Leaders, Staff and Excellence

The pendulum has swung back in favor of workers. Businesses are hiring, unemployment is hovering around 5.5% and workers understand that there are many more work options available. Retention is always an issue and now you have to fight hard to keep your best from jumping ship – a right they have and will exercise when appropriate.

Our competition is stronger than ever. Our business goals increase yearly but the leaders with unhappy staff will lose them in the blink of an eye.

New hires understand that the options are out there and will make up their mind within 30 days of starting a job how long they plan on staying.

You ain’t got much time to make them satisfied, comfortable and committed.

Excellence comes from more employee training, a watchful eye on their wants, needs and desires and an overall feeling that they matter and that you care.

When I conduct breakout sessions, I often include an activity that allows us to “deep dive” into issue. Sure I can present but a room full of talent can always come up with more ideas, thoughts and recommendations than one person can offer.

Here is what I learned at three different conferences I presented at this summer about what employees want. I’ve shortened the list down to seven. They are:

  • Training, training and more training. The reason- more knowledge, better opportunity for advancement & improved skills.
  • Cross Training– They want to better understand what others at the same company do and how it affects their role. Plus, they may find an area of the company that they are better suited for.
  • Employee recognition- Sure, you remember when we did more of that! Well, they want it to come back. Gas cards, bonus, lunch. Employees need to hear that they matter, make a difference and are an integral part of your team.
  • Ask them. Asking for feedback and input grows trust and builds relationships. Plus, great ideas can come from anyone at work but you have to ask.
  • Cross mentoring. Attendees have convinced me that mentoring not only works, it moves projects and employees along faster. Because we are now seeing Boomers & Xers specifically working with Millennials and the results are mostly very positive. Millennials can offer fresh perspectives, are a whiz with technology and are fast learners. Older generations have plenty of experience and are often in a higher profile position. Legacies are left by those in their forties and up, mentees advance faster than those who are not mentored and succession planning is stronger as a result.
  • Humor me. Lighten up, lose the “boss” attitude and come down to our level. Today’s best leaders understand that relationships increase productivity, grow business and make for a ‘lower stress’ work environment. No laughter, no fun, no appreciation. Where would you rather work?
  • Social gatherings. We understand that outside of work people let their hair down and tend to relax. Some more than others! New bonds are formed, relationships grow and leaders show their ‘off site’ personality. When offered and organized, the results can be tremendous and the cost to benefit ratio low!

Excellence in anything requires dedication, assistance and time. Today’s leaders lead from the sideline, in the trenches and wherever they can to be effective.

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