Continuing The Conversation
Over the past few weeks I’ve introduced a series of blog posts about corporate culture and the war for talent that’s going on in the electrical contracting industry. If you haven’t had the chance to read through them yet, I highly recommend taking a quick look. Here they are in order:
- Corporate Culture: Your Competitive Advantage
- Winning #TheWar4Talent
- Hungry For More: A Conversation With The Modern Employee
- Improving Your Corporate Culture: Part 1
- Improving Your Corporate Culture: Part 2
In today’s post we’re going to shift gears a little bit and focus on two of the easily overlooked aspects of corporate culture – motivation and inspiration!
Validation Is Motivation
I recently ran across this great article on Fistful of Talent and I thought there were several thought provoking elements in it – especially in regards to validation.
In my day to day dealings I hear all of the common employee complaints but I’m able to read between the lines on what they’re actually telling me. More often than not, the complaints are rooted in the employee feeling a disconnect between how they see themselves, and how they believe they are viewed by their employer. There are a number of difficult problems facing employers today but this doesn’t have to be one of them.
Here are just a few suggestions to follow when it comes to making your employees feel validated
- Publicly recognize a team member when they demonstrate proficiency in something they normally struggle with. For example, if they have a fear speaking in front of groups and then give a quality presentation to the rest of the team – let them know you admire them for it.
- Connect the dots! From time to time, show an employee how their efforts fit into the overall success of the business. In construction, this is easier than in some other industries because you can show a project plan and let them see how the various trades can only do their job if the previous trades have wrapped up their tasks.
- Keep it genuine. If you’re just blowing smoke, they’re going to catch on quick. Timing is everything, so be selective about when and how to show your validation.
Motivation Can’t Just Come From The Top Down
Let’s face it, as amazing as you might be – top down motivation some times gets tuned out. To get around this, you need to encourage your employees to motivate themselves and their co-workers. Not only does this encourage team building, it keeps you from having to micromanage. Here are a few items to consider when you’re looking at bottom up motivation:
- Self starting teams enable your upper level management to do what they do best – drive the business
- HR should work to find employee advocates that they can depend on for honest feedback about what’s happening on the front line. These people may be mid level management, team leads, or respected members of the union. In short, someone that carries the respect of their peers.
- This approach keeps you involved in a hand’s off way and it helps you to keep problems from festering.
- It allows you to establish a uniform voice at your organization. When the top, middle, and foundation of a company are on the same page, good things will happen.
With the current hiring climate it’s important to allocate cycles to attracting and luring new talent. However, you don’t want to overlook the capabilities of the contributors you’ve already got on staff. When you hand a task to an employee, give them some general direction and then allow them to come up with their own creative ways of getting the job done.
I like to think of my employees as my own internal customers. I know that if they feel valuable and if they’re excited by the projects I give them – they’re going to pass on those sentiments when they deal with my external customers. I also know that they’ll carry that experience into their interactions with my other new hires and this ultimately helps to set the tone I want at my company.
I also know, based on some recent reading, that a creative work place is very attractive to millennials. With the US workforce undergoing a massive generational shift, I need to stay ahead of the curve in every way that I can!
The Exit Interview
Some times, an employer does everything right but a team member opts to pursue a new direction. So in my next post I’ll lay out some suggestions to help you through exit interview process.