October 22, 2008

When it’s the staff who are crap

The Boss Benchmark talks about how to be a fab boss, but what about when the staff aren’t up to scratch?! Employees that are in roles they don’t actually enjoy can be a drain on company finances, the culture and productivity. There is plenty a boss can do to fix that. The saying “people leave bosses – they don’t leave jobs” is very true. It seems the boss is a bigger influence on an employee’s happiness than the role itself. In workplaces that have a fantastic culture total fulfilment tends to not actually matter as much. Some people stay in roles for years simply because they enjoy the team and atmosphere. It doesn’t matter if the job is disgusting, boring or full of hassle. How do you create such a culture? Well, in tonnes of ways! 35 in The Boss Benchmark to be exact. A few of them are:

Remember your workers are human
They have lives outside work. There are plenty of things that can happen in workers personal lives that need attention during work time. It is about building trust. If you have your ear to the wall to check if that is “yet another personal call” you won’t be getting the best from your worker. Leniency when workers need it the most will be remembered and inspiration to work harder when they are back. A company that insisted EVERYTHING personal must be done outside work hours failed miserablely. Staff were totally unfocused (worrying about things) and also took many more sick days to get these things done. Workers are humans’ first, workers second – that’s why they didn’t hesitate taking tonnes of sick days. A bit of trust would have gone a long way at this company.

Don’t tolerate tension
It is not always the big stuff that causes the most tension – sometimes the little stuff is MORE detrimental if not addressed. In one workplace a couple of workers with bad attitudes ruined the productivity of the whole team. The other workers lost their motivation to work hard because management were allowing such low standards of behaviour to continue.

Stop whispers in the corridors
There is no room for secrets in a super successful company. If gossip is how workers at your company find out ‘what is really going on around here’ then something is very wrong. Few workers feel they are TRULY in the know about what is happening at their workplace. A really decent communication strategy makes gossip redundant.

Don’t avoid the yuck
Don’t look for the best things within your company – look for the most terrible. Then fix them. Constantly seeking out the weakest parts of the business then doing something about them is simple but genius. Too many people would rather ignore the yucky bits. I suppose that is the difference between any ol’ company and one with true ‘X factor’.

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