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Top 10 Things Every Business Should Provide
for Every Worker - Including the Boss!
Doing business and meeting the needs of workers is increasingly complex. Employees
and managers often prefer a cafeteria-list of fringe benefits (a "flexible spending
account") so they can choose increased health care, child care or more time off as
their individual preferences dictate. But underneath these specifics, there are
central needs that most of us want from our work. Money can not buy happiness, and
by itself it will rarely purchase a loyal, highly motivated staff (even in a one-person
professional office or small family business).
- Creativity. Every human being has a need to decorate their own office, find
their own way to do their assigned task, and have their creativity be recognized.
In the sense that all of us are somewhat lazy, often allowing and encouraging
"creative laziness" can lead to not only happier employees, but a healthier
- Contribution. Managers have always known that every worker must contribute
to the bottom line, but increasingly staff at every level want to know that their
suggestions, their efforts, energy and loyalty contribute to the company in many other
ways. From the old suggestion box, to recent Quality Circles, every member needs to
know that they contribute and that their contributions are valued.
- Community. The workplace is increasingly a one-stop source of friendships,
exercise clubs, day care, health care and anxiety. If you and your staff aren't
able to foster a sense of community and teamwork in the midst of a highly mobile,
competitive and insecure world, performance will immediately suffer.
- Personal Development. As out-sourcing and mobility increase, the best and
the brightest are increasingly clear that the work they do must strengthen, enrich, and
enhance their lives far beyond a simple paycheck. From team building and
communication skills, to new technical skills, every member of your business must know
that they are growing, becoming stronger and healthier, or they will quickly grow
- Professional Development. This actually comes after Personal Development.
In the past, industrial bosses needed welders or drivers or clerks, and employees were
expected to come to the job with these skills. Today, business requires skills that
didn't exist even 3 years ago! Asking the boss to manage with last year's reporting
system, or your sales force to use last year's website, or
expecting the accounting
department to cope with
an old spreadsheet is asking for bad information, bad decisions, frustration,
low morale and high turnover.
- Challenge. For work to be alive and vibrant, it has to challenge us. From winning a sales contest, to solving international marketing and financial problems,
we all love a challenge! Make sure you and your staff understand the "next big
thing" and understand that you have confidence in them and will give them the support
they need to meet and conquer the challenges ahead.
- Personal Recognition. While most projects involve teamwork and cooperation
across networks, in the end, each individual needs to know that their contribution is
recognized, appreciated and rewarded. Often sole-proprietors and professionals in
independent practice are the worst offenders! Stop and recognize your own
achievements, pat yourself on the back
and share that recognition with others
whenever and wherever it is appropriate!
- Financial Rewards. This is the old (misused and misunderstood)
standby. Business has always used incentives, bonuses, competitions and rewards to
motivate productive behavior. Unfortunately, in many cases it backfires! The old
rule was: pay as little as possible for labor. The new rule: pay as much as you
possibly can to hire, train, and retain the very best! Reward yourself and your
staff generously and often. It doesn't cost, it pays!
- Clear vision. From the CEO to the newest trainee, we are all bombarded with
so much information, so many messages and so many demands that keeping a clear vision,
staying "on message" is increasingly difficult. What, precisely, is each
staff member's number one priority? Do you know? Do THEY know? What
is the company's primary mission? Confusion about expectations is the number one killer of
productivity. Have a target, and make sure everyone knows their responsibility to
- Civility and Mutual Respect. I recently saw a news show about an office
where "practical jokes", bias, discrimination and "hazing" were
rampant. Of course they are being sued! It's increasingly clear that few
businesses can fully meet all of the various rules, regulations and court decisions
about employment. It's also clear that most employees don't want to sue
or even complain. People want to do a good job in a safe, clean and supportive
environment, and they want to know that they and their work are respected. The "bottom line" is common decency and doing the right thing.
Phil, Mary, and the Staff at
Resources for Success!
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© Copyright 2003 by Philip E. Humbert. All Rights Reserved.
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