I was consulting a CEO the other day who was complaining about the challenges she is facing with motivating and retaining staff. She also had to recently fire people who just didn’t fit in. I told her that she needed to bring her staff into alignment with her company’s goals. “How??” she asked me enthusiastically. I’ll share what I told her with you today.
1. Starts with staff recruitment and socialisation:
When hiring, don’t just hire for job skills but for cultural fit as well. Once you’ve finished the interview, start informing the potential recruit about your company’s long-term goals, and spend time explaining your culture. This will help the new recruit decide if this is the right place for them.
When a new recruit joins, he or she should not just be given an employee handbook and explained the rules of the workplace, but they should also be told of the company’s mission and Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG). Make them feel excited about joining your company. Mr. JW Marriott, former CEO of Marriott International and its current Chairman, would meet recruits personally on a regular basis explaining how things are done at Marriott. I know you’re busy but taking some time to help socialise new recruits will do wonders for their motivation, engagement and alignment.
2. Develop a higher purpose and/or mission:
If possible, develop a compelling purpose or mission statement (but remember, it must be genuine!) I like clothing company Patagonia’s mission statement, which states “Patagonia: Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” It attracts a certain type of person, and no doubt deters certain other types. Here at Falak our purpose is “to build stronger economies and happier societies by unlocking business and human potential.” It’s easier to get people to do something if they feel they are part of something special, something big. Do this, and you’ll be another step closer to having motivated and engaged team members.
3. Develop a BHAG:
BHAG stands for Big Hairy Audacious Goal. Why just settle for a 3 or 5-year goal? Why not go for something really big and audacious? A BHAG should be 10 to 20 years into the future, and only have a 70% chance of being achieved. Back in the 1980’s, Microsoft set a BHAG of putting "a computer on every desk and in every home.” At Falak our BHAG is to build $100 million company by 2030, and to impact the lives of 25 million people through our Learn and Grow initiative. Why not be as audacious yourself?
4. Make your company a “cult” by giving your employees a special name:
We human beings like to belong to unique groups, tribes if you like. Why let your team members satisfy this need outside of your company? At Chili’s employees are called “Chili heads”, at Zappos they are “Zapponians” (which inspired me to call all Falak Team Members “Falakonians”), and at the Ritz-Carlton their employees are called “ladies and gentlemen” (Incidentally, they have a lovely credo, which states “we are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.”). Give your team a special name and you’ll align them even more. Oh, and let them choose the name!
Need help with implementing any of this? Get and touch and we’d love to help.
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