The ideal of “A tool is only as good as the person using it” can be applied to many situations, nearly universally. However, it may ring truest in the corporate world as it pertains to the success of a company. In this application, the company is the tool, and its employees are the people using it. On the surface, that may sound like people are taking advantage of their employer. But when the employees take their personal talents and pair them with the unique attributes of the company, great things can be achieved.
Unfortunately, the inverse of this is true. If a company puts together a team of underqualified or uninterested employees, then the outlook of the company could be grim at best. Ben Simonton, the president of Simonton Associates and Leadership Science TV, offered his perspective on this topic, “Turning on people to figure out how to beat the competition. People only complain about being beaten by the competition.”
Obviously, no leader wants to face a team of constant complainers on a regular basis. Not only is it a headache, but it will also hurt the bottom line. To help avoid this, take some time to understand the following suggestions on how to keep your team involved in the future of your company.
Make it about more than work
Regardless of nearly any variable one can come up with, people inherently know there is a culture as well as the level of expected behavior that comes with participating in the working world. This can be observed in the way people choose to dress themselves when working in the office or the language they use in business interactions that is not present in their vocabulary otherwise. There is nothing wrong with any of this. In fact, all this together helps make up the professionalism that many are familiar with. But, as with most things in life, there is such a thing as too much professionalism. When this happens, the unique character traits of everyone are swallowed up and the office takes on an assembly line-like atmosphere – heads down, all work, no exceptions. Ryan Rottman, Co-Founder and CEO of OSDB advises others to avoid this outcome at all costs, “When your employees clock in, do their work, and go home, there isn’t much, if any, of a personal connection and that can make things difficult moving forward. If you’re taking steps to prepare for your company’s future, pay attention to and get to know your employees. If they feel like the office is about more than just getting tasks done, they’ll want to stay longer than they ever intended.”
Play to the strengths of the team
Loic Claveau, CMO of Prom summed up another point best, “Whenever people feel as if their talents are being underutilized or misused entirely, they’re usually quick to check out mentally. This is the last thing any good manager wants to happen as this behavior continues over a period and could bring about unwanted side effects. In the long run, it’s going to mean more turnover which nobody wants.”
Like sports, every business team is made up of team members who are extremely impactful in some respects but detract from the team in others. For example, a quarterback is best suited to be the guy in charge of running the offense, not attempting to play defense on a wide receiver downfield. This is simply the nature of people – no person is well-rounded enough to carry the entire workload and skills necessary to keep a business operational, let alone profitable. The beauty of a well-built business team is the weaknesses present should be negligible at best. However, this can only take place if those in charge are trying to put team members in positions to be successful.
Provide a variety of opportunities
There are plenty of employees out there who are completely content fulfilling their obligations and collecting their paycheck with no more attention given to their professional life. That is all well and good for some, but companies who are striving for continued growth will want to look elsewhere to fill their staffing needs. To find the right people, a change of perspective may be needed. Instead of viewing a job opening as a need to be filled, view it as an opportunity for a working professional to better themselves. After this shift has taken place, the employer must go to additional lengths to make this opening an actual opportunity otherwise this perspective change is all for not.
Michael Burghoffer, CEO of PicoSolutions gave some ideas for doing so, “It might sound a little funny, but you want people to want to work for you. Whether it is the physical and cultural environment of the company or the options available for professional growth, working people have so many opportunities available to them with other jobs that it’s almost like companies are competing for employees instead of vice versa.”
Reward good work
Matas Jakutis, CMO from Forcefield Digital talked about a separate approach to including employees, “When you’re intentional as a boss, employees will respond with intentionality. This extends to rewarding employees for a job well done. Once they experience this, they’ll want this to be the norm moving forward. See the mental jump they made there? The employee is now looking to the future.”
Some people are very much aware of when they have done good work. Others may believe they have done so but some doubt still lingers. Still, others have no clue if the work they put together is even acceptable or not. It truly does not matter which of these categories any of a company’s employees fall in so long as the company is going above and beyond to communicate their appreciation. After all, even if two people hold two vastly different belief systems about themselves, they will both respond well and build positive associations in their brains surrounding their working life.On some level, a company is only as relevant as what it has accomplished recently. A long, prestigious, history is wonderful, but many consumers, as well as professionals, are asking companies, ‘What have you done for me lately?’ Without a team involved in the ongoing and future-looking happenings of a company, finding a fulfilling answer to this question may prove trying for said company. Doug Conant, the former CEO of Campbell’s Soup, provided insight on how best to handle this, “To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace.”