Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Dancing with the Stars

"Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers." --- Stephen Covey

Business leaders who are afraid to offer incentives to those employees that go above and beyond with great customer service, taking up the slack for an absent employee, saving the company money with a creative idea, or closing a big sale are missing a wonderful opportunity to build a greater team. Some business leaders are hesitant to single out employees for fear of hurting the feelings of those not performing so superbly.

Here are four good points to keep in mind when it comes to rewarding great performance:

1.) Make a spectacle. Make it known to the entire organization about the employee receiving the award. The award doesn't have to be expensive, but should be something that makes the employee feel appreciated. Gift cards, trophies, time off, dinner for two, and anything else that is above his or her normal salary. Gather the team together give a presentation.

2.) Make it easy. You've hired a lot of different personalities with different work habits. They might not fit your mold or what you think an employee should look like, but if they are getting the job done leave them alone. In fact, make it easier for them to exercise their individuality and creativity. If an employee requests different working hours because she must pick up the kids from school, try to accommodate. If the employee works better in the later hours, rearrange his hours so that he can be more productive. Give a little and watch for big returns. Yes, you may have some take advantage of you, but if you've done your homework in the hiring process, they will be few and far between.

3.) Make it happen. It takes work to recognize excellence. It will require monitoring, motivating, and rewarding, but it is worth it. Some companies start a recognition program only to drop it a few months or a year down the road. Keep it going for the long haul. Your employees will appreciate your efforts and your company will be rewarded with greater productivity.

4.) Make a point. Recognizing employees shows the entire team that better service, quality productivity, and loyalty to the company mission is appreciated. Make your stars shine to others so that everyone knows it is possible. Develop enough stars and you will be dancing the sweet dance of success.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Monday, September 10, 2012

Giving the Farm Away?

"Treat employees like partners and they act like partners." --- Fred Allen

Running a business is a lot like playing babysitter and handyman at the same time. When we run a business, you are always responding to issues--- always reacting to things. However, when we lead a business we are directing where we are going. We are proactive in our moves and our decisions and we are particularly playing a leading role in guiding our employees toward success.

One of the surest ways to leading employees on board with the plan and mission of the business is to give them a role in decision-making. This doesn't mean giving away the farm, but it does mean trusting in the team members that we've hired.

Here are three steps that you can take to help build employee loyalty, trust, and dedication:

1.) Allow them to fail. Your employees will make mistakes. When employees are criticized for those mistakes, especially in front of others, their creativity and problem-solving skills are stifled. They no longer take chances to help the company succeed. Communicate to the team that everyone is encouraged to take some chances to reach new heights. When they do fail, use that as an opportunity to learn. Critique the incident, but not the team member.

2.) Give them the business. Consider offering your employees a piece of the action. This can be set up by your attorney and/or accountant, but it is worth looking into. You can be slowly by offering profit-sharing to your team leaders, supervisors and managers. The point is that when an employee has ownership, engagement in the job increases. It is now their company and they really want to see it succeed.

3.) Set an example. Your action as a business leader is watched more closely than you realize. Your employees are looking to see if what you say in the Monday morning meeting is what you actually believe. When they hear you speak poorly about a customer or another employee, they know that customer service and working together in harmony is not really a priority at the company. Your team members need to see your passion for the company in action. They need to know that you are leading them with action as well as words. When they see that their leadership really lives the mission statement of the business then they come alive with a desire to achieve!

You don't have to give away the farm to create a loyal workforce, but you might want to offer some land or pigs, and then let them do some farming.

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