If you don’t know the answer, it may be time to take a look back at 2019 and figure out what you should change for 2020, says Deb Boelkes, author of The WOW Factor Workplace: How to Create a Best Place to Work Culture.
“In a strong economy, people have their pick of good jobs. If your culture is one of disengagement and toxicity, your most talented workers will be looking to leave. You’ll be left with mediocre and low performers who have little incentive to do more than the bare minimum,” she says.
Boelkes recommends this checklist to pinpoint problems with your culture. In 2019, did you:
Hire slow and fire fast? (Or were toxic people allowed to thrive?)
When your company is made up of talented, enthusiastic, hardworking people, employees won’t want to leave. That’s why you should hire only people who will fit in with the culture you’re creating—and get rid of bullies and others who create a toxic culture. You may be reluctant to fire someone you yourself hired, but don’t wait till they do maximum damage. Fire him or her now.
Make adjustments and break things to make WOW happen?
Adjustments are made all the time in WOW factor workplaces to make things even better than they already are. The adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is NOT the way WOW factor workplaces become WOW factor workplaces. Sometimes you must break things intentionally to make continuous dramatic improvements that enable WOW to happen.
Encourage employees to interview elsewhere?
Boelkes is a strong believer in a piece of advice she learned early in her career: Always be interviewing. While this applies to managers seeking the best possible job candidates, she says it also applies to employees. Everyone should interview elsewhere from time to time. This is one way to ensure neither the employee nor the business gets complacent. It’s crucial for employees to know their value to the outside world.
Hold people to high expectations?
WOW factor workplaces have a well-documented set of behavioral standards and performance expectations. When someone isn’t meeting these expectations, leaders will collaborate with him or her to develop an improvement plan that spells out SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Reasonable, and Time-bound). Each party is responsible for holding the other accountable to his or her end of the bargain. The underperformer must either get his or her act together or move on to something else.
Refuse to tolerate excuses?
Some people hold themselves back. They may think they aren’t as good as others or as prepared as others to assume a leadership role. Maybe they haven’t had as much education or they’re from a low-income family or any of a whole variety of reasons. Don’t let this happen. Tell employees they don’t need to have had a model upbringing or have earned a PhD to live up to their potential. They can do their best work with what they have right now. No excuses. They’ll be amazed at what they can achieve with their talent and wherewithal alone.
Nudge people out of their comfort zones?
Strong leaders look for the potential in employees and push them out of their comfort zones. They show employees that they have faith in them. They mentor them along the way. When you do this, employees are inspired to make the best use of their talents and push past their perceived limitations.
“You can always improve if your culture isn’t yet where you want it to be,” concludes Boelkes. “The year 2020 is a fresh start. Commit to start moving in a positive direction and build a culture that will make you and everyone on your team feel lucky to work for such a great organization.”
About the Author:
Deb Boelkes is not just a role model heartfelt leader; she’s the ultimate authority on creating best places to work, with 25+ years in Fortune 150 high-tech firms, leading superstar business development and professional services teams. As an entrepreneur, she has accelerated advancement for women to senior leadership. Deb has delighted and inspired over 1,000 audiences across North America.