As a leader in your organization, you might question how important employee satisfaction is when trying to produce a bottom line result. And to that, I would say if you’re not producing the results you’re committed to, you might want to look at employee satisfaction as a powerful lever to get you there.
What we know and where to start:
While much of what is listed below may seem obvious, it is in the day-to-day practice of these actions that separates ordinary leadership from breakthrough leadership. In part one, we looked at the three main motivating factors of employees today—WHY, WHAT, and HOW. So how do we access and stimulate these factors, and move from theory to practice? Starting with the premise that at the heart of breakthrough results is satisfied and engaged employees, let’s take a close look at five key elements:
Help your employees realize their “why”—what’s most important to them. In my twelve years of experience, almost everyone has a ‘why’, the real reason they do what they do. Sometimes it is to provide for their families, and other times it is because they love helping their patients or clients. Finding out what makes them inspired people will help you put them in a position to take inspired actions and ultimately to produce extraordinary results. Their results then become the source of inspiration to produce even greater results moving forward.
Listen to your employees—get their concerns and their commitments, not what you think they are. Too often we come to conversations “knowing” how it is going to go, or what they’re going to say. Create a safe space of transparent and authentic communication to get in their world. Make sure they are encouraged and supported to color outside the lines, and venture into uncharted territory to expand possible results they could achieve.
Inquire what results were most and least satisfying for them and then have them build on that to create even bolder milestones and accomplishments. Brainstorm with them to look for ways to either eliminate what doesn’t work and/or implement what does work to enable a sense of achievement.
What does satisfaction and success look like from their perspective?
When people have a hand in creating something, they’re naturally going to take greater ownership and accountability of that initiative. Have your employees participate in creating their goals and objectives. So rather than telling them what needs to get done, create ways for them to take personal responsibility and accountability – owning all the results as their own.
Invent fun and creative ways for them to own and drive this effort. Things like celebrating who took the biggest risk starts to have people relate to failure differently. Starting meetings with employee shares about a moment or person that inspired them to walk out onto the skinny branches, and thus produce unprecedented accomplishments and results.
Empathize (“to understand and share the feelings of another”)
Make a big deal about their wins—big or small. In addition to one-on-one’s, have regular opportunities for public acknowledgments—send emails and celebrate your people (Town Halls, etc.) Acknowledge what it took for people to go for the gold, to be uncomfortable pursuing breakthrough results.
In our experience, when a leader creates a culture that encompasses each of the five E’s above, people’s satisfaction goes up, and they produce extraordinary results.
In that pursuit, you will find elevated Employee Satisfaction and Breakthrough Performance.
What can you do TODAY to foster this with your employees?
What results can you imagine and inspire them to achieve?