Article: Top 10 Things Every Business Should Provide for Every Worker - even the Boss!
By Dr Philip E. Humbert
Doing business and meeting the needs of workers is increasingly complex. Employees and managers often prefer a cafeteria-list of fringe benefits (a "flexible spending account") so they can choose increased health care, child care or more time off as their individual preferences dictate. But underneath these specifics, there are central needs that most of us want from our work. Money can not buy happiness, and by itself it will rarely purchase a loyal, highly motivated staff (even in a one-person professional office or small family business).
1. Creativity. Every human being has a need to decorate their own office, find their own way to do their assigned task, and have their creativity be recognized. In the sense that all of us are somewhat lazy, often allowing and encouraging "creative laziness" can lead to not only happier employees, but a healthier bottom line.
2. Contribution. Managers have always known that every worker must contribute to the bottom line, but increasingly staff at every level want to know that their suggestions, their efforts, energy and loyalty contribute to the company in many other ways. From the old suggestion box, to recent Quality Circles, every member needs to know that they contribute and that their contributions are valued.
3. Community. The workplace is increasingly a one-stop source of friendships, exercise clubs, day care, health care and anxiety. If you and your staff aren't able to foster a sense of community and teamwork in the midst of a highly mobile, competitive and insecure world, performance will immediately suffer.
4. Personal Development. As out-sourcing and mobility increase, the best and the brightest are increasingly clear that the work they do must strengthen, enrich, and enhance their lives far beyond a simple paycheck. From team building and communication skills, to new technical skills, every member of your business must know that they are growing, becoming stronger and healthier, or they will quickly grow restless.
5. Professional Development. This actually comes after Personal Development. In the past, industrial bosses needed welders or drivers or clerks, and employees were expected to come to the job with these skills. Today, business requires skills that didn't exist even 3 years ago! Asking the boss to manage with last year's reporting system, or your sales force to sell with last year's website or accounting to get by with an early version of Lotus 123, is asking for bad information, bad decisions, frustration, low morale and high turnover.
6. Challenge. For work to be alive and vibrant, it has to challenge us. From winning a sales contest, to solving international marketing and financial problems, we all love a challenge! Make sure you and your staff understand the "next big thing" and understand that you have confidence in them and will give them the support they need to meet and conquer the challenges ahead.
7. Personal Recognition. While most projects involve teamwork and cooperation across networks, in the end, each individual needs to know that their contribution is recognized, appreciated and rewarded. Often sole-proprietors and professionals in independent practice are the worst offenders! Stop and recognize your own achievements, pat yourself on the backÉand share that recognition with others whenever and wherever it is appropriate!
8. Financial Rewards. This is the old (misused and misunderstood) standby. Business has always used incentives, bonuses, competitions and rewards to motivate productive behavior. Unfortunately, in many cases it backfires! The old rule was: pay as little as possible for labor. The new rule: pay as much as you possibly can to hire, train, and retain the very best! Reward yourself and your staff generously and often. It doesn't cost, it pays!
9. Clear vision. From the CEO to the newest trainee, we are all bombarded with so much information, so many messages and so many demands that keeping a clear vision, staying "on message" is increasingly difficult. What, precisely, is each staff member's number one priority? Do you know? Do THEY know? What is the company's primary mission? Confusion about expectations is the number one killer of productivity. Have a target, and make sure everyone knows their responsibility to hit itÉ.every time!
10. Civility and Mutual Respect. I recently saw a news show about an office where "practical jokes", bias, discrimination and "hazing" were rampant. Of course they are being sued! It's increasingly clear that few businesses can technically meet all of the various rules, regulations and court decisions about employment. It's also clear that in most cases, employees don't want to sue or even complain. Most people want to do a good job in a safe, clean and supportive environment, and they want to know that they and their work are respected. The real "bottom line" is common decency and doing the right thing.
By Dr Philip E. Humbert, author, speaker and personal success coach. Dr Humbert has hundreds of tips, tools and articles on his website that you can use for your own success! It's a great resource! Visit him on the web at: www.philiphumbert.com And, be sure to sign up for his great newsletter!