By Jay Forte
Sometimes it feels like you are in a tug-of-war with your employees – always tugging at them to do just a bit more, think a little more, create a little more or be a little more focused on a customer. You can see it, but they can’t, or don’t, or won’t.
Let’s look at why this is happening.
- There is a lack of alignment. How excited would you be to do more in your job if it doesn’t align to your strengths and interests? We choose our level of effort in our work, and much of this comes from how we feel about our work. The more confident and capable we are, the more interested we become. Hiring and developing employees into roles that align to their abilities, passions and interests encourages their productivity, contribution and performance. If employees are low on energy or off in their performance, where in the organization would they be a great or better fit? What needs to be in their days to help them feel capable and competent – and excited to do and be more?
- There is a lack of inclusion. How many of your employees do just what the job says, likely because you rarely ask them what they think, suggest and propose? One of the holdovers from our industrial age is the management mindset that managers tell and employees implement. Today’s thinking workplace needs the employee to be actively involved, included and thinking because they are the eyes and the ears of the business. They interact more significantly with customers and therefore have greater information and ideas about how to answer the question, “What could make us better?” To share this information, at least initially, employees need to be asked and invited to contribute – to be included. Regularly ask employees for their thoughts and ideas from every part of the organization. As they are invited to share, they see that doing and being more is encouraged, applauded and even rewarded.
- There is a lack of development. The workplace keeps changing which constantly requires new skills. For employees to do more, they need to have the best skills. This requires regular and recurring feedback and development. Again, how competent and confident would you feel if you don’t have the opportunity to continue to learn, grow and have the skills to contribute? Make education, learning and development a regular part of every employee’s workday or workweek. Empower employees to constantly use their new skills and assess the impact.
Most employees actually want to do and be more in their roles. They, however, are stopped by outdated and ineffective management or cultural practices.
Stop and notice what you do that disengages your employees. Gather the information you need to shift to behaviors that are more effective and productive. Alignment, inclusion and development are key to raising your employees’ productivity.
And remember: an added benefit of an employee who wants to do more is that they may think twice before looking for the next opportunity.
Consider reading Move Learning Off the Back Burner