave. They always have great opportunities knocking on their door.

If they are below the top talent level, they just become ROAD Warriors: Retired On Active Duty. You’ll never get an ounce of productivity from them again. They basically shut down.

So, here’s my key question:

What type of formal programs does your company have in place to provide praise as the most important element of a non-monetary reward and recognition system?

If your company is like most other companies, then praise is something that’s basically left up to each individual manager to do as he/she sees fit. We all know that being crowned with that manager title, instantly makes you a great motivator of people.

Okay, if you don’t believe that – why is praise, recognition, and non-monetary rewards systems absent in most companies?

When will you start researching, benchmarking, and implementing praise into your recognition programs to start raising employee motivation?

Have you used our 8-Point Retention Matrix to verify you're doing everything you can do to keep your best people?  If not, click hear to download this self-assessment tool for checking your retention capability score.

Barry Deutsch

Let’s NOT train our staff so they’ll get picked off for better jobs

Are providing enough training and development to keep your employees engaged?

 

I was conducting our Speaker Program on retention titled “You’re the Person I WANT to Keep” and we were at the section on discussing how training and development is a powerful element of employee satisfaction and engagement.

One of the CEOs in the room blurts out “Why should we train our people – we’re just preparing them to be stolen by our competitors”

I was so stunned at this remark, I was for once at a loss for words. Then, an even bigger shocker took place: Some of the other CEOs in the room actually started nodding their heads in agreement.

What have to come to where we are so afraid of our employees leaving, that we're willing to lock them in the basement, put our thumb down on top of them, and crush their future capability?

Is this perspective dysfunctional or what?

NOT training your employees is a sure way to lose them. NOT providing opportunities for learning, development, and personal growth is one of the major reasons 50% of your workforce is logging onto job boards trying to see if the grass is greener somewhere else.

Training the heck out of your workforce is one of the best ways to “recruiter-proof” your company. I know you’ll lose a few people over time to competitors; however, you’ll keep a far larger group.

Perhaps, most importantly, the value training brings extends far beyond just keeping people. Your workforce becomes more skilled, knowledgeable, and capable than all your competitors. Productivity goes up. I can’t begin to quantify the value of a well-trained workforce.

What’s your training investment? How much of every revenue dollar goes to training? Does every employee have a personal development plan for formal training, e-courses, webinars, projects, on-the-job skill training?

When you are planning on making training one of the core elements of your culture?

Barry Deutsch

Using Non-Monetary Rewards to Retain Top Talent Part 2

Part One listed four of seven things companies can do to retain their top talent without spending a lot or giving increases in compensation.

The first four from Part One are:

1) Verbal Praise

2) Achievement Awards

3) Learning and Development

4) Fun and Recreation Events

Each of these can be done at the department or company level.  Each demonstrates a culture that rewards people for outstanding effort, provides a positive culture, and a culture that signals respect for the employee.

The last three are:

5) Company Wide Attention This is a step up from department rewards and recognition. This is at the company level. It is great to be honored or recognized by one's boss, however, when it is by the CEO or at a company level it is a completely different experience. Examples include, recognition in the company newsletter or on its Website, the up front parking space, a picture on the Wall of Fame, recognition at the annual staff meeting, a medal of distinction, any seemingly small thing for exceptional performance, for performing beyond the call of duty or an event that demonstrates extra effort.

It is often these small things that have the biggest and lasting impact.

6) Impactful and Meaningful Work This is one of the biggest reasons top talent contact executive recruiters. Top talent must be constantly challenged. They want to know what is expected of them. When clear direction is consistently lacking, they become frustrated and disengage. However, when top talent have a target to hit they will not only engage but strive to hit the bull's eye.

Giving your best people additional  challenges doesn't mean you have to constantly be expanding their responsibilities. There is a lot of  ground between saying, “That is your job and that is all there is.” to time-to-time challenging them with a special project, taking something off of your desk and giving it to them, allowing them to serve on an ad hoc project, stretching them with some strategic thinking, or involving them in an inter-department project. We find that all it takes is as little as 5% of top talent's time to be focused on impactful and meaningful work to make a difference.

