What really brings out the best in employees — money, flexibility, pizza parties, hitting goals, or something else?
While those are good starts, they aren’t what motivates most employees to do the best they can.
The changemaker: You — their leaders.
Turns out, employees are most motivated when they get affirmation, feedback and rewards from their bosses, according to a study from Great Place To Work and O.C. Tanner.
Meaning brings out best in employees
They crave meaning. And when the boss helps them connect their work to what’s meaningful it’s especially effective.
Here, in our 3-Point from HRMorning video series, we have HR leaders and experts who’ve built or studied great teams. They see and promote connection in the workplace and that’s helped them identify what brings out the best in employees. One of our experts has an acronym around it: FRIENDS.
Click, watch and listen for more details on that and more.
Transcript (edited for clarity):
Forget the stale doughnuts. And the cliché pizza parties.
That’s not even remotely what brings out the best in employees.
So what does? You do.
Employees perform better when they find meaning in their work and make connections with their bosses and colleagues. That’s according to McKinsey researchers.
The problem: Just half of employees find that level of meaning and connection today. So how can you bring out the best in employees if meaning means so much?
Amy Leschke-Kahle from ADP has insight from research and personal experience.
Leschke-Kahle: People want to be paid attention to. And they want to be paid attention to really frequently. And they want to be paid attention to for the best of themselves. So not the kind of standard — what we might think of as feedback, telling you what you do wrong. My job as a leader is to tell you what you do wrong. No, it’s not. Your job as a leader is to help people pull out of them what their own uniqueness is.
And once you commit to paying attention to employees and colleagues, here’s a tip on how to really connect.
Lawless: So now I have this FRIEND framework. It stands for Family, Relationships, Industry, Entertainment, Needs and Dreams. So when thinking about getting to know your colleagues, your clients, I encourage people to think about people’s lives like a timeline and build out their stories by asking questions within each of these categories.
With relationships established, trust comes next.
Gordon: Trust is one of those big things. Can you trust the people that you work with? Do you trust that they have your back — and that they’re saying good things about you when you’re not in the room? And that they’re going to help you. If you are maybe not doing your best that day, that they’re going to trust that that’s because maybe you’re having a bad day, not because you’re a bad worker.
Truth is, we aren’t surrounded by bad workers. But sometimes people need help being their best selves. To give that help:
- Pay attention. Know what matters to your people and let them know it matters to you.
- Make FRIENDs. Try Rob Lawless’ approach. Find out about people’s Relationships, Industries, Entertainment, Needs and Dreams
- Build trust. Be a leader that employees can depend on first. Then show your trust that they’ll be the same.
Start today to bring out the best in employees, and the best is yet to come for your team and company.