It's All About the People

“I believe the real difference between success and failure in a corporation can be traced to the question of how well the organization brings out the great energies and talents of its people.”

Thomas J. Watson, Jr. founder of IBM said those words and they were powerful then and even more powerful today. It isn’t enough to have good policies, practices, products or services if you don’t have the right people who are excited about what they can accomplish for your organization.

You notice that Mr. Watson didn’t just say you need to have talented people working for you—he said that the organization bears the responsibility of helping to bring out the best in its employees—their “great energies and talents”.

How do you go about bringing out the best in your employees? Here are some things to consider:

· Listen to your employees—find ways to ask them what they think either through employee surveys, focus groups, or on-on-one conversations! Don’t immediately discount their suggestions. Remember, they have experiences each and every day that you as a leader may not have so listen and act when appropriate!

· Invest in your employees—provide development opportunities so that they are increasing their skill set. There are many ways to provide development opportunities that don’t cost a lot of money including mentoring, cross training, task force participation and job rotation. Most industry associations provide cost effective webinars that you can make available to your employees. Use your own expertise and that of other leaders to pass along to your team—they will enjoy learning from you!

· Respect your employees—treat everyone with dignity and acknowledge each person’s individual skills and abilities. Call people by name—this sounds so simple but it is so powerful and can have a great impact on how people feel. I worked in the hospitality industry for many years and one year on an employee survey I heard something that has stuck with me—an employee who, when asked what her manager could do to help her do her job, said “call me by name!”

· Pay your employees—this sounds like such a given but have you looked at your compensation programs recently to be sure you are paying fairly? Does your organization have a compensation philosophy and if not, perhaps it is time you did. You want to be able to have a strategy in which you understand your competitive marketplace and so that you don’t find yourself in the situation of losing one of your superstars to your competition over pay!

· Recognize your employees—be sure you and your managers acknowledge good work and thank employees for what they do. Thank you costs nothing and can be tremendously impactful! Ask your employees what they’d like as rewards and recognition. You may be surprised that what they are looking for doesn’t cost a lot of money!

So, follow Tom Watson’s advice and look for ways that you can bring out the “great energies and talents” of your employees and watch them blossom, grow, and make your organization a success!

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Managing people is the most challenging part of any leader's day. And that job certainly is not getting any easier. The Big Book of HR will provide any HR professional, manager, or business owner of any size organization the information they need to get the most from their talent. It is filled with information on everything from the most strategic HR-related issues to the smallest tactical detail of how to manage people.