When you have your first day at a new job, how do you feel?
Excited, happy..? A bit shy and nervous, but determined to be useful and productive? Or maybe you feel like you own the situation, completely confident and empowered to do good here?
Inspired, motivated, ready to be doing our best - that is how many of us feel on our first day.
Now let me ask you this: after a year or so at the job do you still feel the same way?
Numbers imply that there’s a big chance you don’t.
Gallup survey showed us some disturbing global statistics: only 15% of employees feel engaged at work.
That leaves us with 85% of employees feeling like they don’t want to be at their workplace.
Psychologists talk about “praise addiction”, “job jumping generation” and “unrealistic expectations” and in many cases that is true. However, more often than not the reasons lie within the company itself.
So how do you keep the passion for the job alive in your employees? How do you help them come to work with a smile every day as if they have wings behind their back?
First, we need to figure out what kills it. Truth be told, there are dozens of different opinions on the subject, most of them legit, but some are more common than others. Here are the five most frequently mentioned points that we managed to catch from numerous articles and research written by psychologists, HRs, entrepreneurs and sociologists:
- 1. Lack of validation. When people, especially young people, do not get an “A”, a “Good Job” or a bonus, they tend to feel like what they’re doing is all in vain.
Schooling and social systems operate on ratings: everything can be “objectively” quantified and measured: your income, your social media audience, did you or did you not graduate with honors…
When you grow up surrounded by those who only care about your stats and reward only the best results, it creates a pattern of thinking: if I wasn’t praised, I clearly didn’t perform well. While that is a false logic trap, many fall into it, and start feeling like nothing they do at work is good enough. That makes motivation and engagement sink.
- 2. Lack of clarity and transparency. A tangled web of company hierarchy, unclear areas of responsibility, vague boundaries and miscommunications will eventually lead to frustration, anxiety, and a significant drop in job satisfaction levels in your team. Nobody likes working for the bin, and lack of clarity very often results in hours of collective work spent in vain.
- 3. No tools for the job. The right tool is 50% of success, independently of what you are doing. Inefficient communication channels, messy software kits, and having to use three separate tools to get the job done instead of one will slow you down tremendously. Not to mention the employees who came to you from a company that has better tools will be comparing you to their former employer in favor of the latter.
- 4. Environment. Very often businesses focus on the skills and experiences of potential hires and not their personalities. However, it’s essential for the employee to not only bring value to your business but also to fit in. If the team is not put together thoughtfully, misunderstandings and conflicts are unavoidable. Gossip, disrespect, and toxicity in the collective make people leave even high-paying jobs. By the way, we’ve created a small survey of our own, asking our audience: what do they dislike the most about their jobs. 80% of respondents said “people”.
- 5. Unqualified management. A good boss makes a good team. And the opposite is true as well: a bad boss will eventually drive everyone away. If you are good at what you do does not automatically make you a good boss, that is a skill you have to develop. Hundreds of startup companies fall apart only because of poor management: people just leave, no matter how good the prospects are.
We can keep this list going, but let us focus on these five issues. With proper tools and knowledge, they are quite easy to resolve!
Let’s start with being a good boss. Developing managerial skills is a winding road with numerous obstacles on the way. We are not here to tell you things like “be open” or “be flexible” etc.. That piece of advice is easy to pick up pretty much anywhere on the internet. We recommend an old-fashioned approach: educate yourself. The more techniques, mechanisms, and tools you learn, the more puzzle pieces you have to make up your own unique management style.
What can we recommend for you to start with:
- How to Win Friends and Influence People, a self-help book written by Dale Carnegie, published in 1936
- Outliers: The Story of Success, the third non-fiction book written by Malcolm Gladwell and published on November 18, 2008.
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by dr. Robert Beno Cialdini, published in 1984
- The playlist of TED talks titled “How to Be a Great Leader”
These are very well-known and popular sources, so if you have studied them long ago - great. But for those who haven’t, that would be a great kick-off point. This information is easy to find, useful, and will make a good place for you to start your journey towards being a good leader.
Learning how to motivate people and give them what they need, how to select your team members for them to be comfortable with each other, and how to create a healthy work environment will put you three steps ahead of any team leader who does not know these things.
By simply educating yourself you have already resolved issues 1,4 and 5!
When it comes to structuring your workflows, the best strategy you can employ in the beginning is to research what slows you down and learn from those who have it nailed. Investigate and explore how have others overcome the difficulties you’re dealing with and adopt their solutions to your business.
Do not put yourself into the box of only studying competitors, look broader. It’s actually even better to study other niches because you can start doing something nobody has ever done before in yours. Here’s also a nice book you can study: Business Process Implementation: Building Workflow Systems by M. A. Jackson.
That resolves our issue nr 2.
Now, we’re left with how to make sure your people have all the tools they need to do their jobs well. Naturally, it highly depends on what you do: building wells or selling software; the rule stays clear. You can not dig a well with a baby shovel, and you can not sell software with no internet connection. I mean, you can try, but if your goal is to make money and not to get into the Guinness book of world records, it’s not recommended.
Instead what you should do is listen to your employees. They will always be your most valuable source of information on the efficiency of your toolset. Use tracking systems and surveys to find out what is missing. It also helps to keep track of new products that appear on the market constantly: one of them might just be the thing you were looking for. PruductHunt is your best place to go for it. This website features new interesting startups and provides a space for makers to communicate and exchange experiences.
By the way, Approveit was the #1 product of the day on ProductHunt, and for a good reason; it's one of those tools that make corporate life noticeably easier.
With the help of Aproveit you solve a bunch of existing or potential issues, without making it expensive for you, or difficult for your team.
Approval processes in your company become transparent and easy to manage.
- Your teammates don’t need to remember who is responsible for what. They have a pre-set approval form that selects approvers automatically based on their role in the company.
- They do not have to worry about if the request got to the approver; Approveit sets a daily or weekly reminder to your request, depending on its urgency.
- There’s no need for them to learn how to work with any new tools or apps: approval workflows are right in slack or email.
- Less boring stuff for your employees to do: you minimize manual copy-pasting by automating post-approval actions with the help of Approveit integrations.
- There’s no more space for miscommunications when the history of approval requests is carefully stored and accessible to you at any given moment.
Including Approveit into your toolset makes your workflows smoother, processes more transparent and employees happier. All that, by extension, makes you a better boss, and your company a better place to work at.
If you're not quite convinced, check out our Clearview Software case study to learn about the results you can achieve with us.