You Can Build a Great Place to Work — Here are a Couple of Tips to Help You Do Just That

DRiVEIf someone’s baseline rewards aren’t adequate, or equitable, her focus will be on the unfairness of her situation and the anxiety of her circumstance. You’ll get neither the predictability of extrinsic motivation nor the weirdness of intrinsic motivation. You’ll get very little motivation at all. But once we’re past that threshold, carrots and sticks can achieve precisely the opposite of their intended aims.
Daniel Pink, Drive:  The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us


I attended a terrific program today at the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce. (Great job by the North Dallas Chamber, and the co-sponsor of today’s event, YP Connect – a group I am too old to join, by the way!).  There was an excellent panel discussion, with four panelists;  Bronwyn Allen (Bronwyn is a regular attendee/participant at the First Friday Book Synopsis), Tom Montgomery, Tip Housewright, and Kevin Wallace.

encouraging-the-heartToday’s topic:  ”Making Your Place a Great Place to Work.”  Each panelist shared such valuable observations.  At times, I felt like I was listening to a tutorial on how to successfully build a company based on the principles taught by James Kouzes and Barry Pozner in their essential book, Encouraging the Heart:  A Leaders Guide to Rewarding and Recognizing Others.  They each shared stories about how they have made their companies a “great place to work,” and each story seemed to fit somewhere in one of these “seven essentials of encouraging” (from the Kouzes and Posner book):

• The Seven Essentials of Encouraging

1)  Set clear standards
2)  Expect the best
3)  Pay attention
4)  Personalize recognition
5)  Tell the story
6)  Celebrate together
7)  Set the example

But here are a couple of points that I especially want to point out.  Tom Montgomery, of Montgomery Coscia Greilich (Certified Public Accounts), said this:

“Salaries; bonuses; these are just baseline.  Find creative ways to show appreciation above baseline.  You need outward, visible signs of appreciation.”  (emphasis added)

In other words, the extra mile, the extra “gift,” the extra appreciation, “above baseline”  — this is critical in creating a “great place to work.”  (Take another look at the quote above by Daniel Pink to reinforce this important point).

And Brownyn Allen of High Profile Staffing pitched in, and reminded us all to make each “sign/gift of appreciation” a personal one.  She told of the time that one employee, who never gave her order for a preferred coffee for a “staff coffee run,” told Bronwyn that she really did not like coffee.  Bronwyn said she should have known that, and she added that we all need to know each person on our team personally – their likes, and their dislikes.  This is what Kouzes and Posner refer to as “personalizing recognition.”

So, here are your two lessons:

Take car of the baseline – and then, go above baseline
Personalize your recognition and appreciation

Take these two steps, and you will have a better chance of building a “great place to work.”

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