When Delta Air Lines announced plans to pay out a record $1.6 billion in profit sharing to its 90,000 employees – the equivalent of about two months pay for each of them – workers across America likely turned envious.
If only their employers would do the same.
Of course, not all companies can afford such lavish bonuses, but there are other things CEOs can do to boost employee morale and, at the same time, reduce the odds that their best workers go looking elsewhere for employment, says Troy Nix (www.troynix.com), a motivational speaker, businessman and author of Eternal Impact: Inspire Greatness in Yourself and Others.
“Money is just one thing that motivates employees, and it’s not always the primary motivator,” says Nix, founder and CEO of First Resource Inc., an association management company specializing in manufacturing networks.
“Other factors – many of them having to do with working conditions or managers – are more likely to influence whether someone stays with a company or heads out the door.”
A Randstad US study on why workers part ways with employers reported that some of the reasons most often cited include: They dislike their direct supervisors; they feel their companies view profits or revenue as more important than how people are treated; there aren’t enough growth opportunities for them; their companies fail to make the best use of their skills and abilities; the work culture is toxic; or their departments are understaffed.
Nix points out that bonuses or pay raises, while desirable, wouldn’t solve any of those core problems that lead to employee turnover.
“The secret to maintaining and growing a quality workforce lies in having a people-centric culture,” Nix says. “Certainly, there is no one silver bullet that will solve a company’s workforce dilemma, but there are ways businesses can create a worker-friendly atmosphere that will result in happier, more productive employees who want to stay with them.”
He says some solutions that will keep employees satisfied and even enthusiastic about their work include:
Help them understand the “why” of what they do. “The majority of employees usually know what they do, and most of them certainly understand how they do it,” Nix says. “But few understand why they do it. If you want to improve employee engagement, I encourage you to answer the question ‘why’ before you do anything else; and don’t just do it once, do it regularly. Habitually communicating to employees the reason your business exists will directly elevate the commitment of your people to the ‘why’ of your existence.”
Give them purpose. ”More than ever, people want to be part of something that has purpose and meaning,” Nix says. “For young people especially, going to work needs to be about more than just making money. Leaders should be aware of these aspirations and build a company culture that enables employees to find purpose in what they do. Imagine the success a business could have if the employees looked forward to coming to work on Monday with as much joy as they look forward to their weekends.”
Provide support for increasing their knowledge and productivity. Great leaders understand that the majority of employees perform their job functions without coming close to their full capacity, Nix says. Yet, among the top reasons employees leave is they see no room for career growth where they are, or they don’t feel their companies make the best use of their capabilities. “It’s essential for managers to find ways to tap into their employees’ skills,” he says, “because doing so is going to be good for the employee and good for the company.”
“Winning the loyalty of your employees translates into individuals who are dedicated to making the company better,” Nix says. “They will take the extra step to ensure the needs of the customer are met, and they will literally think about the company on their off time because it is that important to them.”
Troy Nix (www.troynix.com), author of Eternal Impact: Inspire Greatness in Yourself and Others, is the founder, president, and CEO of First Resource, Inc., an innovative association management company for America’s manufacturers. Nix, a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, served in the armed forces for a decade before moving into the business world.