By the Omnia Group
When moving to solar power, your customers are making a huge investment and changing the way they think about energy. Plus, there are many factors for them to consider when buying solar panels such as roof space, mounting, type of panel, inverter efficiency and product warranties. Thankfully, maintenance is low and with a couple good cleanings a year, those panels will last a very long time. So, what does this have to do with employees?
Employees are a huge investment that require more maintenance than those solar panels. And, there are many factors to consider as you hire staff and manage your team, such as job fit, culture fit, technical expertise, work ethic, salary requirements, commission, incentives and training. You might also need to change the way you think about how they naturally perform. For example, do they boldly show initiative or shy away from conflict? Do they multitask with ease or stick to a predictable routine? After you find the perfect fit, we encourage you to commit to an employee engagement plan. Learn how to spot issues early to avoid costly problems stemming from disengagement.
Staffing experts say that 33% of employees are actively engaged in what they are doing on a daily basis. So, what’s up with the other 67%? Seventeen percent are actively disengaged (that’s bad), and the other 50% are conditionally disengaged (that’s bad but fixable). The top and the bottom are often easy to spot, but what do you do to retain and encourage the middle 50%?
The first step is learning who each employee is. You want to A) uncover their unique motivators and work styles, B) learn all you can about how to communicate with each person, and C) understand the right buttons to push as you craft incentive programs.
Sound like a lot of work?
It can be, especially if you aren’t using a personality assessment. Behavioral data cuts the “figuring out who they are” phase down significantly. You usually must work with an employee for months before really getting a feel for their intrinsic motivators and workplace preferences. There’s also a lot of trial and error. And, unfortunately, so much can go wrong in a relatively short amount of time. A personality assessment eliminates most of that learning curve and provides you with data you can use to craft an employee engagement strategy that will head off conditional disengagement, and maybe even prevent it altogether.
A personality assessment breaks down specific character traits. While you see these traits every day, you might not always consider how they shape the decisions and work styles of your employees.
Trait 1 – Assertiveness. Some people respond to individual incentives and need significant control over their career and financial situations. They are the “risk takers.” You most likely will find these people on your sales team working for commission, or in leadership where they can shape outcomes. Others respond to security. They are team-oriented and excel at finding common ground that promotes harmony within a group. They want stability in their jobs. These are often your service and support staff.
Tip 1 – Make sure you are properly incentivizing each type. Salespeople, for example, thrive on the opportunity to make more based on their own efforts, and they love to compete, so commission, sales contests and individual goals are a hit. Support people thrive on security; they appreciate incentives that are tied to their team contribution and that do not put their base salary at risk.
Trait 2 – Sociability. Some people have never met a stranger; they can strike up a conversation with anyone. Social interaction is what they need, and they can be swayed by emotional arguments. Others are exhausted by too much of that; they need quality “me time” to be productive. They are driven by logic; arguments need to be well-crafted and factual.
Tip 2 – Make sure you motivate and communicate with each type in a way that will resonate with them. Social employees want recognition and like the spotlight; they value face-to-face communication with their manager. Reserved employees value quiet recognition, such as an email of appreciation. They dislike the spotlight. If there is an engagement issue, however, have one-on-one meetings with each type to understand the problem and find a solution that moves the employee back to engaged.
Trait 3 – Pace. Some people were born multitasking, never slowing down from one task to another. Others need to work on one thing at a time. Both get the job done, but in two different ways.
Tip 3 – Assign work in a way that respects the pace of each employee. Fast-paced multitaskers aren’t bothered by interruptions and easily set aside one task to handle another. Patient, systematic processors work quickly but they also get flustered by the unexpected; avoid springing last-minute surprises on them. Give them plenty of notice, and don’t barge in on them mid-task to discuss something that is not urgent.
Trait 4 – Structure. There are times when you need someone who is going to go with their gut and just get something done, even if it might not be the “right way” to accomplish the task. For other tasks though, you need someone who is going to go over every detail to make sure everything is precisely correct.
Tip 4 – Provide structure to those who need it, and give autonomy to those who don’t. Big-picture thinkers want to innovate; they like having decision-making authority. On the flip side, detailed thinkers like specific instructions. They can feel frustrated and directionless when new tasks are assigned without any guidance from their supervisor.
A common mistake many managers make is applying a “one-size-fits-all” solution to very different personalities. If you don’t understand who it is you are trying to motivate, you can ultimately create “conditional disengagement” and have difficulties with employee retention.
The good news is that these are easily avoidable mistakes. With the right tools, you can build a team of engaged, A-players, who are well worth your investment of time and energy (pun intended)!
The Omnia Group is an employee assessment firm that specializes in using personality data to hire and manage more effectively. Omnia’s personality and cognitive assessment tools give clients insight into employee strengths, challenges, and natural behaviors. For more information about employee assessments, call Matt Gilroy at 813-280-3030 or email: MGilroy@OmniaGroup.com