“I woke up one morning and just said, ‘I…hate…my…job,’” workplace engagement expert Peter Stark told the audience of HR executives during his presentation during SHRM 2010 in San Diego last month. “The problem was, I owned the company.”
Laughter ensued, and I took the crowd’s immediate engagement with Stark as a good sign that I wouldn’t be wasting my time in a presentation titled “Engaged!” – about how top companies create a culture where employees love to come to work.
Turns out, I was right. Not only is Stark a dynamic speaker, but dude knows his stuff: Stark had studied 250 companies employing 100,000 people. And after narrowing them down to the top 25 percent in terms of employee engagement, he found 10 factors these top companies have in common, which I’ll share with you now…
Oh, but first, a quick side note: Before Stark shared his list, he did something interesting. He challenged the audience to tell him the difference between a leader and a manager…which turned out to be a deceptively difficult task. After listening to a few good (but apparently wrong) guesses from the crowd, Stark revealed the answer: A manager is just a title; whereas a leader is someone whose qualities lead people to follow them. “Followership is a conscious decision, with or without a title,” Stark said. (The more you know…) Anyway, without further ado…your recap of Stark’s list of…
10 Ways to Get Employees to Say, “I Love My Job”
- Create a compelling, positive vision with clear goals. The top leaders have a very clear vision of where they’re heading. According to Stark, a great vision is composed of three key qualities: it must come from the heart, be unique to the organization, and be radical and compelling. People have to care about it.
- Communicate the right stuff at the right time. Yes, even the “hard stuff”…Stark found that the best of the best companies were better at communicating the hard stuff to their employees.
- Select the right people for the right job. Seems like a given, yet some companies are much better at this than others. Why is that? Stark says that what the best companies do differently is have more people involved in the hiring decision than the typical organization, and they have a thorough understanding of the competencies they need individuals to have in order to be successful at their organization. (Side note: Nancy Newell also spoke to the importance of this understanding in her SHRM panel on interviewing. Consistency!)
- Facilitate cross-departmental teamwork. It’s important to remember that you all work for the same company – with the same goal. The best companies are better at cross-departmental teamwork.
- Do “cool stuff.” When you’re working on cool stuff, Stark says, the rest of the organization has to respond to you; therefore, you become a leader. So practice continuous improvement and innovation. (Warning: The best companies are able to do this because they already have their day-to-day ducks in a row, so you might want to consider that first.)
- Recognize and reward excellent performance. While some people aren’t crazy about rewards systems, it makes others work for it. (And, oh yeah, it seems to be working pretty well for top companies.)
- Make accountability and performance count. “If I came in and reviewed your performance reviews, could I truly see a difference between employees? And could I see that the manager truly cares about the employee?” Stark asked the audience. Performance reviews are a window into how you treat your employees – and how engaged your employees are likely to be as a result. After all, a manager who can’t take time to write a performance review is unlikely to take the time to communicate clearly with employees on a consistent basis (see #2).
- Make sure every employee has the opportunity to learn and grow. Giving employees a growth and development plan is essential, as it tells them, “I care about your success. I believe in you.”
- Don’t let problems be any problem at all. The top companies foster a culture that allows for mistakes, because they know they can handle them.
- Make it all about the customer. When you’re able to focus on the business side and the customer side, Stark says, it increases your credibility and value in the organization.
Anything you’d add to this list? Chances are you’ve heard several – if not all – of these concepts before; still, it’s always good to have a refresher, as it is probably easy to forget the crucial importance of keeping the very people you rely on to run your business motivated, and at the very least, not….hating…their…jobs.Related
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