August 1, 2013

How Do I Fire Them Up?

This is the second article in the series, “How to Fire.” The first article focused on why employers should fire employees and the good and amazing things that can result for the organization. This article focuses on how to fire up the employees that remain.

Keep the star players happy

Spending money is not imperative. Our casual days and potlucks are key to our workplace satisfaction. We thrive through open communication, revving everyone up with Monday morning staff meeting and monthly staff meetings.

Sorting out those diamonds in the rough

We ensure that those employees who want to advance their career have every opportunity to do so. Our benefits plan generously offers reimbursement for an accredited institution credits.

Having to say good-bye to nice people

A few months back, we had to course correct for some decisions made years earlier. We had a position that was not truly being utilized the way we had envisioned it. We had to let someone go, someone that everyone generally liked, a nice person. Leadership had to do a lot of explaining: the market changed, the business line morphed and the job duties were not needed. We were containing the emotional piece and concentrating on workflow.

Resetting the course

When we do say goodbye, employees need to heal for a while. You can’t expect human beings that experience layoffs or firings to be back to normal and 100 percent a few days later. If you have 80 of your employees buy into your company’s vision – you’re golden. There will always be someone that will stand a someone else’s desk and complain a little bit. We’re experimenting with some new processes that proactively focus on the good resulting from a separation and good things in general:

  • On our new employee’s first day, their desk is ready, pre-printed business cards are at that desk, and they get a little welcome gift in the form of a Starbucks gift card.  No more waiting two weeks to be productive.
  • We reward longevity through time and service certificates for people to display.
  • We’re firing everyone up on increasing gross profit by tying it to our bonus plan, which forces employees to question what they do every day and create positive change.
  • When employees receive a compliment, we’re sharing it with the entire organization via email.

Getting employees fired up can move them from feeling like a victim – or their fear of becoming the victim of a firing or layoff – and move them to take action in a hopeful, energized, inspired and resilient way.

Written by Jim Annis President/CEO of The Applied Companies, which provide HR solutions for today’s workplace. Celeste Peterson, Tom Miller, and Nissa Jimenez, Applied’s division directors, contributed to this article.

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