Hey Managers: Give a Turkey, Don’t be a Turkey!

24 Nov

I have said in my blog postings, time and time again, that trying to motivate your employees by throwing money at them does not really work. So throw turkeys! That’s right, hit them with a turkey. Just kidding, what I mean is the holidays are a time when management, acting together or individually, has that rare opportunity to let down the defenses. When the holidays are upon us, the best thing a manager can do is hit the floor and ask people what their plans are. Then when you have shown your employees that you are interested in them, hit them with a gift card for a turkey, a turkey card might only be $20 but it will make a big impression.

How many times have you been to the market, out to eat, hit the drive through, or were clothes shopping and when you were being rung up for your purchases remembered that you had an old gift card in your wallet/purse for $20. You say, “O-yea, I have this gift card too” then the cashier takes $20 off your bill and you feel a lot better about having to fork over your cash. That’s how people feel when they get a turkey gift card each year from their managers, they already know their grocery bill is going to be outrageous because of the turkey dinner they have to buy for an entire family, but management where they work has stepped in with a gift to soften the blow.

There is also a bit of psychology associated with the simple gift of a gift card around the holidays. Employees, over time, feel like the people they work with are like a family. They but heads a little, they disprove or approve of what eachother do from time to time, they support eachother in bad times, and they congradulate eachother in good times; all the while, knowing they are under the watchful eye and guidance of management. So when management says, “we have a turkey gift card for each of you this year” employees feel like they have had special thought given to them, and feel a little loved in their company. Like a child that gets a very special present for Christmas, they feel like they have been thought of and are important.

So during the holidays don’t act like a turkey, give a turkey and be a friend and reinforce that bond of family amongst your employees.

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Give a man a check and you will pay his rent for the month, give a man an opportunity and you will help him build his dream!

21 Nov

I like to read studies about management and what motivates employees. I have noticed that what motivates employees, and is shown to do so time and time again, is not necessarily what managers do. I don’t understand, why do managers, which I am studying to become one, not implement programs and procedures that are proven to have the strongest results? I believe that the studies I am reading end up clouded in a managers mind once they get out of college, or once they have been in an environment long enough to get away with doing what they have always done.

I would like to talk about forward momentum and how it is the greatest motivation technique. When you sit down at your computer and Google “what motivates employees” you are guaranteed to see on the first page of results articles that say, “not money.” I agree, money does not motivate me. Let me explain something I AM BROKE AS A JOKE!!!! but money does not make me want to work harder, it only makes my life outside of work easier. I get bonuses, great pay, and tons of vacation, but what motivates me most is the thought, the dream that one day I will have an office with a corner view. I work harder for the dreams of moving up to one day have the opportunity to come to fruition.  

Like most workers, let me correct myself, in accordance with the American dream and the fundamental appeal of capitalism, I hope to attain my dream of reaching the top of the pay scale and having all of what I believe I deserve. I work hard for the opportunity to move ahead. I know that money will come to me; I know I can earn money, but I dream in corporate offices and business suits when it comes to work. I don’t need money, I need an opportunity to work for my dream.

I am sorry, I have taken this to a personal note. I did not want to do this, I like to remain objective, but I feel like I speak for the general worker when I say money isn’t everything. I mean I know that no one will tell their boss this, but I hope that the managers reading my blog, and the future managers in class with me as I write this posting will take my words to heart. Give a man a check and you will pay his rent for the month, give a man an opportunity and you will help him build his dream!

You Have to Be Real With People

18 Nov

While blogging about management tactics I feel like I have gone so deep into the process of management that I get away from fundamentals. What I mean is that there are some really simple ways to manage people. Looking to the extremes is great, I like to cover out of the box stuff like that, but some of the most effective management tactics are the ones right in front of your face. My previous blog posting mentioned one of the tips from How to be a Good Manager: 8 quick tips, http://goo.gl/bFuKX, this blog is a great aggregation of quick tips on how to be a good manager. I want to expand on one more of these tips before I move on, and that is their #4 “Be Real with People.”

You have to be real with people, all people, and all the time. This means being yourself and letting people know who you are. Don’t have multiple personalities, don’t be one person at work and another at home because this could cause you to have some serious credibility questions down the line. People need to know that you are a regular person, meaning that you aren’t some psycho alcoholic who litters and drives like a nutcase, outside of work.

To take it a little deeper, you need to stay true to your fundamental values at work. Don’t compromise what you believe in, don’t back down to a superior when you wouldn’t to a subordinate, and be as ethical in your person as you are in your business practices. Stability, normalcy, and accountability are all respectable traits as a manager and will be rewarded with respect and admiration. The thing to remember is to be real to yourself, no matter what your position on the corporate ladder.

Some Good Tips for Management

16 Nov

I recently read a posting on workawesome giving 8 tips to being a good manager. These 8 tips were great, and when applied to current economic events, technology, and corporate culture they can be expanded upon. The blog, workawesome, one hell of a spot to learn about management techniques, these 8 tips are great.

