I still remember hiring my very first employee several years ago when I was running a health and fitness magazine. I needed an assistant editor and she was kind, knowledgeable, and we really got along. Looking back, I was so naïve.
If I were to be honest, the main reason I hired her was because she was the first person to respond to my ad and I was really excited that someone wanted to work with me.
It was a short-lived hire. I had to let her go three weeks later because she wasn't living up to the role I needed her to. I was constantly micromanaging her because I didn't feel like she had the qualities needed to fulfill the role, even though she probably would have flourished had I given her the space to do so.
Whether it was a misguided hire or poor leadership skills from my end, I wish that I knew what I know now when it comes to creating the perfect mix of inspiration and effective management.
According to Glassdoor's survey on HR And Recruiting Statistics for 2017, 63 percent of millennials believe their leadership skills are not being full developed while 71 percent are likely to leave their companies in the next two years because they are unhappy with how those skills are being developed.
If you're looking for perspective on how to create a company culture that keeps excelling, look no further.
Accept the fact that some employees may naturally lose interest overtime, no matter how hard you try.
Jim Munson, CEO and Founder of Brooklyn Roasting Company, explains:
"It would be nice if everyone was passionate about our product, coffee, but sometimes an employee's enthusiasm for the work they do simmers to a boil over time. We see tattooed kids walk through our door practically drooling to get their hands on an espresso machine. Sometimes they stick, other times they get bored and leave within months."
And he's okay with that. It's the nature of the business.
If you're looking for engagement and happiness from your employees, it starts with you.
As managers and leaders, we can get caught up in our own madness. When you're constantly giving your time, energy, and thoughts, it can be draining. Munson continues:
"If you want people to try harder, you have to try harder yourself. If you want people to be inspired, you have to inspire them. In other words, people rub off on each other. Positive energy, curiosity, enthusiasm -- these things are like magic dust that leaps off one person and lands on another constructive little cooties.
On the flipside, of course, you deserve what you accept. A manager or team leader who puts up with poor performance is basically sanctioning it after a while. Don't be that person. Be a dynamo with a smile."
Prepare them for success.
Every leader has come to a moment where they need help but have the belief that no one else in this entire world could possibly do it right.
It may be true, but the goal is to get someone there who can do it pretty darn well. Mix in time, patience, and a good handful of training, and you may end up surprising yourself. Munson says it best:
"Employers promote people who they imagine will excel in new roles with greater responsibility. By training people well, you increase the chances of that happening.
If a company fails to train their employees adequately, they will perform inadequately and appear less qualified for promotion.
One way we try to position people for promotion is by cross training up. By letting subordinates work alongside managers in order to prepare them for management. It may seem simple, but this can be a powerful opportunity for both employees and employers."
Money is great, but development is even better.
In the previously stated Glassdoor survey, companies with a formal engagement strategy in place are 67 percent more likely to improve their revenue per full-time equivalent on a year-over-year basis.
So, not only is planning for engagement and leadership opportunities for your team a good thing to do, it's actually beneficial financially for the entire company.
Where to start? Muson swears by this:
"We think people are motivated by more than just money, and sometimes a promotion satisfies a person's quest not just to take home a bigger paycheck but to take on bigger challenges and be proud of more then the amount of money they make.
This year we will send a dozen people to attend the Coffee Association of America trade show. This is an educational forum in order to advance their skill sets beyond what we can offer here at our headquarters. We hope to benefit by helping the men and women who work with us develop concrete skills that are valuable not just our company but to them, no matter where they work."