People are inherently selfish when it comes to work. They serve their own interests first and foremost. The nature of what they seek may be different, promotion, stability, excitement, money, but in the end their own pursuits will come before those of an organisation. They may do their best for the organisation, but it will always be second.
Yet the setting of a vision and the buy-in from employees is seen as the way to success, to motivate and inspire. Is it really? Its the people who make an organisation what it is, so put the people first, attract the best and reap the rewards.
I love sport. I watch it, I've played it, i've coached it. There are a lot of similarities between a sports team and a business. The setting of a vision and goals accompanied by values are very much the essence of a top sports team. A sports team, like a business, are full of a variety of people. You have your stars, your veterans, your work-horses, your comedians, your enforcers. The keys to success for the team are respect, hard work and a desire to succeed... to win. When you do win, you share in the spoils, celebrate it, often not forgetting it. It makes you hungry for more. Another key is to have the right people for the job, the best people. In sports, players are the greatest asset. Its the same in business, the staff are the biggest assets of a business.
Even with success, a sports team will still have a turnover of players, just like a business and their staff. Its the way of the world that players/staff are looking for new opportunities, better money or simply a new challenge.
There is a problem for the individual in an organisation. How do you win or succeed? How do you define it? If you do succeed, do you share in it? Thats the problem. Employees often don't benefit, the shareholders or owners do. Theres no prize at the end, a business is ongoing with few or no points to celebrate. How then do you motivate your employees or expect buy-in when organisational success is distinctively separate from the individuals within it?
There is one big difference between the sports team and a business. That is in sports, enormous resources are put into the players. Coaches, doctors, trainers, physiotherapists, nutritionists etc are provided in attempt to allow the players to become the best they can be. This training is ongoing, continual and every team is looking for an edge on its opposition. This is done despite the fact that players come and go from a team. Players have IPPs (Individual Performance Plans) in order to achieve their own goals and achieve individual success. They follow a process, with success being the outcome of getting the process right, not only for themselves, but for the team.
This should occur in business too. Accept the fact that staff will come and go, but while they are there, assist them in setting IPPs and put resources into making each staff member the best they can be. Every employee will have different goals, some will want to reach the top, others will not, but tailor a programme to each individual and make it ongoing.
Staff can be given a range of different options, from tertiary qualification, leadership courses, on the job assistance and even opportunities for self improvement that aren't work related.
This investment in staff is an act of faith by the organisation and will directly affect the attitudes towards it. Although the individual staff don't share in the spoils or get that sense of victory or triumph as a sports team, the triumph will be an individual one at the completion of each new course. If this improvement is ongoing, then so will the motivation of the employee and the willingness to see the company succeed.
An organisation should focus on the process of continual improvement of staff and using this as a tool of motivation.
By investing in staff the organisation will attract people to the business, who through their own interests, will see the company as a way to improve without cost to themselves. Although you could argue they would be using the company, the company would still benefit from having self-motivated, career driven people as part of the organisation. If anything when it comes to promoting it's own, the company will have a greater selection of people to choose from.
You would expect a better quality of applicant to get a job in your company, so therefore you would expect that the knowledge, ideas, and abilities being bought into the company will increase. The staff will become full of people who can work autonomously therefore saving time overviewing performance issues. This can only help the company become more productive.
The reputation of the organisation will be enhanced. It will be one trusting and caring for the employees. It will become an organisation and a place where people WANT to work. This creates the buy-in that organisations are actively looking for.
Of course some will leave, but the likelihood is that more will stay. The overall quality of staff will improve and the organisation will have a higher skilled work force.
1. The organisation needs to make a shift in thinking in order to adopt this
2. Someone needs to implement and oversee the programme. It can be made transparent where people can see what each individual in the business is doing what each employee has completed
3. Communicate with each employee. Allow them to choose a path. Assist them in this. Clarify areas using performance appraisals and employee goals that need improvement and communicate these
4. Celebrate the success of each employee upon completion of the course. Make it the prize, the something that is celebrated by individuals and amongst staff