5 New Ways To View Your Employees
by Garen Jemian
"The times they are a changing"
Surely Mr. Dylan wasn't thinking about the changing climates in the 21st century workplace when he wrote those famous words, yet it couldn't ring more true for those working in the minefield of the business world.
Take a look into any corporation and notice how the HR department has become the high-stress, low-reward department that nobody in their right mind wants to work in.
Managers of all levels continuously scratching their heads as to why people aren't responding to the tried, tested and true ways of doing things.
People, like the workplace are evolving just like every other aspect of modern day society. It's time to start thinking outside the box, taking a few risks and learning how the individual is no longer the machine.
#1: They Are The Future
If the goal is for your company to grow, then plant the seeds today that will nurture that reality tomorrow.
There is no gain in hiring employees that are simply in it for the money and will drone on as robots until the thrill of the challenge is gone and the office is left with mindless workers.
The key is to have the foresight to see what the individual brings to the table today and how they can grow within the organization. As a manager, you should not refrain from hiring talented people with the fear that they may one day take over your job. The goal is to surround yourself with people that can complete their tasks better than you could. Your gift as a leader is to identify these qualities within your employees and to facilitate their growth.
Ambition is what companies need more than anything. Embrace it, nurture it and watch it grow.
#2: They Are Purpose Driven
Little ants. Big colony. Thousands of these little critters work in perfect flow in a common direction. None complain and all do what they know to be true. If only the modern workplace functioned this way.
In our world, the "what" refers to the task and the "why" refers to the bigger picture. When the what is void of the why, you have disharmony, lack of productivity, and quite often energies get drained into the wormhole of daily work life.
To empower the vision and the task, use the reason as to why it's important to achieve the goals at hand. This gives your employees a sense of purpose, a mission they need to accomplish for the sake of the greater good. You'd be surprised how far people would go to play the hero when the what is energized with the why.
#3: They Are (Not) Motivated By Money
Hedonic Adaptation aka The Catch-22 of the business world. If you aren't familiar with the concept, here it is in a nutshell: Money, like all other material achievements, starts to lose its charm and power over personal happiness the second it has been earned. The bigger the pay raise, the longer the decay, but a sharp decay nonetheless.
Similar to the shocking low resale value of the car you drive off the lot, think back to when you last got a promotion, won a tournament, published your book or bought that new car. How long did it take before you set your eyes on the next, bigger, better goal and forgot about the thrill and joy of achieving the last goal you had set for yourself?
This is not to say that money isn't motivating. Quite the opposite. We all want a better salary for a better life. But that's just a small portion of what creates long-term fulfillment in the workplace. So if money isn't motivating employees today, or at least not as much as we'd all hope it would, what else can you offer them to keep the wheels moving in a positive manner? The answer lies in the intangibles: freedom, purpose, creativity, connection, balance, time and space.
#4: They Are Creative
Everyone has one or more hidden talents they wish they could bring to their job yet few get to explore those avenues. Forward thinkers of today are learning and embracing this fact.
It's important to understand that creativity is indeed a form of productivity and improves the overall atmosphere in the office while injecting a heavy dose of motivation for your team.
Trust that there might be a new "best way" of doing things in the workplace. After all, that's why you hired such talented people.
#5: They Are Human
The most obvious yet grossly overlooked fact is that employees are above all else, human beings. They are filled with emotions, ambitions, fears, regrets and most of all, that ambiguous self we like to call the ego. Beyond the need for a paycheck, there are a multitude of requirements for them to be fulfilled in life and at work.
Surely it isn't your job as a manager to see that everyone's lives are in perfect harmony and in balance. After all, that's what a life coach is for. However, fulfillment at work is something all employers should strive to achieve. The first step is to acknowledge that employees go deeper than Task Accomplished = Money. A personal tap on the back is worth a thousand cups of free coffee.
Remember, the most productive employees work "with" people they respect. In the good ol' days, this respect came with position and power but in recent times, it has opened up into a two-way street where loyalty is earned both ways. Keep this in mind and try to make sure you give as much as you take.
A Brave New World
Modern workplace managers and executives are going through a major shift in how they oversee their human resources. For every upside, it seems there's an infinite list of downside and risk in transitioning to new views on the manager/employee relationship. Just as Darwin so confidently argues: it's evolution. We can either embrace it or go in the way of the dinosaurs.
"Entrepreneurial business favours the open mind. It favours people whose optimism drives them to prepare for many possible futures, pretty much purely for the joy of doing so." - Richard Branson