It is often said, "our employees are our biggest asset." But do we practice this in real life. When the rubber meets the road, do we truly treat our employees as our greatest asset. A few months ago during a safety meeting I asked the crew: "how many of you love your mom?" Everyone raised their hand. I then asked, "how many of your would want to do everything in your power to keep you mom safe?" They all raised their hands. I then said, "you are all like my mom to me!" Meaning: I care for their safety as I would care about my own mothers safety. Those of you in leadership positions who have the opportunity and privilege to lead our awesome field staff, please don't take this responsibility lightly.
Henry Ford once said: "My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me." That's our goal in a nutshell - to bring out the best in our team. How? Here are a few suggestions courtesy of an article written by ClearFit, makers of recruiting software and employee assessment tools for businesses in Canada & the US.:
1. Understand That Each Employee Is Different: Although it may be easy to paint all employees with the same brush, it is very important to realize that every individual is unique. Rather than thinking of your employees as a single, homogeneous work force, ensure that you realize the diversity of your employees and the potential inherent in that diversity. Realizing that your employees have different needs, requirements, expectations - and advantages - is the first step to realizing their full potential.
2. Manage Your Expectations: Perhaps your employee isn’t the problem - maybe it’s you! It is important for any employer to lay out specific expectations and benchmarks ahead of the game. Sitting down and drawing up a plan of action and expectations is a very useful exercise to make sure that not only your employee stays on track, but that you do as well.
3. Manage Your Employee’s Expectations: Along with managing your own expectations as an employer, you must also manage your employee’s expectations. Transparency and open, honest communications between employer and employee will ensure that you are both on the same wavelength and avoid any confusion about expectations and responsibilities.
4. Provide A Challenging Environment: Put yourself in the shoes of your employees - if you were placed in an unchallenging and monotonous environment, chances are you wouldn’t like it either. Instead, ensure that you provide a challenging and dynamic work environment that fosters creativity and excitement.
5. Lead By Example: One of the greatest motivators for an employee is seeing a manager or supervisor who works harder than anyone else in the company. Leading by example is an underestimated motivator that can foster a productive work ethic in a company, and produce some great results.
6. Engage Your Workers: Ensure that your work force is engaged. This means that employees have a say in decisions (where appropriate of course) and can communicate ideas and feedback to supervisors and management.
7. Reward Your Employees (… and not just with money!): Even though this may seem like a risky proposition, rewarding employees can be a great motivator in general. Rewards do not necessarily have to be in the form of money. Rewards can include verbal recognition, employee perks such as lunches or even other ongoing incentives such as paying for daily commutes to and from work.
8. Foster Strengths, Work On Weaknesses: While you don’t want to ever completely ignore a person’s weakness, it’s important to foster a person’s strength while being aware of their weaknesses. Realizing an individual’s strengths will enable you to leverage those into productive and rewarding work. At the same time, working on the person’s weaknesses can also be beneficial to both employer and employee and works to strengthen the professional bond between the two.
9. Don't Be Afraid To Cut: While it is never the intention of an employer to hire someone who doesn’t work out - sometimes cutting an employee loose in order to maintain workplace harmony or avoid conflict - or for a simple lack of ability - is a necessary part of running a business. As an employer you can’t and shouldn’t avoid taking the lead on issues that jeopardize any aspect of your business. The longer you wait, the more damage that will be done.