It really is true that you get back what you give! Therefore, you should treat your Staff as you would want them to treat your best Customer/Client. Is it reasonable to expect your Staff to be courteous and helpful to your Customers if you as an employer don’t provide them with a living wage and a pleasant and safe working environment?

It is generally accepted that employees give up to 70% of their potential effort and contribution in return for their pay check at the end of the week. This suggests that there is 30% discretionary effort that remains largely untapped in any employee. Could it be that this is the 30% effort that separates the ‘good’ from the ‘great’ companies?

How can you ensure that you ‘win’ that 30% discretionary effort? What is it that employees expect from their employer as a ‘trade of’ for their discretionary effort? What is it that employers in turn expect from their staff? What is required to ensure that there is mutual trust and confidence in the employer – employee relationship? How can the employer – employee relationship be a ‘win-win’ situation?

Let us first start with what you as an employer can legitimately expect from your employees if you treat them fairly and equitably. It would be reasonable to expect that the employee will:

  1. Work hard;
  2. Maintain high levels of attendance and punctuality;
  3. Work extra hours if required;
  4. Develop new skills and update old ones;
  5. Be flexible, for example by taking on a colleagues work;
  6. Be courteous to customers and colleagues;
  7. Be honest; and
  8. Come up with new ideas to enhance the customer service / experience.

In return, the employee can reasonably expect that his/her employer will pay them commensurate with value added, provide opportunities for learning and development, give them recognition for innovation or new ideas, provide feedback on performance, ensure variety in their role in order to stretch the individual, treat them with respect, ensure a supportive atmosphere (especially when mistakes are made), offer reasonable job security and give them opportunities for advancement and growth both personally and professionally.

It is obvious that employers want engaged employees because, as well as being happier, healthier and more fulfilled, they deliver improved performance. Research has repeatedly demonstrated that there is a relationship between how people are managed, employee attitudes and business performance. Positive relationships are evidenced with profit, revenue growth, customer satisfaction, productivity, innovation, staff retention, efficiency & health and safety.

Meaningfulness is the most important driver of engagement for employees together with ensuring that there is a good person-job fit. It is equally important that the line-manager provides the right leadership style in dealing with employees (‘people leave people, they don’t leave organisations’).

So why not ‘TREAT’ your staff as you would your best customer/client and see if you get back what you give and ‘win’ the 30% discretionary effort of your employees!