Step 4 or 4: High Performance Teams

Give employees a career instead of a job

“That’s just not fair!”

Whether it is true or not, this is not something you want employees to say.  Often is beyond a company’s power to control how employees feel.  However, company’s can avoid creating situations that might cause an employee to think or say this.  Companies DO have a great deal of control in which they hire and promote.

In my executive search business we often hear from executives who feel this way.  Either they have been passed over for a promotion or they have seen others passed over multiple times.  Sometimes their company never considered an insider for an open position. Whatever the reason, these people feel like a commodity instead of a valued contributor.  If this kind of perception starts to permeate the workforce the company is doomed – especially now that top talent is harder to find.

There are many reasons why a company would go outside to hire top talent; they don’t have a qualified person internally, they want fresh perspectives, they want competitor intelligence, etc…  Hiring outside is expensive, time intensive, and dangerous (see steps 1 & 2)! Often it can be avoided if companies have a career development culture instead of an open seat culture.

Hiring from your current employees only works if you diligently practice Step 3.  It also means a huge ROI on your labor expense.  When employees believe they have the opportunity to grow and advance they don’t spend time looking elsewhere.  When they enjoy a company development program they have greater confidence to take on more responsibility.  Employees will take their performance more seriously and pursue self-development agendas.  Giving an employee a career is a long-term investment strategy, one that every company must follow.

This is the final installment of the four steps to building a high performance team.  Putting these steps into practice will have tremendous impact on company profitability and competitive edge.  Don’t wait until your competition has all the top talent, beat them to the best people now!

Does Your Company Culture Attract Top Talent (Part 2)?

Today I’m contining the second and final post in my series about Company Culture. In an AMA study it was revealed that 70% of change initiatives fail because your culture rejects them! That one statistic is enough for anyone to realize the importance of this topic. 

If you want to gauge the culture of your organization and your effectiveness as a leader, you should read Break all the Rules by Marcus Buckingham and survey your employees with these questions:

  1. Do I know what is expected of me at work?
  2. Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?
  3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best everyday?
  4. In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?
  5. Does my supervisor or someone at work seem to care about me as a person?
  6. Is there someone at work who encourages my development?
  7. At work, do my opinions seem to count?
  8. Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel my job is important?
  9. Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work?
  10. Do I have a best friend at work?
  11. In the last six months, has someone at work talked to me about my progress?
  12. This last year, have I had the opportunity at work to learn and grow?

Follow the three C’s of hiring…Character – Compatibility – Competence. You need to hire individuals who will align with your culture and core values as a company. When you build a dynamic team, top talent is drawn in by your team members, referrals dramatically increase and you become a preferred employer.   Positive word of mouth advertising in the job market is priceless.

Imagine what you could do with the survey results to improve employee morale and retention? Most employees complain that are not in the loop. In fact, most of them don’t even know how to find the loop! Right now when things are turbulent, your employees don’t want you fixing the motor, they want you steering the ship and they want to know where the ship is headed, and they want their role defined!

If you want to attract top talent, discard your policies and procedures and replace them with expectations. Let your employees know what they can expect from you and be clear about what you expect from them. Give them the ability to make a difference and feel that they play an important role in your organization. 

If you follow some of the suggestions in this program you will retain your superstars, attract top talent to your organization, communicate more effectively and improve company morale and of course improve retention.

Keep Your Employees Happy and You Will be Happy

Retention of key employees is one of the greatest challenges faced by corporate leaders.  This issue has more to do with maintaining and growing profitability than any issue facing businesses today.  There are a few simple ways to make your employees feel important.  It is also crucial that you attempt to keep them happy! A happy employee is an employee who will remain loyal to you even when another opportunity presents itself.  One way to keep a strong solid relationship with your employees is to celebrate anniversaries!  The following are companies who have implemented programs to let their employees know that they are valued.

