Have You Gauged Your Staff’s Enthusiasm?
By Steven E. Sacks, CPA, CGMA, ABC
Picking up from my January 31 post about motivation, did you ever take a survey of your firm’s staff to gauge its level of job satisfaction or how enthusiastic it is about working in your firm or company?
Every so often you should conduct a survey that asks anything ranging from clarity of purpose and level of commitment to flexibility and advancement. It costs nothing to do but will yield important anecdotal data to be addressed by senior leadership. You may find that staff wants more input on developing business or increased exposure to clients and customers.
The job of building enthusiasm does not reside with one person. Everyone from the managing partner or the CEO to the first year staff person should be empowered to offer ideas and opinions; this may be tough in certain areas when it comes to compensation or benefits, so set realistic expectations.
Think about creating a committee that comprises all staff levels (excludes top leadership) whose focus is on workplace improvement, efficiency and innovation. Not all good ideas start at the top.
“Our employees are our most important asset.” How many times has this trope been repeated? Are they more important than your clients or customers? Has the firm created—for lack of a better descriptor—a buddy system where everyone has a confidant to share concerns or frustrations? Creating a workplace that allows open and honest communications will go a long way toward employee retention — one of the biggest challenges facing firms and companies today.
Everyone Needs to Be In the Know
Communicate, communicate and communicate some more. Share the initiatives and potential issues the firm will face and what their ramifications may be. Staff wants to be—needs to be—included on matters that may impact their careers. If it is not possible to get everyone in the same room or office, then find another way to communicate.
You can create an internal newsletter. It does not need a fancy masthead or state-of-the-art graphics. The content, clarity and completeness is what matters. Perhaps conduct webinars or conference calls that have a definite schedule and stick to it. Employees will view this as part of the organization’s commitment and values and not as a gimmick or stopgap measure. Allow and encourage feedback. By two-way sharing you make everyone feel they not only have a financial investment but an intellectual investment as well.
An enthusiastic, committed workforce should be among the top three missions of your firm. The more emphasis placed on this, the greater rewards in the form of increased productivity and profitability will be generated.
You cannot force people to be enthusiastic, but you can make the work environment conducive for generating and sustaining enthusiasm. This may sound like a “duh,” but how often is this overlooked by firms and companies of all sizes?
The first step is obvious: ensure that in individuals whose goals and motivation are in synch with the position they have. Or for those applying for a position, consider what is left unspoken is just as important as what is said in the interview process. You will want to isolate and select those individuals who have a track record of results related to the type of work the position requires. Last, you need to step aside and let your people do what they are good at and what is needed to be done.
The more employees know about leadership’s goals and expectations, its ability to create a team mindset and establish a career roadmap for staff, the more enthusiasm is created, resulting in better overall performance.
So when you conduct an employee satisfaction survey, you won’t be afraid of the feedback. In fact, you will be confident and eager to hear the results, especially ideas that can improve the firm or company.
As a firm or company leader, if you can achieve this, you’re doing something right in the eyes of your staff.
Steven Sacks is the CEO of Solutions to Results, LLC, a consultancy that specializes in helping individuals, firms and organizations meet the challenges of communicating with clarity and purpose. Visit his website at www.solutions2results.com.