The first tip was “do your job”, simple and straight up! A lot of managers can’t seem to grasp this concept. They spend too much time making sure their employees are doing their jobs, and lose track of what they were hired to do, and that’s manage. Being a manager means overseeing the work of others, this means take a step back and let them work. Implement systems to gage their performance and monitor those systems. The bottom line is that as a manager you should have hired competent employees, capable of doing their jobs, so gauge their performance, don’t micromanage their routine.

Another note about doing your job as a manager is that even though you shouldn’t be in your employees way when it comes to doing their daily routines, don’t be afraid to jump in and lend a hand. Turning a wrench, crunching some numbers, and sweeping the floor should never be below anyone! And I mean ANYONE! Getting out on the floor, production or office, and lending a hand shows your employees that you are focused on making sure they can achieve their objectives without taking over what they need to do. Think of it from the prospective of a parent, you want to show your employees to you support them, but you also want them to know you have confidence that you know they can get the job done.

Being a manager is difficult, so don’t complicate your job with responsibilities that are not yours. Let your employees know that you are watching them do their jobs, not in a totalitarian manner, without taking over their independence to make situational decisions that pertain to their responsibilities. Check out the article, I am going to expand on the other tips in it in my following posts. http://workawesome.com/management/how-to-be-a-good-manager-8-quick-tips/

More on Internal Social Networks

14 Nov

The benefit from social networks is broad and deserves a lot more attention. The benefits for communication between your workforce, and the unity that social networks build make them a formidable tool in any company. I would like to dive further into the benefits of implementing a social network for internal use.

The major benefit is that you as a manager can observe your workforce and their moral level. You will know what they think about company news and information, upcoming events, and their impact on their everyday work life. An internal social network gives you the ability to observe the grapevine (also called the gripe vine) in real time.

Another benefit is that your employees will be encouraged to be in contact with each other through the medium. They will get to know each other on a more personal basis, and build a peer to peer mentoring program without them even knowing that they are doing it. A cohesive workforce is a workforce that works in synergy.

Another benefit that managers experience from implementing an internal social network is that, though it seems unprofessional, it keeps your employees out of your office. Though managers should have an open-door policy, they are most beneficial to the company when they can close their door and get some work done. Implementing a social network for your employees gives them a place that they can disseminate company information; this means that all the small questions that can be answered by another employee will be answered. Thus, leaving you to focus on doing some work.

The benefits of an internal social network are as large as your mind can imagine. Anything that you need to do, as far as interaction with your work force, can be done online through the internal network. From chit-chat to confidential information, internal social networks are the pipeline for communications.

How to Keep Your Employees Healthy and Save Money

10 Nov

A new tactic for employee management has to do with the rising cost of keeping your employees healthy. This is the movement to offer wellness programs at work. Wellness programs, paid by the employer, often administered at the workplace that offers employees the ability to quit smoking, lose weight, get in shape, etcetera. These programs have a great impact on showing your employees that you care and the bottom line.

The rising price of health insurance is motivating employers to take action. Most employers pay over half the price of insurance for their employees, if they offer insurance, and they are always looking forward to a way to save. This is driving programs that help their employees get in shape, like building a gym at the work place and implementing stop smoking programs. These programs not only bring the overall price of offering health insurance down, but can create immediate discounts from the health insurance companies.

The impact that these programs have on employees is great too. Employees feel like their employer cares about their welfare. This can have a serious impact on the bottom line through fostering intrinsic motivation. Employees feel like working harder for an employer who is working hard for them.

Treating your employees well will help your bottom line, teaching THEM to treat THEMSELVES well will have an exponential effect. Employees need to know that you are looking out for their welfare, that way they can lookout for the welfare of the company. Most employees don’t understand how business is cyclical, in that working hard will produce more benefits for them, but they want a show of good faith up front.

Keep in Touch With Employees & Set an Example

9 Nov

The premise that managers and employees are to remain separate in the work place is a misconception that needs remedy. The fact that management, in most companies, is already segregated from their workforce by having an office is detrimental to establishing who they are and what they expect from their people. When managers post up in their offices and don’t get out to the production floor, or office floor, their employees lose touch with them on a personal level, as well as a professional level.

What can managers do to keep in touch with their employees? Well, first off they can have lunch with them on a regular basis. I do not mean take them out to lunch, but eat where most of your employees eat. If they are salary and they go to a nearby restaurant then eat there on a regular basis. If your employees are hourly and they eat in the break room, eat in the break room once and a while. Breaking bread with your subordinates is a great way to say, “I might be your boss, but I’m not just an ass hole in charge”.

 For managers that are separated from their employees by geographic location, have a Skype chat during meetings. Keep it informal and your employees will get to know you and what you expect from them. The idea is that leading by example is more powerful than directing by force, so if you want to show your employees how to act, SHOW your employees how to act. They will catch on the more you are around, the more you make your presence known, and the more you enforce desired behavior by displaying it.