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You know they’re there, counting down the seconds, ready to skip out the door as soon as the big hand strikes 12. Sure, they report for work and go through the motions, but they’re not exactly destroying the competition. How do you wind up the clock-watchers?

You know they’re there, counting down the seconds, ready to skip out the door as soon as the big hand strikes 12. Sure, they report for work and go through the motions, but they’re not exactly destroying the competition. How do you light a fire under those who think “good enough” is, well, good enough? Build a tight roster Any hockey coach will tell you that you can’t get to the Stanley Cup without a carefully selected team. The same is true in business. “In high-performance companies, they don’t just hire anybody. They work hard at finding people who are going to fit in,” says Gervase Bushe, associate professor of management and organization at SFU’s Faculty of Business Administration. Once you’ve added players to your roster, take the time to help them bond with colleagues. “You don’t hire someone and leave them alone. You spend time helping them integrate,” adds Bushe. Be a culture club We all need a good reason to get out of bed in the morning, and your employees are no different. Create a corporate culture they’re proud to be a part of. “Someone could be filing papers at Greenpeace and be incredibly motivated because they care about the mission of the organization,” notes Bushe. But you don’t have to be saving the world to keep the positive vibes flowing. The bottom line is this: “Do [staff] see their leaders as holding the needs of the whole ahead of their personal needs, or do they see them as looking after their own butts?” How you answer this will tell you whether your troops are happy, or just punching the clock. If it’s trivial, toss it Pointless jobs don’t benefit anyone, says Don Sherritt, a consultant with Western Management Consultants. “Otherwise, people end up thinking, ‘Why do I bother doing this? Nobody cares.’” If a task doesn’t have a clear goal, don’t assign it. Or, as Bushe puts it bluntly: “Don’t create stupid jobs.” Say the magic words Remember what your mother told you: say please and thank you. “Let people know that you appreciate they’re doing [their jobs] well,” says Sherritt. “The time to do this is when you can go to somebody and say, ‘You know, in your area, we never have any mistakes or any issues. I probably come here too seldom to just say thanks.’” Bushe has been in large organizations where everybody knows they are important to the success of the organization. “Treating people as if they matter is the key thing. That attitude starts at the top and works its way down.” Money talks.... sometimes The carrot-and-stick approach might intuitively make sense, but be careful how you wield performance-related bonuses. “You provide a service, I’ll pay you. That’s fine,” says Bushe. “But you get customers instead of employees.” He suggests rewarding the group as a whole, rather than as individuals. Sherritt’s company, for example, gives everyone the same percentage bonus. “It sends the message that we all contribute to the performance of the company.”