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What would your company be like if everything your employees did was in the best interest of the business, like decision making, productivity, attendance, teamwork, all while being highly motivated?

I’ll tell you. You would have a world class organization. The world is changing, and companies that change the way their leaders interact with their employees will become the icons of their industries.

The world is changing, and companies that change the way their leaders interact with their employees will become the icons of their industries.

As much as the free flow of information over the last 20 years or so has shaped the lives of the younger generation, it has changed the way other generations think. This has occurred not only in the workplace, but in society as a whole. There has been a change in the way in which we send, receive and process information.

This paradigm shift leads us to search for new motivators and sources of passion. Managers and leaders need to learn to integrate their thoughts and intentions into the mindsets of the workforce.

The search for ways to keep employees motivated and engaged will intensify until success is facilitated with new practice.

The new practice will require a deeper understanding of what is expected and the challenges involved. Innovation is found through the encouragement to think outwardly in a supportive environment. Freedom to seek new solutions and having the support to take calculated risks yields excellent results and has proven to be highly motivational, especially in the younger generations.

Below are 15 key points for creating the sustainable employee (through management and leadership training) that will help achieve success in today’s workforce.

  • Explain the “Why”. Explaining the “why” when giving instructions make the objective clear to the employee as they now understand the logic behind what you want them to do. It also gives them a sense of importance and inclusion, and opens up the door for questions and interactions.
  • Develop a supportive mentor-mentee relationship between manager and employee. Understanding the employee’s challenges enables the manager to provide key support and help them work through difficult issues. It also evokes confidence in the employee by allowing them to venture out beyond their comfort zone to find better solutions.
  • Give the employee the freedom to think outwardly. Passion drives the desire to explore and seek out more complex problems. Failure is part of the exploration process and is a great learning tool in a supportive environment. Give them the freedom to explore, to fail and to seek new solutions. As today’s business environment becomes more complex, so do the answers required to solve them.
  • Provide enough resources to get the job done. Few things can be more frustrating to an employee that wants to get the job done right than not having the correct or enough tools, resources or time. Having the right resources and knowing how to use them will result in increased productivity and maintain a highly motivated employee.
  • Work in an organized environment. Why? Because it’s much easier to see progress. Progress is happiness. Happiness creates enthusiasm. Enthusiasm drives passion. Passion makes money. The organized environment promotes organized thinking. Don’t let the progress get lost in the clutter and chaos of a disorganized workplace.
  • Be crystal clear with the direction and objectives. A clear objective removes any guesswork and enables the employee to solely focus on the path required, searching for new innovative ideas along the way. Achieving defined objectives is achieving success, and makes it clear the employee is making a difference in the company – a vital piece of the motivational puzzle.
  • Let them know the clear vision of the company’s leaders. Where the company has been and where it’s going is crucial information that contribute to stability. If we want stability in our workforce, we need to provide it for them as well. At the same time, a vision for the future opens up forward thinking, and promotes very promising thoughts that sooth the needs for advancement. Individual growth becomes not only possible, but probable.
  • Be humble. Share some of your own learning experiences, good and bad. It lets the employee know you are human and sets the stage for them to share some of their inner fears and concerns, opening up a deeper level of communication. A more trusting relationship results from both sides, support becomes a given and performance soars to new heights.
  • Maintain structure. Structure contains all the bounds to operate in – all the direction and flow of the workplace. It’s like a child in their parent’s home – safe and secure, with nothing to worry about but being a child. Structure does something similar. It’s something they shouldn’t have to think about, just work within. When an employee has to think about structure, it’s an extra burden that will inhibit performance. As the manager provides structure in the work environment, the employee can focus on doing their job without distraction.
  • Employees want that sense of hope and enthusiasm. It’s up to managers to help make that happen. A vision of life going well is a strong motivator in itself – so, how do we help create that? Progress. Common sense solutions supplied by management and the team creates hope that anything can be achieved. This support becomes key for the future outlook of an employee.
  • Always do what you say you will do. Integrity is the backbone of relationships. Be a strong leader whether it’s support or discipline. It’s important for the employee to know that action will follow your words. If an issue is promised to be taken off someone’s plate, it’s a comforting thought to know that will happen. At the same time, if someone has an attendance issue, they are less likely to continue that behavior if they’re aware discipline is around the corner. This is part of structure and support, and builds credibility with employees.
  • Focus on the results you will achieve. Don’t focus on the obstacles involved with getting there. An obstacle is a learning opportunity – not a roadblock and should be communicated as such. Positive, advanced thinking is very powerful, and it’s important that the employee understands what they are about to achieve, and the impact the achievement will have on the company. A strong sense of value is then adopted by the employee which is a crucial component of their wellbeing in the workplace.
  • Create a safe place where outward thinking is appreciated. Encourage people to ask for help and share ideas. When you create a safe, comfortable environment where they feel good about asking for help, they realize they have support. Confidence builds and then motivates them to explore more on their own, which is the source of innovation.
  • Remove difficult pieces while maintaining a challenge. Empower employees by making their jobs doable, not impossible. By taking care of some of the difficult parts of the project at hand, or parts that they are not ready for, it makes the objective within reach. It’s important to always maintain a challenge by not making it too easy. Intellectual engagement is imperative to growth. But taking some difficult things off the employee’s plate creates a supportive, team atmosphere where they will push to do their part.
  • Measure the results. There is probably no greater motivator than achievement. There’s no question that hitting the target fuels enthusiasm. However, results that are not measured are hypothetical and often skewed. Missing the target opens the door for proper investigation, leading to diagnosis and finding the cause- a learning opportunity.

In the changing landscape of the workforce, now, more that ever, is the time to embrace a different way to motivate, manage and create passion in our people. It starts with the way our leaders train our managers and how we introduce them to the supportive environment we need to operate within for peak performance.

Passion is the driving force behind the innovation companies require to be world class. This forward moving business environment removes restrictions on the flow of information, promotes forward thinking, builds more complex problem-solving skills and breeds a level unity in the workplace that we have not seen in many decades.

With this in practice, we will watch employee retention soar to new heights, productivity escalate and leaders become developed for future roles… and we wonder what is next – for we cannot stop thinking about the changing times we are in. Change is happening quickly, and not keeping up with it is what has contributed to decline of the growth in productivity as per the Bureau of Labor Statistics over the last 15 years. Creating a sustainable workforce has been a difficult task for many industries.

It’s time to catch up, as a company, a country, a planet. By learning how to create sustainable employees, if you’re not already a world class organization, you will be.

© Robert Bellospirito 2019.

Robert Bellospirito has successfully built, run and exited 3 companies in 4 different industries. He has employed over 800 people directly, and his companies consistently outperformed their industries.