Have you noticed a lack of excitement in employees when it comes to their work? Gary Kunath shares how you can revive your office.
Employees have evolved in the past 10 years or so; they have different priorities. What makes them happy today is very different from what we once focused on as employee motivators.
To get the most out of our people today we have to be in tune with those things they value and truly want. To the surprise of many leaders today it is NOT the traditional perks, such as money, promotions, and awards banquets that exclude the spouse.
Here are some things I believe are important to know about what motivates your work force.
1. Recognize that they have lives, loves and worries beyond the office walls.
People are overwhelmed by the complexities of their own lives. Companies can no longer ignore the realities of human existence. We can no longer pretend that emotions felt outside of work are not carried into the workplace, that people don’t have families or health issues or deep worries. It is imperative that we bring humanity back to the work place and not barter the unique qualities of each individual employee for petty performance measures. To energize a work force, a company must demonstrate that it cares as much about its people when they leave the office it does when they arrive
People are the ONLY sustainable competitive advantage a company has. It is not your product superiority, brand strength or financial superiority. It is your people. So attracting and retaining the best people gives an organization a significant competitive edge. Positively affecting employees’ work and personal lives is critical to getting top performers. Personal and family well-being is THE top priority for employees today and the company that makes this a priority will be in high demand. In fact, according to the Families and Work Life Institute, 70 percent of those surveyed would trade salary increases and promotions for family well-being.
3.Being truly off-duty during off-duty hours.
Personal well-being drives professional well-being. Many people think that it is the other way around, that if you achieve professional success then personal success is automatic. Nothing could be more wrong. I know many people who have achieved a high professional success: big job, nice title, great pay. But they are miserable in their home lives. The cost of anything is the amount of life that you have to trade for it. The lesson here for businesses is that employee and family well-being is the foundation for professional success. Happy people have better work outcomes, more innovation, higher natural productivity and greater incomes. You want top performance from your people? Then respect their home lives. No 6 p.m. conference calls; no travel on Saturdays to save on airfare; no calls at home during off hours; no night or weekend emails.
4. Be authentic and demonstrate sincere caring about employees as individuals.
The key to personal growth is not in becoming more powerful but in becoming more human. People respond best to authenticity and a genuine concern for meeting their needs. The best leaders I know; the ones for whom people will gladly work anytime, the ones followed to other companies and with whom employees proactively maintain strong relationships long after their careers end, are the ones who are firm yet fair and have a high regard for their employees as people.
5. People want – and need – to be happy.
Happiness is the ultimate currency. The MOST important thing I tell people when I speak to them is that it is fine to work hard but do not EVER forget why you are doing what you do. The goal is success in life, which I define as “Applause at home.” As Art Buchwald once said, “The best things in life are not things.” It is not about net worth, it is all about Life Worth!!
Gary Kunath is the author of “Life … Don’t Miss It. I Almost Did: How I Learned To Live Life To The Fullest.” The founder of The Summit Group, ranked among the top sales-training companies in the world by Selling Power magazine, his value-creation approach received the “Innovative Practice of the Year Award” by 3M worldwide. He was named Businessman of the Year for the United States and was recognized a dinner hosted by the president of the United States. He has lectured extensively at several prominent business schools, and is currently an adjunct professor at The Citadel’s Sports Marketing graduate program. Kunath is as an owner of several professional minor league baseball teams along with his partners, Bill Murray, Jimmy Buffet and Mike Veeck. The group is famous for managing its teams around the “Fun is Good” approach.