7) Feedback This seems so obvious but many managers fail to do it. This is not the “good job” feedback discussed earlier. This feedback is at a much higher level. This is feedback that all top talent want and few get. This is what we call, 1-2-1 time. These sessions can be as short as 20 minutes a month. These 1-2-1 sessions focus on their growth, on improvement, build rapport, show genuine interest by the manager, and give time to demonstrate a personal interest in that individual. In our experience, when a manager takes the opportunity to conduct a 1-2-1 on a regular basis, the employee feels a part of the organization. They have the opportunity to be involved in the department, they can give and get feedback, participate, and be heard by their supervisor.

The 1-2-1 can be one of the most powerful experiences for an employee and their supervisor and it can be done in just 20 minutes a month.

Doing one or all of these seven things can dramatically impact your department or organization. In these difficult times any one of these will cement the loyalty of those top performers to you and your company. They will stand by you in difficult times and excel in great times

Join the other 10,000 CEOs, key executives and HR professionals and download a FREE copy of our best-selling book, “You’re NOT The Person I Hired.”  Just CLICK HERE  and under the FREE Hiring Resources section you can download our free eBook.

Retaining your best talent is always the best thing any company can do. Download our FREE  Non-Monetary Rewards and Recognitions Matrix. It will help you retain your best people without additional compensation. CLICK HERE to download under the Free Resources section.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad Remillard

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How Small Companies Can Compete Against Larger Companies For Talent

Q. We are a small growing company. How do we compete for talent with larger companies, since we can't pay as much as they do?

In my search practice I have placed people in small and large companies. The main issue is rarely compensation. In fact, if that is the primary issue then you will never win, as there is always some company willing to pay more, and that goes for large companies too.

First off, should you even be competing against large companies for talent? Their culture, resources, support, systems and budgets often will not align with a small company. That isn't to say never, but often, so you might be searching in the wrong pool for candidates.

Secondly, especially in this economy, money isn’t everything. Candidates today are seeking much more than just compensation. The are seeking stability, work-life balance and a company where they feel they can make an impact. Smaller companies tend to have a lot less bureaucracy, there is hard work but it's a fun place to work, there is a personal touch where everyone knows everyone, it's a growing company with an exciting vision for the future and so much more. It has been my experience that smaller companies don't think about these things when hiring. They go right to compensation, when for many candidates these things have a value or trade off to compensation. Granted, there is a fair compensation for every position and person, but once that level is met other things come into play.

Finally, don't ignore the seasoned workforce. I constantly hear about how age discrimination is happening. Many of these people would be outstanding employees and bring a level of expertise no younger worker could bring and also do it for a very reasonable compensation package. This workforce is underutilized in today's market by many smaller companies.

Join the other 10,000 CEOs, key executives and HR professionals and download a FREE copy of our best-selling book, “You're NOT The Person I Hired.”  Just CLICK HERE  and you can download our free eBook under the FREE Hiring Resources section.

Retaining your best talent is always the best thing any company can do. Download our FREE  Non-Monetary Rewards and Recognitions Matrix. It will help you retain your best people without additional compensation. CLICK HERE to download under the Free Resources section.

I welcome your comments and feedback.

Brad Remillard

 

Do Your Employees Trust You?

Dysfunctional boss who has zero trust with his team

In numerous studies, surveys, and research, employees indicate over and over that trusting their immediate supervisor is one of the most important elements of their job satisfaction.

  • Can you honestly say that your direct reports trust you? Do their direct reports trust them?
  • How do you know?
  • Do you cross your fingers hoping they trust you?
  • Have you conducted any anonymous surveys recently? Hired a coach to ask a few tough questions? Solicited feedback from your staff?

Probably NOT.

Implications of a lack of TRUST

The number one reason employees decide to leave their jobs is due to a lack of opportunity. More on this subject in another blog post. The second most common reason is loss of respect for their immediate supervisor/boss. AND there is no faster way to lose respect than the destruction of trust.

How many of the employees in your company have one foot out the door, are actively searching the job boards, or would leave immediately for an appropriate job at a lateral level just to get away from your company?

If general trends hold true for your company, probably about 50% of your staff are open to a better opportunity – they’re trying to see if the grass is greener somewhere else. Of this 50%, what percentage got to the point of seeking greener pastures because they lost respect for their boss — due to no longer trusting that individual?

