Bootstrapping is a thing of the Past

Have you ever told someone that they need to pull up the bootstraps? Chances are if you are older than 40 years of age, you have said that to someone. I believe talent can only take you so far and then it comes down to hard work. Do whatever it takes to get the job done, right? Well, not exactly. The old bootstrapping phrase has been replaced with Work-Life Balance. According to an article on mentalhealth.org, “A healthy work-life balance will mean different things to us all. It’s not so much about splitting your time 50/50 between work and leisure but making sure you feel fulfilled and content in both areas of your life. A healthy balance might look like: 

  • Meeting deadlines at work while still having time for friends and hobbies
  • Having enough time to sleep properly and eat well
  • Not worrying about work when you’re at home”

The work will get done if it doesn’t interfere with life. Is there still a way to drive productivity without fear of employees quitting?      

Over the past few years, we have seen a dramatic leap in automation. The advancement in technology is astounding and it’s only going to get better. But is automation driving a wedge in our ability to build personal relationships, especially with those we work with or employ? What has changed in the workplace where more and more employees are dissatisfied and disengaged? What can we do to build a better culture, increase job satisfaction, and experience greater employee retention? 

Trust in the workplace is a difficult thing to earn. Loyalty is even tougher. Chances are, close to thirty percent of your employees are actively looking for new opportunities and you don’t even know it. Over the past few years, the tides have changed and it’s not about the value the employees can provide, it’s about the value employers can provide to the employees. So, what do you, as an employer, do?

Here are four ideas to improve employee engagement without incurring additional cost.  

  1. Invest time getting to know your employees –I am not talking about training programs or teaching your staff new skills.  Yes, you should do that, but we all know that. I am talking about taking the time to really get to know them. What makes them tic? What do they like to do in their free time? Do you know their kids’ names, what sports they play in? We were all designed to have meaningful relationships with one another. Invest in this and you might even discover new talents you didn’t even know they had.
  2. Be Authentic – As leaders, employees look for us to lead.  Being a great leader at its core is knowing how to serve others. Speak truth, inspire faith, and most importantly, be vulnerable. If you do this, you will earn the respect of those around you, and you will build a loyal team of professionals. People want to work with those they can trust.
  3. Value – recognition is powerful, and everyone loves to be recognized. Employees will see that the company values them and their contributions to the success of their team and the company.  Research shows that companies with formal recognition programs have 31% less voluntary turnover than companies with no program at all.  
  4. Autonomy – if you hire professionals, treat them like professionals. No matter how you define autonomy, research shows that when people feel they have more latitude in the workplace, the results are impressive. You will see greater productivity, creativity, and employee commitment.

Leaders that come from the old school thought of bootstrapping are being replaced with leaders that are willing to invest time in people. It is that simple. Invest in people and you will see a great return.