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November 3, 2011

Could Employees Tell You Why They Matter?

Filed under: Communication,General HR Buzz,Management Practices — Tags: — Joyce Marsh, HR Consultant, SPHR @ 9:34 am

My first “real” job – aside from babysitting and a stint working at the movie theater (I still shudder at the thought of cleaning the popcorn popper!) – was at a bank.  As with most young women starting out in banking, I was a teller.  I had one of those bosses who had a genuine passion for his work.  He had started out as a teller as well, and had progressed to branch manager over the years.  He was a father of four, which undoubtedly accounted for his patience with a group of young employees.

Andy listened to what we had to say during our staff meetings, and integrated our ideas into plans to make the branch better for our customers.  When it came to a misunderstanding or issue with a customer, Andy always stood up for us because he knew we were doing what we were supposed to do.  He told us often how every part of our job contributed to the success of the branch.

I thought of him today when I read Patty Azarello’s blog via TLNT. She gives an example from a leadership book she read about a young man who believed his job replacing pens and deposit slips didn’t matter.  She discussed a perennially-popular topic in HR: motivation.  She suggests three keys to successful motivation:

  1. “Every job matters.”  As a leader, you need to understand every job in the organization, and how that job connects to the big picture.
  2. “Make sure each employee knows why their job matters.”  She writes of making time with employees to connect the dots.  It is not generally apparent to a frontline employee how their job affects the business, so you have to do that for them.
  3. “Employees who know why their work matters do a better job.”  When someone knows why what they do for a company makes a difference, they can be empowered to do more.

“Helping everyone understand how the P&L works and if their job is part of the P or the L, and how their job impacts the profit, makes a big difference not only to morale, but to cost reduction, creative thinking, and innovation.”

Andy made sure that the employees he worked with knew that they mattered.  What can you do today to connect the dots for your employees?

Read Patty’s blog and share your thoughts on employee motivation with us.

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