Harness your people power
John Herbert shares the wisdom gained from years of motivating employees
After business ideas and strategy, the most vital issue in the successful operation of a business is the quality and the motivation of the workforce. 40 years of retailing experience have shown John Herbert that it is often the most neglected area and one that provides the greatest opportunity.
A successful US business author, Steven Covey, comments that the difference in performance between a well-motivated employee and one who is not motivated is as high as 500%. Whilst I would not endorse such a difference, in my view there is at least 100% difference.
The very first essential qualities for a manager are integrity and honesty. Your employees will forgive you for any weakness you may have, providing you treat them fairly.
Energy, enthusiasm, dedication and trust are the necessary elements to inspire people to excellence. When dealing with people, I have always striven to win without anybody losing.
As Regional President for the world's second largest retailing company, I learnt 'zero tolerance' for those associates who did not perform and for those who were not fully committed to the company, irrespective of how much they might have contributed to the company in the past.
Hard, yes, but there is no alternative. Everybody in the company must strive for excellence. If things then go wrong, they must look at what is wrong and not whose fault it is, then put it right and move forward.
Try to make work a happy place to be. If your employees can honestly say the quality of their time spent at work is as high as that spent in their private life, then you have won.
Get away from the 'minute mentality' to that of getting the job done exceptionally well. Does it really matter if the job takes a little longer if work feels like a good place to be?
The utmost respect
I never cease to be amazed how rarely employees are allowed to make their own decisions, although very often they know best. After all, they are doing the job. Any successful business must delegate responsibility.
�Communicate with your people as much as you can.�
In many businesses, the top manager carries a heavy load. Share the load: give every employee a little 'sack' of responsibility. You will be amazed how motivated they are and how much lighter your load will be.
Communicate with your people as much as you can, keep them informed. Make them feel important to the business. They are!
Finally, treat every single person with the utmost respect. The cleaner should be treated no differently from the manager. For 17 years, I managed a retail company with 1,200 employees and I knew every single one by name. Many managers said that it was very good. No, it was not, it was just pure common sense. After all, what is more important in my business than the people who work for my company?