Saving Somebodies

“All week we’ve been nobodies, but we’ve punched the clock, let’s go be somebody!”  cally-graves

Listening to the radio (yes, Virginia, there is still such a thing in the car), I contemplated the sentiment expressed in the song above, and all I could think was what an utter failure that employer is. All right, so maybe I’m a work wonk if I can’t even lip synch a song without thinking of employment, but that whole refrain is so pitiful. “All week we’ve been nobodies…” – pathetic that employees spend that amount of time feeling lower than dirt.

What might the employer of “nobodies” be thinking?

Who cares if they churn out the product? You do, or you should. Low morale and stress eat away at cooperation and commitment. They have a negative effect on productivity and turnover.

We’re meeting our production goals.  In these lean, mean times, think about how much more effective and productive the organization would be if your people felt an investment and a sense of belonging in your business.

Our turnover isn’t high. The best people– always in demand– are likely to leave a soul-sucking business for a job that appears better. Even a little turnover is expensive!

Our pay is the best. Don’t get me wrong – pay counts. Nobody is going to work way under value; however, money is not the only factor in retaining employees.

So, what do we do? Treat employees with the professionalism, respect, and dignity they deserve. Transparency, honesty and fairness in your dealings with employees foster trust and commitment. COMMUNICATE! LISTEN!

Short and sweet, communicate our objectives, clarify the big picture and an individual’s role. Many people have no idea what they contribute to the overall picture! Don’t make it us (management), vs. them (staff). Ask for ideas and really listen!  Explain why some ideas don’t work and implement the good ones. Have a facilitator organize meetings, and channel whining and complaints into constructive thought and action. Have an email question and answer published company- wide; let it be anonymous if the person desires. Put it on paper, if you don’t have email.

Reward Employees
A good job description, tied to a really clear raise and promotion structure is critical. A defined bonus plan is good for certain jobs. Reward creativity. The State of Texas asked employees for cost saving ideas and gave those whose ideas were implemented a percentage of the dollar savings. They saved millions! Ask employees for suggestions on improving their jobs and their rewards.

Lighten Up
If our business is full of strife, unhappy people, with a gloomy environment, “Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch onto the affirmative…” just like this song says.  Everybody moans about work, but if the place where we spend half our lives isn’t at least pleasant, some people are gonna bail.

There’s a lot to say on this subject but this is a blog, not a book. Since I seem to be into songs, “Hit me with your best shot” – I mean thoughts, on the topic of employee retention.

When you feel like Atlas carrying the world on your shoulders, we’ll carry some weight with you.  Want to discuss, moan or query regarding personnel issues? Participate in this blog.

Cally Graves is an Industry Liaison between business, workforce, and education.  She has 35 years of experience in workforce development, primarily working with employers in Houston, Texas and the Gulf Coast region.

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