What Makes Great Employees

  • Employers can prevent burnout and improve productivity.   There is a depth of despair and struggle and cynicism that even white collar workers are feeling in the face of so much demand and so little positive feedback.  
Employees have 4 core needs:
  1. Renewal.  Don’t expect employees to work more than 40 hours/week.  Allow them to take a break every 90 minutes, which will result in a 30% higher focus and peak performance.  Encourage them to take more real vacations, and they will have higher focus and engagement at work.

  2. Emotional Needs.  Employees need to feel valued.  Don’t just focus on what they are doing wrong.  Treat them with kindness and respect.  Remember the Golden Rule, and treat people the way you want to be treated.  Express appreciation, and say thank you.  Be nice to your employees, and they will work harder for you.  


  3. Focus.  Allow employees to focus on one thing at a time, and reduce the amount of multi-tasking you expect.


  4. Have a sense of purpose for employees.  They need to feel that what they are doing matters.  Then, they will have a higher job satisfaction and will be 3 times as likely to stay with an organization.
One company that succeeds in this area is Costco.  They treat their people better by paying them twice as much as similar employees elsewhere, which saves them money in having a lower turnover and training costs.    Source:  “Why You Hate to Work - Preventing burnout and improving productivity,” Tony Schwartz, The Energy Project President and CEO, New York Times, June 2014.  The Energy Project helps organizations improve on the job engagement and performance.  (CBS Morning News, June 5, 2014)
  • We all want to feel appreciated, that our efforts are valued, that our contribution makes a difference. Hearing even a simple expression of gratitude can inspire us to do our best best.  That is what researchers at the London School of Economics found as they analyzed more than 50 studies that looked at what motivates employees in the workplace. Their conclusion:  It's not the paycheck.  Along with the sense that our work is meaningful and interesting, the best motivation, they found, comes when someone appreciates what we're doing. As one expert put it, "Your raise in pay feels like you're just due.  Your bonus gets spent, and your new title doesn't sound so important once you have it; but the sense that other people appreciate what you do, sticks with you."

    So, why do we sometimes not give others the appreciation they deserve? Some may feel it makes them appear less powerful, less in charge. Others might feel that, "It goes without saying," or that "A job well done is expected," and "Thanks should be reserved for only the most exceptional cases."

    Some people express appreciation only if they think it will get them something in return; and then, there are those who just don't even think about it. But, there are also those who do think to say thank you. For example, recently a hard-working employee received a note of appreciation from his boss. It did not come at an annual review. It wasn't a tactic to get the employee to work harder.  It was unexpected, sincere and timely. It came from a thoughtful leader who simply took a few moments to acknowledge someone's dedicated efforts. That employee went back to work with a renewed desire to do even better.  Sincere appreciation is always appropriate, always needed, and always well worth the effort.

    Think how much you value the people in your life who express gratitude. They tend also to be optimistic, and they are more apt to see the positive in people and situations.  When offering appreciation becomes our way of life, it changes the way we see the world, and we come to notice the good things and good people around us.    (Lloyd Newell, Music and the Spoken Word, April 24, 2016)

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