It should go without saying that your team is the most valuable part of your business. A solid and engaged team supporting you says a lot about your business. The best way to get and keep that team is by taking a good look at them.
You have to ask yourself: Do I have the right people? Are they doing the right things? Is someone stretched to their limit? Do I have a backup in case this person is away? What is their purpose?
That, my friends, is the word I want you to focus on. Purpose. Companies that excel review their business to ensure each role and each person has a true and relevant purpose.
How do you ensure employees are driven by purpose? How do you evaluate your team for purpose? You may be surprised to learn it can be as easy as taking a few days to observe. Taking note if there’s any of the following going on:
Spread too thin.
We all believe the steps we take to complete a project or task is the best way. We don’t want someone else’s opinion because they’ll muck it up. They won’t know how your way makes sense.
Depending on the job, autonomy is not necessarily a bad thing. Let’s face it, you want employees who don’t need their handheld. Employees who can follow processes without too many questions or who have the gumption to proactively solve problems as they arise.
But giving an individual the latitude to take on too many tasks or to be a part of too many projects runs the risk of them being stretched too thin. No matter if they have the right expertise or not.
Purpose-driven employees want to succeed. They’re not only in it for themselves, they also want to see spectacular results for you, the team, and the business. But their excitement and dedication could make them think, “no one can do this better than me”.
They turn down help. They volunteer for every new project. They bring ideas to the table they’ll promise to see through. Before you know it, that employee is tangled in a web of tasks. Burnout becomes real. Rather than accept help, they continue to stretch and stretch until there’s nothing left.
It’s cliche, but it’s true: We only have two hands and so much time. The last thing you want is to see dedicated employees maxed out. One person shouldn’t be doing everything by themselves. Even if they prefer it that way. Their purpose becomes mixed with duty and obligation.
There are many ways to approach this “problem”, but simply throwing resources at them is not one of them. Well, not without some boundaries. You may find you need an additional staff member. If so, then think through if you want them to have the same capabilities or similar capabilities so they can take on other tasks. It’s also essential that the team member who is stretched understands that this isn’t a negative reflection on them. That this is their opportunity to train (or manage) another person to do some aspects of the work so you can continue to use their expertise at a high level.
On the flip side, other companies have people so segmented there’s no backup if someone is out.
Employees go on vacation. They get sick. They’re selected for jury duty. Obstacles are part of life. When they result in someone needing to take time off work, it can reveal a lot about a company’s backup processes.
As I mentioned before, having one employee doing too many tasks is not doing anyone favors. The same can be said for employees or departments who don’t ensure there are people who can be back-up support.
Cross-training employees is necessary if you want to avoid a scramble. In some roles, well-developed process documents are enough, but in others, you still need staff who have the capabilities and skillset.
Say you have an employee whose sole job is payroll and they take an unexpected leave of absence. If no one else is trained to cover, then you run the risk of a disruption in pay for the company, mistakes being made, or things being done in a way that creates clean-up work for the employee who’s just come off leave.
When evaluating your team, ask: Should more than one person hold the knowledge and skillset for this particular task? Is there a process I can create that’ll make it easy for someone to step in if that person is gone? What is the purpose of having a single point of failure?
Lack of purpose.
People in the workplace today care about the future. Not just the future of the company they work for, but the future in general as it relates to them.
This means you need to ensure each employee feels valued and that they have a promising purpose at your organization. As an example (maybe a bit of a flippant example), someone may have a role that is simply pulling levers. It’s no longer good enough for you as their manager to say their purpose is to pull levers. Explain what happens when the levers are pulled, how does it serve the customer/client/community.
A great manager will go the next step and relate that purpose to the employee as an individual. Ensuring that their success in the role also relates to what is important to them. To draw out the purpose you have to ask questions. Discovering an employee’s goals or personal purpose will encourage them to take action. They’ll feel empowered. They’ll take charge. When unplanned conflicts arise, they’ll feel more confident to handle them.
When managers can directly engage employees through evaluation and conversations, they learn what they’re passionate about. What drives them? Once that is figured out, the next steps are simple.
Having a team, or employees that are driven by Purpose has never been more relevant than it is today. We have multi-generations in the job market and each generation has its own set of values. If that’s not enough, we have the craziness of this year where there is a united feeling of uncertainty that you might actually be feeling yourself.
Ensuring you have the right people, doing the right things for the right reasons, positions your company to succeed. Not just from a financial standpoint, but also from a team and a Purpose-driven standpoint. It allows you, the company, your team, and your clients to be a part of something that feels right, that feels good.
Need help driving purpose in your organization? Schedule a consultation with us, we are here for you.