Recently I was working with a group of managers that were commenting about the struggle that they were having with their staff. About half of the group complained that the younger generation were lacking the ‘work ethic’ that previous generations had. The other half of the group were complaining that many of their older generation staff still did not want to come into the office as they wanted the flexibility to work more from home. The consensus was that staff were now more ‘lazy’ than in the past.
The question that I asked caught them off guard, ‘When they first started were they lazy and did not want to be there, or did they show up at the beginning motivated and excited to do a good job and make a difference?’ The Senior Partner did not take long to think about it and replied, “When they first started they were totally motivated and would go above and beyond to get the job done.” As I thought about his response, I asked him and the other managers one simple question, “What did you do or not do to them over time that has made them lose their motivation and desire to make a difference?”
Too often I hear managers complain about staff not living up to their expectations. Managers set the tone for the entire team (and for the organisation as a whole) and often forget how important it is to create an environment to keep staff learning, stretching and growing. Managers have the responsibility to create a culture that gives their staff a reason to come to work because they want to not because they feel they have to.
There are a range of touch-points and activities that managers can do to keep things interesting, keep staff engaged and keep them performing:
- Get Personal: 1 on 1. One of the best strategies is to make time to be ‘hands on’ with staff. This can be a planned activity or it can be spontaneous. Take the time to check in with them and ask them questions about their personal life and their interests (If I think about my Mentors and some of our incredible conversations, many of them were unplanned).
- Make Little Things Count. Look for the opportunities to make small gestures of your appreciation for the efforts that your staff put in. You can use plenty of gestures from making them a cup of tea, to leaving them a sticky note on their desk that says ‘thanks’ or providing them with a copy of a book that they may enjoy. These small gestures add up, with proactive managers getting better performance from more of their staff.
- Create Shared Experiences. Another powerful way to keep your staff engaged and get them to want to come to work is to create shared experiences. By participating in a learning activity you can provide insights and skills in addition to support and connection. This allows them to have a ‘break’ from the day to day busyness of their role and work ‘on’ the business and themselves.
Review your last week. Did you do something to give your staff a reason to come to work? Did you actively find a way to connect with them in a meaningful way? If you are interested in my EOFY Team Programs to help recognise and boost your teams performance and get special pricing before July please reach out for a free 20 minute chat.