As a leader how do you maintain a team of highly productive and happy staff when the competition for pay and other opportunities abound? Just like my clients in nature centers, parks and museums the dollars available for increasing pay levels is limited. What else can you do? As Peter Drucker, the management guru, once said, “culture eats strategy for breakfast,” it’s all about culture. Motivation and payment are not the same thing.
I’ve written about culture before, the leadership characteristics, creating a healthy culture and building your culture. There is more you can do to retain, recruit and create a happy and productive team.
Remind and highlight how meaningful the work is. We inspire people, offer knowledge and provide enjoyment through history, nature, the present and the future. Tell them how what they do everyday really matters.
We also do this with story telling. People remember stories more than facts. At company meetings, car rides and lunches we share stories of past projects, client testimonials, impacting a visitor, an innovation we created or strange things that happened on the road. We often tie these stores to our core values. Also, showing them we live those values.
Show and act with care for your people. You can do this with regular coaching. Find out what their aspirations are and help them get there. Learn a little bit about their hobbies. If they share a personal difficulty try to provide some ease and empathy. Take them to lunch.
People will tell stories about what is going on and they become their reality. Often these stories are negative and can damage morale. The method you use should vary depending on the message. If we have hired or fired usually the department head gathers their department to discuss it. If it’s hey I thought you might like to know it might be a mass email. Walk around and talk to individuals too, usually that news spreads. Being transparent builds trust.
Once you have set goals and objectives, let them run with it. If people build, create or achieve with their ideas they will believe in it more and will take pride in their work. Of course, they still need to work with a team, follow process and hit the mark, yet the more they can contribute their personal touch while achieving the more motivated they usually are about the work.
There is no magic bullet. People will still come and go. There will still be ups and downs. Yet, the more you build culture the more you will succeed. Meaning, pride plus motivation equals productive and happier workers.
And a final note it’s all about the people. Check out what our team says about that in this video.