We tend to think of getting great talent in terms of hiring. While it is important to refine and improve your hiring practices in order to get great staff, that’s not the only way. I’ve learned that you can also get A-player employees without running an ad or doing a single interview. How? You work with what you already have.
In other words, you can try to elevate your existing staff and help them transform into productive, dedicated performers. These five strategies can help you build up your existing staff into A-player employees.
1. Make sure expectations and goals are clear.
It sounds really basic, but unless every member of your staff is crystal clear on what you expect from them, their chances of delivering it may be slim.
I recommend making your goals SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Based) and letting them guide every aspect of your business. I like to physically post goals—both short-term and long-term—in the office. We review our team goals in our morning huddle, and each employee has additional expectations for their specific position. As we move through our busy days, we have those goals in black and white to keep up focused and moving forward.
2. Have employees drive reviews.
I think the way we typically handle reviews—the boss semi-regularly observing an employee, having a sit-down to review strengths and weaknesses—is completely backward. What I’ve learned is that my employees are so much more productive when they establish the parameters by which they’ll evaluate themselves.
“Communicating your high standards—and your willingness to reward employees for them—can help your staff step up their games.”
My staff takes a look at how they’ve performed in terms of achieving goals, and we both assess their results. What I find is that most often, my employees are harder on themselves than I am. Since their drive to do better comes from themselves rather than from a boss on high, they work harder to achieve more. When you shift from external motivation to internal motivation, a lot can happen.
3. Consider tying compensation to performance.
One of the benefits to delineating measurable outcomes for every employee on staff is that you have cut-and-dry ways to measure performance. Since performance is what matters to the company (as opposed to simply hours on the time clock), I think we should consider altering pay structure to reflect what’s important.
Think about it: Does it make sense to pay an employee to show up, or does it make sense to pay an employee for achieving important goals? When employees see a direct connection between their work and their paychecks, they may work harder.
4. Assess your employees’ motivation.
I’ve always found this strategy to be a fascinating thought exercise, and it’s taught me more than I ever expected. We’re all motivated by different things. Some of us work for praise. Some of us work for the money. Some of us work to feel good about what we do for our community.
When you figure out what motivates each employee, you may be better able to reward them in a way that is meaningful to them. If you’re not familiar with methods for determining motivation, I recommend reading up on Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages. He offers practical strategies for making relationships more satisfying, whether you’re talking about a romantic partnership or a business partnership.
5. Improve your process.
One of the things we often overlook when we’re assessing our employees’ performance is the degree to which we—the business owner—help or hinder workflow. We’re typically the ones who set up our process, and it’s so easy to get mired in everyday details. We forget to take a big step back and take a look at how the entire workflow works.
With that in mind, consider looking for bottlenecks—the areas or places where your employees get bogged down—and then fixing them! I find it helpful to solicit input from my staff when I’m working through a problem. When employees realize that you’re working hard to support them and remove barriers to success, they may be more willing to pitch in and improve overall productivity.
In general, people meet our expectations of them. If we expect strong work ethics, we may be more likely to get them. If we expect lazy, dishonest workers, we may also likely to get those. Communicating your high standards—and your willingness to reward employees for them—can help your staff step up their games. I know I can’t afford to spend resources on B- and C-players. I expect my team to be A-players. And you know what? They deliver.
Author: Mike Michalowicz || Author, Profit First