D'Arcy from Winnipeg
Solution Architecture, Business & Entrepreneurship, Microsoft, and Adoption

Right Employees + Happy Employees = Productive Employees

Wednesday, February 17, 2010 7:19 PM

I’m sitting in an area of the Microsoft campus called The Mixer. It’s one of a number of buildings that comprise an area offering restaurants, cafeterias, patios, professional services (credit union, hair salon, etc.) for Microsoft employees. With water flowing through fountains and the soccer field in view, you have to appreciate how much Microsoft tries to make the workplace a comfortable and enjoyable one.
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I had a discussion with a colleague thinking of leaving their employer. They were given a week of vacation for the year (a whole year!) and had to use vacation days to attend the MVP summit, as opposed to the employer recognizing the opportunity for the employee and the benefits to the employer.

A tale of two companies: one that gets it and one that doesn’t. But creating an attractive, comfortable workplace is only one aspect to the Productive Employee equation.

Right Employees
You need to have the right employees up front before you can cash in on the productivity benefit. In reading the book The Dream, G relays his opinion that you should never go cheap on hiring top talent. Many companies would balk at this idea. Why pay high when you can pay lower and then squeeze as much out of the person as possible?

Unfortunately they break the equation right off the hop. If someone isn’t being paid what they’re worth from the start, you’ll never get to the point of having happy employees. More importantly, employers who use this tactic will end up only being able to hire people who will settle. And as soon as they settle, they’re already saying that this company isn’t where I’m going to be retiring from.

Paying people what they’re worth, but also ensuring that you’re only looking to hire those that truly are the right employees (right fit, right attitude, right cultural fit, right work ethic, etc.), will set you up for a productive workforce because they can focus on the work and not on HR issues.

Happy Employees
Once you have the right people you need to keep them happy. The trick is to find out what makes them happy! Don’t assume just putting a pool table in the office or providing free drinks will make your staff go to war for the company. Maybe your staff don’t really care about a pool table, but they do want opportunities for learning and going to conferences. Maybe they don’t care as much about overtime but they do see value in a flex-time program. You need to ensure that whatever you do to make your staff happy, its really what *they* see as making them happy.

Productive Employees
Having nice offices and perks mean nothing if you don’t have the right people and if you haven’t taken the time to get to know what’s important to your employees.

Saving money on payroll by paying lower salaries is a hollow win if the actual production of your staff suffers because they’re not the right people for the job, or they’re too inexperienced, or they’re just disgruntled because they settled.

It’s a balance, but if you can strike that balance you’ll see your employee’s productivity skyrocket.



# re: Right Employees + Happy Employees = Productive Employees

Amen brother. 2/18/2010 9:57 PM | Robz

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