So many employees fall behind from the first moment of their workday. How? They're often caught in workplaces that have cultures that do the same things over and over, regardless of how their environments change — workplaces that don’t commit to regularly challenging employees to constantly learn, rethink their jobs and value, or try new things. Employees are stuck reliving yesterday’s workday over and over.
In a period of exponential change, the most successful organizations are flexible and opportunity-focused, and strive to empower employees. These organizations constantly gather new ideas, perspectives and opportunities – the key to developing a responsive and successful performance strategy. The more today’s managers help employees learn and grow, the more they encourage more robust employee thinking — which is critical to sustainable company results.
A Smorgasbord of Opportunity…
I come from a large Italian family, and we rarely went out for dinner (there were too many of us and besides, our food at home was terrific). However, I do remember one time when we went out to a smorgasbord – a buffet. My siblings and I descended on the amazing food tables and started to fill our plates. Dad called us back to our table, took our large plates away and gave us small plates instead. We were then instructed to follow him two times around the food tables – not taking anything – we were just to see what was available. The third time around we could help ourselves to small portions of things we had never tried before. He promised that if we did this, we would discover at least one new favorite food; we would change the way we think. He was right. I discovered artichoke hearts – and still love them today.
The point? Great managers constantly guide their employees to “walk around the company table” and let their employees explore different experiences through both formal learning and on-the-job training. This expands not only what employees know, but it encourages broader and more strategic employee thinking – employees find areas of greater abilities, develop greater skills and bring stronger performance to the organization.
Additionally, an organization focused on constantly growing and educating its employees significantly influences employee loyalty. And the key to a powerful, high-performing organization is a stable, consistent and free-thinking workforce.
Jay Forte is a nationally ranked thought leader and President of Humanetrics. Jay guides organizations – their leaders and managers – in how to attract, hire and retain today’s best talent. He is the author of “Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition” and “The Greatness Zone – Know Yourself, Find Your Fit, Transform The World.” Jay is a member of SHRM, ASTD, the National Speakers Association and the Florida Speakers Association, and you can follow him on Twitter.