Gable Fasolino, when hired to the position of Chief Officer in a production company with annual turnover of $7 million, heard the rumors that quite a lot of people in the company were drugs or alcohol abusers. The situation looked tricky. Any strict ban could cause confrontation between Fasolino and his managers. Having estimated the risks, he came into conclusion to ask the security-responsible team for a piece of good advice. They invented something that Fasolino called “the most honest, simplest, and easy-managed drug and alcohol policy”.
That episode happened at the end of the 90s, was a good lesson to learn for a present business-adviser from Portland (Oregon): “the involved employees are a powerful asset”. Since then, he has been encouraging the employees to share their ideas in solving different issues – from the reward system till the scheme of profit allocation.
Inviting employees to participate in decision-making, which would affect them as well, turned out to be one of the most efficient tools for increasing motivation and getting better solutions. An employee, involved in common activities with all his/her heart and soul, works hard and with passion. However, trying to survive in post-crisis economy, a plenty of executives do not intend to aggravate the situation, nevertheless, they still face a fall down in staff motivation.
The survey among 32 thousand employees all over the globe, held by “Towers Watson”, revealed that only a third part of the staff was deeply involved in the company’s activities. One more international research work, conducted by a consulting company AON Hewitt, showed that staff involvement was at the lowest level during the whole survey history. The employees proved to be tired of constant uncertainty, stress, and confusion.
The scope of staff involvement influences a number of financial revenues. Tower Watson analysts discovered that companies with low involvement had an average operating margin of just 9.9%. The companies with “traditional” approach (when employees are motivated with financial bonuses) reached an average margin of 14.3%. And the ones who were encouraging “stable” involvement had the margin of 27.4%. Those companies who focused on building outstanding corporate culture were taking care of their staff’s welfare by treating them with respect, providing educational programs to achieve better results, maintaining honesty in the relationship and caring of reputation.
These results are absolutely adequate. The research, made by AOH Hewitt, has also disclosed the connection between the level of staff involvement and financial results. They found out that the companies with high-level-involvement performed better results on the stock exchange, and the return on investment (ROI) was 22% higher than average on the market. And vice versa, the companies with low involvement had the ROI 28% lower than average. The survey showed that three key factors motivating staff involvement were career prospects, appreciation at work and the promoted brand.
To sort out the tricky situation with the alcohol and drug abusers, mentioned at the very beginning, the security board developed a special corporate policy. Having been suspected three times in alcohol or drugs abuse (according to the symptoms of drugs or alcohol abuse from the control list approved by the government), the employees were to take a specific test. If the test was “failed”, they took a rehabilitation course before returning to work. Later, in any randomly selected moment within 12 months after having returned, the employees were tested again. In case the test was failed again, the employees were fired. The rules were so simple and comprehensive that after having failed twice, one of the employees said to Fasolino: “You ought to fire me”. Everyone, both the “guilty” and the colleagues knew the decision was fair.
So, how can executives increase their staff involvement? The first step is to move forward from the traditional pattern taught in a number of business schools. “A lot of executives believe, the results can be achieved by dictating to people what they should do,” Fasolino says. “This ancient approach is often supported by the colleagues. Any chief officer complaining to the colleagues is more likely to get this reaction: “You should fire him/her”. Hardly can anyone express the idea that the employee could have had the lack of freedom and autonomy, and considered the job senseless”.
The employees prefer to follow precise rules and responsibilities. They want to feel significant. They don’t want to work just for wages. If your employees are unmotivated and your company shows poor results, it’s the first alarm to have a look at the situation from inside and change it.