Your Greatest Asset

Peter Drucker, who has been described as “the founder of modern management,” said that employees are a business’s greatest asset. Without employees, who will serve the customer, who will get the work done, who will close the sale? Your team is everything, so celebrate them (and keep them). Staff turnover is expensive. Not only do you spend time and money recruiting and hiring, you lose customers. A Canadian hotel chain has calculated that a 10% turnover can decrease your customers 1% to 3%.

So, what is the best way to keep your staff happy, engaged, and most importantly, working for you? Celebrate your staff and engage them in the business. The research on employee engagement is extensive. One of my favorite books on the topic is First Break All the Rules: What the Greatest Managers Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman. Using surveys from the Gallup Organization spanning 25 years and interviewing more than one million employees, Buckingham and Coffman established 12 key questions to employee engagement. The 12 questions are:

  1. Is there someone at work who encourages my development?
  2. Do I have a best friend at work?
  3. Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?
  4. Do I know what is expected of me at work?
  5. Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?
  6. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
  7. In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?
  8. At work, do my opinions seem to count?
  9. Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel my job is important?
  10. Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work?
  11. In the last six months, has someone at work talked to me about my progress?
  12. This last year, have I had opportunities at work to learn and grow?

Drawing on these questions we can see a few ways to celebrate your staff. Talk to employees about professional development and ongoing education and ask where they see themselves in the future. College of the Rockies offers many great courses and programs that employees can take part in; a bookkeeping course, a first aid course, or the Ambassador Program to name a few.

In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which can be applied to the workplace, Belongingness follows Basic Needs and Safety. Once Basic Needs (money) and Safety Needs (job security) are met, employees seek to meet their need for belongingness and comfort with their coworkers. Everyone will have a bad day once in a while, and having support at work is vital to avoid employee alienation. Be sure you have systems or programs that let your employees build friendships with each other.

The Hawthorne studies wanted to see if lighting affected worker productivity in a factory. They turned up the lights and found people worked faster and better. Then, they decided to turn down the lights. Employees continued to work faster and better even to the point that workers could barely see. The study concluded that employees were responding to the fact that someone was paying attention to what they were doing and not to the level of light. Do your employees know you are paying attention?

Coming into the busy winter season, take a moment to look at how you are engaging your team. Are your staff engaged – do they know you care about them, do they have friends at work, are your talking about their future? Use the questions above as a guide for building recruitment strategies that support your employees and support your business.