6 Components of a Trusting Relationship

Let’s delve a little deeper into some of the specific issues that define the level of trust between and employee and her boss. By the way, if I somehow manage to leave out a key issue that you think is important, jump right in and pose your trust issue as a comment.

Communication: I recently put up a blog post on our Leadership Community Blog regarding how communication can affect trust. The more you communicate, the higher the trust. Communication might include telling your staff the reasons behind your requests and commands, it might include tying business results to their activities, it might include conducting one-to-one feedback and coaching sessions.

Being fair: Nothing will destroy a relationship between a boss and her subordinate faster than NOT BEING FAIR. The typical example of a lack of fairness is when the boss sets different levels of performance standards for various team members. When the boss plays favorites, or frequently lets select team members “off the hook”, the rest of the team resents it and loses trust.

Rational and objective: You’ve got your emotions in check. You’re not a mercurial, table-pounding, wall-smacking screamer. You don’t “fly off the handle”. You don’t throw tantrums. The argument with your 17 year old this morning, or the driver who cut you off and then made an obscene gesture at you – doesn’t affect how you treat your people. You never criticize the person or put people down. You’re good at asking questions to solve problems and guiding/coaching your people to solutions.

Their success is important to you: Your staff respects you. They seek your advice on their career. You demonstrate a interest in their success by having occasional conversations about their career – perhaps once a quarter in your one-to-one sessions. You’re able to remove your “boss” hat and put on your “career coach” hat. You can have an deep and objective conversation about their dreams and expectations.

You “have their back”: Your staff will occasionally run into trouble with customers, vendors, suppliers, peers, and those higher up the food chain – like your boss, the board, or other peers on the executive team. Do you “have their back”? Will you stretch your neck out to protect your people. Can they go about the day doing a good job knowing you’ll always have their back.

If not, do they move through the day like frightened rodents, avoiding trouble and trying to fade into the woodwork? Are the members of your team “risk-takers” willing to do what they believe is in the best interest of the company – or do they cower behind you dumping every issue onto your back to solve?

They learn from you: A prime motivator of top talent is that they want to grow and learn. Do you help them reach their potential by giving them challenging assignments, stretching them through coaching to achieve outstanding results, providing meaningful work that is stimulating, learning-oriented, and impactful? Do you send them to classes, webinars, courses to expand their knowledge and skills? For example, do you sit down with each of your direct reports once or twice a year and develop a detailed learning plan to move their capacity to a new level?

Are you failing your team by not focusing on these six components of developing a trusting relationship? When should you decide to stop the typical insanity that takes place in most companies where trust is assumed since people show up for work everyday.

Just showing up is not indicative of trust.

Do you have a plan for how you’ll build trust with your team over the next year? Do you know what to do? If not, pick one of the ideas listed below and start down the path of building a trusting relationship with each of your direct reports.

How to build a Trusting Relationship

Could your executive or managerial team pass a test with flying colors if their staff was asked to score them on the above 6 components. If the answer is anything short of a resounding YES – then perhaps it’s time to conduct an intervention to improve trust:

  • Bring in a resource to teach how to build trust
  • Turn gaining trust into a process
  • Incorporate trust as an element when you conduct 360 degree feedback or employee satisfaction surveys (of course, this is an integral part of your employee engagement and motivation programs – right?)
  • Do you score “TRUST” when you evaluate your executives and managers annually? If you don’t score it, and it’s not a component of determining bonuses, why should anyone care? Most employees will do what you measure and reward. If trust is not measured and rewarded – they’ll assume it’s not important to you.
  • Send your executives and managers to “charm” school to learn how to develop trust with their subordinates
  • Make your team read a book about building trust and discuss it in your next staff meeting
  • Force career management discussions at least quarterly with documentation as part of the one-to-one process
  • Role model the importance of trust through-out the organization by demonstrating it continually with your direct reports (do you consciously and continuously think about building trust with each of your direct reports)
  • Freely distribute information about company performance so everyone can understand the role they play in your overall success
  • Publish and promote trust as one of the core values of your company (I assume you’ve already gone through this exercise and your values are loudly proclaimed through-out the company – handing on a banner in the lobby, on the back of business cards, posted everywhere)

If you’re not actively building and improving trust through-out your organization RIGHT NOW, be prepared for high percentage of your best performers to walk out the door as the job market turns over the issue of lack of trust – lack of respect.

Barry Deutsch