This is part 5 of a 10 part “how to” series covering the points in the infographic below.
I remember when I first started working for Universal in 2003, part of our leadership training included the top 10 things that motivated employees. Not surprisingly, that list contained many of the same things as the infographic above.
But, instead of just telling the managers in our classes how these things ranked from 1-10, we asked THEM to rank them first. It’s fascinating to see how managers and employees view these things differently.
Almost without fail, the managers said that money was the biggest motivator, and would appear at number 1 on the employee survey.
And they were wrong.
In fact, “feeling in on things” was number 1 on this survey of employee motivators, and money was number 4 (if memory serves). What I do know is that money wasn’t number 1, which left a lot of managers scratching their heads.
And guess what? Things haven’t changed much in 13 years. People still CRAVE involvement, and they want to know that they are part of something larger than themselves.
Just look at social media and technology… at their core, they are just another way to connect people – and now its SO easy to do just that! You can complain all you want about people being on their phones and being “so rude” at a meal… but rewind 20 years (and sometimes not even that far) and look around your local diner at the couples who are both reading separate parts of the newspaper.
Nope. Electronic wizardly gadgets didn’t create this behavior, a human beings’ need to connect did.
And that’s what involvement is all about. Connecting with your employees so they feel “in on things”, part of the process, and an important voice in the outcome of their own professional destiny (or “density” for BTTF fans!).
If you have read the posts in this series about Mentoring and Challenging your employees, you have already found a few ways to involve your employees in meaningful ways. If you haven’t read those yet, now is a good time to get caught up:
These two posts show some formal and not-so-formal ways to get your employees involved. Even more informally, think about why you enjoy what you do… is it because you do the same thing over and over again and have very little input about what goes on around you? Didn’t think so. Why would you think your employees are any different?
Sometimes it’s as simple as asking their opinions or thoughts on the business, guest service, team morale, etc. The topic is less important that the process of getting employees to feel as though they are invested enough in your operation to want to stay.
But, before you put up that suggestion box for employee ideas that will ultimately become a trash receptacle, here are some lo-fi but proven ways to get your employees more involved:
- Talk to them (when you don’t have to)
- Ask them questions
- Address them by name
- Treat them with respect
- Trust them
- Get to know them as people
- Follow through on suggestions (even if – especially if – you can’t implement something)
- Get their input on future hiring decisions
- Listen to them
- Include them on decisions
- Invite them to meetings as a development opportunity
- Ask them to help with a special project
- Explain your decisions
These were listed in no particular order, and some may be more applicable to your situation than others. They all presuppose that you are genuinely interested in getting your employees more involved so they’ll stay. If that’s not the case, don’t bother.
Please do keep in mind that the items above are not one-and-done type prospects. It will take an investment of your time (YOUR involvement) and a variety of these tactics to create an environment were people feel involved and will reciprocate with ideas, suggestions and discretionary effort.
Oh, right… and they’ll stay.
Next up: Appreciated
Thanks for reading!
About the author – After 20+ years in hospitality leadership and human resources, Matt Heller founded Performance Optimist Consulting in 2011 with one simple goal: Help Leaders Lead. Matt now works with attractions large and small and leaders at all levels to help them improve leadership competencies, customer service, employee motivation and teamwork. His book, “The Myth of Employee Burnout” was released in 2013 has become a go-to resource among industry leaders.