It’s hard to remember a time when we have seen more ‘help wanted’ signs. It seems like they are everywhere. And behind every sign is a story. As more jobs chase fewer candidates, wages and incentives increase (not necessarily a bad thing for workers).
I have been working with teams who seem to have a few things in common due to our tight labor market. They all need to source, hire, train and retain good people. By the time they find them, tell them, sell them, start them and ramp them to productivity, they have small fortune invested in each new hire.
These employers are typically very proficient with the technical part of their jobs. Frequently we have opportunities to manage up, to mitigate potential communication disconnects with upper management or to set and manage new employee expectations.
For some employees, it is as basic as reinforcing
a) show up on time
b) show up ready to work
c) show up with a ‘can-do’ attitude.
This requires leaders to allocate and spend time with new hires to ensure they get off on the right foot. To know what is expected of you as an employee increases retention.
Focus your new employees on the results you want by encouraging their hearts. According
to Raidah al-Baradie, King Fahd Hospital-Dammam, Saudi Arabia, there are seven main components to the management practice of encouraging the heart that helps to increase productivity.
1. Set clear performance standards - Create clear goals and allow employees to provide input about their goals. Give consistent feedback that allows employees to know if they are meeting their goals and that guides them to correct their course. Encouragement is feedback. Successful managers help their employees understand how their values align with the organizations goals.
2. Expect the best from all - There is a saying, “We get what we expect.” When leaders
expect they are surrounded by incompetence, that is what they will find. Conversely, when leaders expect their subordinates are highly skilled, that will dominate the environment.
In other words, people have a tendency to live up or down to expectations of their leader.
3. Pay close attention – Put your new employees first. Support them and ensure that they have the tools they need to be successful in their new roles. Pay close attention. Listen with both your ears and your eyes. Being attentive shows, you care and that leads to trust and retention. Spend time with your employees and schedule recurring 1:1 time.
4. Personalize recognition - It is important to structure recognition according to the employee’s needs because impersonal recognition may have the adverse effect of demotivating employees. Offer the recognition in the way that the person wants to
receive it and do not hesitate to ask them. Make the recognition; timely, specific,
sincere, proportional, positive and memorable.
5. Tell the winning story – Utilize well the theater of the mind. Story telling is one of the languages of leadership. Use positive stories to teach, inspire, and motivate. Stories will also help to clarify expectations. Telling great stories includes identifying the people, giving the context, outlining the situation, highlighting the actions and the analogous desired outcomes.
6. Celebrate incremental wins - Celebrating success builds momentum and commitment and energizes people to do well. Furthermore, celebrating success provides a forum for iterating standards and values, while also providing employees an opportunity to come together and establish closer bonds.
7. Be the example - Leaders must model expected behavior. To create a culture of celebration, the leader must celebrate the actions and behaviors of his employees. Be genuine and connect on a personal level. Solicit, gracefully receive, and act on feedback from your staff.
So, to encourage the heart, take action. One of the most important characteristics of a supportive leader is objectivity or open-mindedness. A good leader should also wear a smile.
A smile helps to put subordinates at ease and communicates that their leader cares about them as individuals.
It is highly recommended that leaders who want to improve productivity provide regular feedback and be responsive to their employees because nothing is more demotivating than
silence, or not receiving any feedback at all.
How can you implement some of these strategies to encourage your newest employees today?