What is the biggest influencer in your business? What has so much power that your employees can be persuaded to slack off (even if they’re normally awesome) or excel (even if they’re normally average)?
Don’t believe me?
Have you ever followed the flow of traffic? Even if the flow of traffic is going 15 mph over the speed limit?
If you’re being honest, you probably answered yes.
Now here’s a better question, why did you follow the flow of traffic, even though you know you’d be breaking the law?
Answer: people. You were influenced by the other people driving around you. Other people were already speeding without getting in trouble, so why shouldn’t you be allowed to as well?
Whether we want to accept it or not, the people around wield a great amount of influential power over us. We’re social creatures, so when we see others doing something we want to copy them and be accepted for doing the norm.
Even the most rational of people aren’t completely protected against this influence. And that includes your employees.
If you want to retain more employees, you need to surround each employee with a mix of other employees who are a positive influence on them.
Strategy 3: Find the Right Person
When you surround your employees with positive influences, you create a culture of positivity, motivation, encouragement, hard workers, or whatever else it is you’re looking for in employees.
This starts with the management.
Put the Right People in Power
Being a good worker does not equate to being a good leader.
I worked at a golf course over the summers during my high school years, and I loved every minute of it because the management was terrific.
But towards the end of my final summers working there, a new manager was hired and put in charge of scheduling the shifts and watching over some of the cart staff responsibilities (I was cart staff).
This manager was one of the best workers I have ever known. She was always doing something to keep the clubhouse organized and presentable for customers. The only time I ever saw her take a break was when customers made her slow down by striking up a conversation.
What she wasn’t very good at was managing people.
She was so obsessed with the tiniest of details that if she saw anyone not keeping busy, she’d fill their time with menial tasks that were going to be needlessly repeated in another couple hours after the clubhouse closed.
And scheduling shifts? She couldn’t do that to save her life. She’d schedule employees to work on days they’d requested off, forcing them to find their own substitutes, and would change shifts in the middle of the week without warning. This caused more than a few people to show up late or miss shifts entirely.
She also, unintentionally, showed favoritism to the employees working behind the bar (mostly because that was her main responsibility).
As an employee, her work ethic positively influenced all the other employees around her. We all wanted to work harder to keep up with her.
But as a manager, her inability to recognize what tasks were immediate, terrible scheduling skills, and blatant favoritism negatively influenced other employees. Some employees quit because they were frustrated with the situation. Those that remained found themselves on one side of a divide between the cart staff and bar staff.
Management is meant to be a position held by a good leader who can positively influence employees. Remember that the next time you’re looking to promote or hire someone.
Hire the Right People
Once you have your all-star roster of management, the employees beneath them come next.
After you’ve determined which camp your applicants lie in, remember to never settle for “good enough.”
When you hire someone who is “good enough,” that’s all you’ll ever get from that person. They settle for average results and don’t do any more work than what they have to.
Your other employees will see this and think, “Why am I trying so hard? We’re getting paid the same and receive the same benefits, but that person does half the work I do.”
That will lead to the “good enough” person negatively influencing your other employees. Their work ethics, productivity, and motivation will all lower to that person’s levels, and it will be hard to get out of that rut.
If you’re having a hard time finding an employee through your regular hiring channels, consider asking for referrals. Just be careful who your referral comes from.
Most people want to look good when referring someone, so they’ll only recommend good workers. But the definition of a good worker can vary from person to person. It’s also possible that your referrer has never worked with the one being referred and is basing their recommendation off what they’ve heard.
The amount of influence people have over other people can be a scary thing to think about. But use that power to your advantage to influence your employees in the right way, and you'll find employees are much more likely to enjoy and stay in your work environment.
What do you do to positively influence your employees? Let us know in the comments below!