What to do with your best employees

What to do with your best employees

What to do with your best employees

Job disruption is upon us in a big way – but nothing like as big as it soon will be. It isn’t just AI, digitisation and robotics that are causing it. There is a general upheaval throughout the world. People are restless, unsettled, anxious. There is an air of ‘if I don’t make it now, I never will’. Nepotism and favouritism are on the increase – curious, in light of the amount of laws, guidelines and public opprobrium they attract. It feels as if the autumn of the planet is arriving.

It may well be. It is unlikely; even if true, an individual is able only to react to the idea. The hour for personally influencing something better has probably passed. The wreckage will not be total. Indeed it may be simply a wake-up call involving millions of people. Looking on the bright side, the loss of joy may make everyone think again, ponder what it is all for, step back from the brink and work out a new religion. It would be a religion of self-discipline for better reasons than potential punishment. It will be a religion of Cohesion, Collaboration and Cooperation.

It may, indeed, be called The Three Cs. Competition won’t be banished but it will be redirected to improve rather than simply to win, a form of challenge that the Olympics were intended to be, rather than what they have become. Triumph will once again be collegial success, not individual acquisition. Tomorrow will be more important than today. Children, grandchildren, and successive generations will be our legacy, not portraits on a boardroom wall. Fanciful? It will happen.

Who will be the celebrants of this new religion? Those who saved the planet, who brought sense and purpose back to humans. Those who recognised the difference between strategies and tools. That’s where we must start to think about what to do with our best employees. They are truly the assets of our businesses. Treat them as though they were. Engage them, educate them, let them earn a part of our business, seek their ideas about it, prepare them to run it.

Here are some questions you may ask yourself about each of your most treasured employees:

# What did this person say they wanted for the business when I asked them?
# Do I know what are this person’s own aspirations and dreams?
# If I could wish for one further attribute for this person what would it be?
# If I could give this person one further training what would it be in?
# Do I know how this person wants to change the way the business is organised?
# Do I know what this person’s peers and subordinates think of them?
# Do I know what this person thinks of me as a boss?

Now compare your own answers to these questions with the answers each of your special employees might give. If they are all the same, beware. You may be teaching a lot of people to do what you want. If they are all opposites, also beware. Some agreement in outlook, style and views about the future of a business are essential or you create a Tower of Babel. If there is a healthy balance of likes and opposites, you have a good business. Aim to keep it that way.

This regime will require changes in how you run your business. You cannot do it all at once.

But you can take “One small step for man…” You finish the phrase. It’s your planet, too.

It’s all our business, as well.