Everyone needs to feel like they are going somewhere in life. If your employees have dreams then they have hope for tomorrow. In today’s work environment most employees don’t leave because of their pay. They leave because they don’t see a clear path for their future or because they have friction with other employees or in a lot of cases it’s poor communication on the part of leadership. Let’s take a closer look at what their future holds & how we play into that.
- Identify what’s important to them & what they want out of the future. Hopefully you are sitting down with your employees on a quarterly basis to do employee reviews etc. During this process you should be asking them how things are going in their personal lives and work lives. Doing this in an office setting will yield different results than what you would get by just walking through saying how’s it going. The best way that I have found to find out what your employee’s dreams are is by having them do a goal poster. This should be on poster board with pictures. It should have short, medium and long term goals. It should be prominently displayed where the employee works so that it is visible to them and everyone around them.
Example: Bob wants a motorcycle and it’s on his goal poster. During our quarterly meeting I ask Bob how things are going. He says that things are ok but he wishes he was able to get that motorcycle. I also know that Bob’s widget production has been down lately. I say to Bob how about we do this: If you meet or exceed X widget production this week I will put 100.00 dollars in an account at the bank. If you do it every week for the next 3 months I will double that amount. At the end of the 3 months you will have 2400.00 dollars to put as a down payment on that motorcycle and if you keep up the good work you will earn enough money every week to make your payments.
After Bob Meets Your Goal: Now Bob has a shiny new motorcycle and it’s time to celebrate. Have him drive it into work one day and show it off to everyone else. Also, make a big deal about crossing it off of his goal poster. We have created a win for Bob and a win for the business. We received increased production and Bob he is sporting a new motorcycle. We have also showed everyone that goals and dreams are achievable.
- Encouragement: This is not a set it and forget it situation. You need to be talking to your employees on a daily basis even if only for a few minutes. Let them know you truly care and that you are trying to help them reach their goals.
- Great idea Chris but how does this help me? First of all, it lets them know you care. It’s so much harder to find and train decent employees let alone great employees. We should always be putting our best foot forward to keep the great ones that we have. You have customer appreciation days, but when was the last time you had an employee appreciation day? When was the last time you celebrated their birthday or work anniversary. Employees probably bah humbug a lot about this but in the end they have probably never had it happen at any of their former jobs. Let’s be better than anyone else.
- Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid to let the bad employees go. Don’t be afraid to keep the good ones. Don’t be afraid to see the great ones move on. What I mean by this is some people just outgrow our businesses. That’s ok. We should be willing to touch the lives of our employees just as we are touch the lives of our clients. Do great things, big and small for your clients, your employees and your community.