Women in Leadership

Good Help is Hard to Find

George J. Morse asked:

Does it seem like it’s becoming more and more difficult to find good help? Young men and women, entering the workforce today, don’t seem to be as motivated as the previous generation of workers. When taking a new job, this new workforce doesn’t seem to be very appreciative of the opportunity they’ve been given. They show up late for work, treat customers with indifference, and will gladly spend the whole day yakking, if you let them. They seem to lack enthusiasm for anything, except the end of the workday. Does this sound like an accurate description of the situation?

I’ve heard many complaints like these from senior managers and business owners who are convinced that “good help” is hard to find. The search is on for good employees who can help businesses and organizations increase productivity, efficiency, customer satisfaction, and most importantly, profits. So imperative is the need for “good help” that American businesses are locked in bitter competition with each other to find it, and the practice of Head-hunting (stealing employees) has become the rule rather than the exception. Have you ever recruited an employee from your competition?

If so, how did that work out for you? Did you find the “good help” you were looking for? Or were you ultimately disappointed when you discovered your new recruit was no better than all the others? Maybe you found the “good help” you wanted, only to have a competitor steal it away. Maybe you’ve gone so long without finding “good help”, you’ve started doubting that it’s possible to find. Or maybe you’ve decided that “good help” doesn’t even exist, and you’ve stopped looking altogether.

Well, I have some good news. “Good help” does exist! If you’re having trouble finding it, it’s because “good help” isn’t something you find; it’s something you develop. That’s right! Inside every employee in your organization there is a fantastic employee just dying to get out! It’s the job of leadership to inspire people and bring out their best. By shifting your focus from recruitment to development you can have all the “good help” you want.

You might be thinking, “…but I already have an employee development program.” Most companies do, but training alone isn’t enough. We are living in a time when most workers have experienced the negative effects of corruption and greed that seem to permeate the American corporate culture. At one time or another, American workers have or will face the terrifying reality of corporate restructuring, downsizing, outsourcing or scandal and bankruptcy that threaten their financial security. At the same time, workers are witnessing corporate profits soar.

With the current corporate culture in America, is it any wonder why young workers won’t “buy in” to the company plan? Why should they break their backs for companies that will “kick them to the curb” for the sake of higher profits? Why should they care about the company’s customers?

With the current corporate culture, is it any wonder that workers are guarded and suspicious of promises made by companies about career opportunity and retirement plans? Given what they’ve experienced, is it any wonder why workers only give a halfhearted effort when performing their duties? Is it any wonder they don’t trust anything the boss has to say?

Before you can successfully develop your workforce the issue of corporate corruption and greed must be addressed and resolved within your own organization. As long as your company places profits above workers needs, your workers will place their own needs above company profits. However, as soon as your company begins to look out for workers’ interests, your workers will begin to conduct themselves in a manner that serves the best interests of your company. Companies that do not resolve this issue will continue to spend a lot of time and money developing “good help” for their competitors.

In order to bring out the best in people, to tap into the well of “good help” within your current employees, the following must occur. Start by acknowledging the need for leadership in your organization. The top person in the company must come together with senior management and collectively, implement these three steps:

1. Set the course by creating a vision for the company that offers something for everyone in the organization, and provides for the long-term security of your workers. Then clearly identify the company’s mission; one that supports the realization of the vision.

2. Accept the primary responsibility of leadership, to take charge, to be responsible for the success or failure of all outcomes and demonstrate genuine concern for the success of the workforce. Understanding the difference between management and leadership is the key. Management is focused on the completion of tasks, while leadership is focused on the accomplishment of the mission. Management develops processes, while leadership develops people.

3. Get busy developing the kind of quality employees you’re looking for by inspiring and motivating your workers through, teaching, training, mentoring and coaching. Make this a part of your every day culture and it will pay huge dividends.

That’s all there is to it! It really is that simple! If you can’t find “good help” then stop looking and start developing. With the proper focus you can get the kind of results you’re looking for. It doesn’t cost a lot of money. It doesn’t take a new degree. All it takes is a decision. Your decision!

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