At the Leo Burnett Company in Chicago, Illinois, every employee receives a gift on Anniversary Day.  Some of the gifts given were jams and jellies, a model train, statues and customized bottles of wine.  In addition, they gave one dollar for every year of the agency’s life.

At Nissan in Smyrna, Tennessee, any employee with 12 months of service qualifies to lease a Nissan car for $160 per month.  This also includes maintenance, tax, license and insurance.

Every Westin Hotel has an Annual Banquet honoring employees with more than five years of service.

Mary Kay Cosmetics employees receive 20 shares of stock on their 5th Anniversary, on their 10th they receive 80 shares and on their 15th they receive 120 shares.

The Walt Disney Company plans service recognition awards, peer recognition programs, attendance awards and milestone banquets for 10, 15 and 20 years of service.

At Hallmark Cards in Kansas City, Missouri, employees can invite any and all of their friends throughout the company to share their 25th Anniversary Cake.  Typically, 200 to 1,000 people show up for each celebration.

Pitney Bowes, headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, has an Anniversary Vacation Policy that gives an employee with 25 years of service an extra month of vacation.  The same benefit is then offered to the employee every 5th year.

The JCPenney store in Laurel, Montana, had a 25th Anniversary Sale to honor Pat Mullaney, who had managed the store for 25 years.

Ryder System’s 50th Anniversary Celebration was celebrated with a cake that was shaped like a truck and covered with yellow icing.

At Raychem Corporation in Menlo Park, California, celebrated their 25th Anniversary, it held a gigantic community party to which it invited all of its employees, their families and special guests.  The maker of high-tech industrial products held a daylong celebration at its 140-acre plant site.  Everyone was served a steak dinner.  There was continuous entertainment for seven hours, featuring headline acts and 15 carnival rides, including a ferris wheel and a merry-go-round.

These examples are of companies who have gone above and beyond to ensure that their employees remain loyal to them.  Of course there are other ways to recognize your employees.  One idea is to simply have a plaque engraved with your employee’s name on it when they reach 5, 10 or 15 years of employment with your company.  Everyone likes to be recognized and appreciated for the work they do.  Implement a program that is right for your Company Culture.

Simple Ways to Achieve Employee Satisfaction

One of the main concerns for HR executives is how to grow and maintain a high performing workforce with tightening resources.  Companies are cautious to add more resources when they often have fewer employees.  Corporations that utilize their employees to their fullest potential, will be the ones who succeed during these challenging economic times.

A nationwide recent poll found that only a mere 9% of Americans describe the relationship between employees and company executives/management as “extremely positive,” and 49% described the relationship as “lukewarm.”  The remaining employees described the relationship as “negative.”  Upon further interviews, only 10% of employees strongly agreed that their companies truly listened and cared about them as individuals.  Furthermore, only 9% completely trusted their employers.  This disconnect is not solely related to salary and benefits.  According to Rick Garlick, Ph.D., Director of Consulting and Strategic Implementation for Maritz Research, “Our research has shown that the extent to which they trusted their leaders to act consistently, were at least twice as important as salary and nearly three times as important as benefits in predicting the state of labor relations.”  This simply states that we are dealing with human beings.  It is crucial that HR executives are encouraging company leaders to key in on and exemplify caring, trust and consistent actions.

One great way to keep employees satisfied is through recognition.  When an employee is singled out for any positive situation, their overall attitude toward their company becomes much more positive.  Attitudes in general are contagious.  It is so important to keep “positive attitudes” growing and flourishing as often as possible.  Another great way to keep employees happy is by including them in the overall company goals.  This enables them to feel included in the “bigger picture.”  They now feel that they are part of the team!  A third way to increase motivation is to have a rewards program.  When employees feel they are paid on results, their work will be their best.  This ties into the recognition concept mentioned earlier.

Basically, employees want to feel cared about, trusted and consistent.  Through recognition, rewards and involving them in company goals are three simple ways to make a positive impact on your team!