The Four Tenets of a High Performance Workforce

Why do we need empirical studies to prove things we already know? It seems every year there’s a new study about the efficacy of the workplace. And every year, the results of these studies are the same. “Organizations that employ dedicated and passionate employees make more money than companies that don’t have the same level of employee loyalty.”

Has anyone seen an application for amillion dollar grant for someone to prove that water is wet? Likewise, spending time and money on such a business-related study seems to be a waste of time and money.

Small businesses, especially start-ups, need to have employees of a kindred spirit. They have to be somewhat entrepreneurial as they should be willing to work for their own success. There are people out there who understand that hard and dedicated work will allow them to be successful both from a job and financial standpoint.

How do we get people to work for us at their highest level and retain them in the long run? There are four primary tenets all business owners by should seek out and nurture in their employees.

Trust

Employees must trust top management to make the right decisions for the organization. Likewise, management must trust employees to do what is right for the business and its customers and vendors. Think about it. Corporations all over the country are trying to come up with ways to retain talent. This isn’t rocket science; it’s a matter of trusting management to make the right decisions for the business and trusting co-workers to do their part to make the business grow. Do you know of anyone who wants to work in an environment where they can’t trust the people they work with? Being honest with your employees opens the avenues of communication and builds confidence in each other. It’s a simple concept.

Commitment

People who believe in the product or service they produce will do a better job of providing necessary customer service and support to their co-workers. Commitment is gained through setting clear objectives and expectations. Great companies hire the best people for their organization’s culture. When this happens, business owners can expect the best out of their employees because they’re providing meaningful work and meeting the necessary balance for the personal and professional needs of employees.

Commitment also means not being afraid to confront, and if necessary, remove those individuals who don’t live up to their responsibilities. Don’t be afraid of clearing out those who aren’t committed to the mission. Employees usually fall into one of four categories:

Committed - The more people that are committed to you cause, the better off you will be.

Compliant - Some people just like to come into work, do their thing and go home at the end of the day. This is not a bad thing; as we all need these types of employees. Keep them busy and keep these people working.

Complacent - In today's business world, there’s no room for complacent employees. They don’t like change and want to keep everything status quo.Their motto seems to be, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Whereas, with the speed of change in business, the motto should always be, “How can we change to make things better?”

Complaining - It seems that most people today think it’s their right and responsibility to complain about everything that comes their way. One employee recently complained to me about the type of paper clips and paper towels we use in the office. Complaining in and of itself is not necessarily bad. If the complaint has merit, then it’s a legitimate concern. Another term for complaining is whining and working with whiners isn’t fun. Why not empower the complainer to do something about the things they’re complaining about. Now they’re part of the solution versus pointing out and becoming part of the problem. One other way is to have a “No Whining” rule in your workplace. This means that whiners are summarily ignored. Without reinforcement, whining diminishes.

Enthusiasm

Effective leadership creates enthusiasm and passion by recognizing employees’ accomplishments. Payattention to what’s going on in your workplace and provideacknowledgment. Publicly praising employees and rewarding them for doing well helps maintain their essential enthusiasm. Think of the new employee who comes into the job highly motivated and excited about new possibilities. Think about harnessing that enthusiasm, energy and optimism throughout the employment tenure of those employees. As long as the rest of the workforce is made up of enthusiastic people, it should be a pretty easy task to harness and sustain that initial excitement.

One way to ensure enthusiasm is to celebrate successes often and together as a group — all organizational successes are the result of all of the people who are a part of it. In other words, do not single out a particular group or department for contributing to your success. If the sales department exceeds it goals, it’s because everyone did their part. Celebrate as a group; don’t just give the sales department the kudos that everyone deserves.

Support

Providing the proper tools, equipment and resources is the first step in providing support to your employees. Try hammering a nail with a screwdriver, and you’ll know the meaning of providing the proper tools. It may eventually work, but not without some frustration and possible injury. Not to mention time consumption. Another way of providing support is fostering teamwork throughout the organization. Employees should be looking out for one another and assisting others wherever and whenever they can.Support also means ensuring employees are paid sufficient salaries— in base earnings, bonuses and benefits.

Follow these four simple tenets when managing your workplace and your great people will become even greater. Then all you have to do is sit back, watch and admire what your employees will dofor you.

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