This is the fourth blog in a series of five.
In January I heard a keynote by Jamie Taets of Keystone Group International about going “beyond the paycheck.” Her talk focused on helping us, as leaders in our organizations, understand that paying people well is not enough. To retain top talent, we need to do more. What most resonated with me were her five reasons why people leave their jobs (her information came from the American Progress Organization). The reasons were all spot on and I have seen each and every one of them in action. Using her talk as inspiration, I’ve decided to write a blog series on those five reasons and how you, as a business owner, can address them.
This week we’ll address not providing a framework for success.
In Daniel Pink’s book Drive he defines the three things that everyone needs in order to truly feel engaged: Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose. For this blog, we’ll just look at the first item, because Autonomy actually comes from having a clearly defined framework for success. It seems a bit counterintuitive at first, but the more detail and definition you can provide an employee about their role and how to complete it well, the greater freedom it provides them. They don’t have to stop and wonder if they’re working on the right things at the right time. They don’t have to worry that they’re dropping the ball on something or have let something slip through the cracks. They have the autonomy and power to control their focus and their schedule.
There is nothing worse in life than having to try to guess what your boss wants from you. Employees that feel they are continually chasing a moving target or who are trying to read the minds of their superiors, will quickly move on to a new, and better defined, role.
Every employee should know exactly what is expected of them from day one. Clearly defined roles take the guesswork out of success and show each employee exactly how they can be a star performer. It takes time and energy to make sure that every role in your company is clearly and explicitly defined, but it will save you that effort 10 times over when your staff know exactly what to do and when to do it, without having to stop and ask every day.
You might try to argue that employees don’t want to be told exactly what to do every day of their lives, but by giving employees this framework for success, you are actually giving them the ability to control their days. If they know exactly what you need from them, they are able to set their own schedule of when and how to get those things done. You’ve defined their sandbox for them and they get to play however they want within it.
Providing a framework for success gives your employees the clarity they need to be highly productive and highly engaged.