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Four great effort-enhancing strategies


Consider this:

  • A high effort employee may outperform a low effort employee by 20 percent
  • A strongly engaged employee is 87 percent less likely to leave a company within the next 12 months.
  • An engaged employee is 88 percent more likely to stay even if offered a 10 percent raise for a similar job elsewhere.

Do I have your attention?  Would you like to know how to get more effort and engagement from the very beginning when a new employee starts working for you?  Would you like to “re-board” the people you already have on your team?

In my last article, I shared four key Onboarding activities that improve overall employee performance.  They were:

  1. Giving early verbal performance review
  2. Explaining performance objectives
  3. Teaching about group or division
  4. Clearly explaining job responsibilities

While these are also important in terms of improving the level of discretionary effort employees are willing to give, there are some additional activities that specifically impact effort.  According to The Recruiting Roundtable and the Corporate Leadership Council, discretionary effort is defined as, “Employee willingness to go ‘above and beyond’ the call of duty, such as helping others with heavy workloads, volunteering for additional duties, and looking for ways to perform the job more effectively.”

Humm . . . I wouldn’t mind a little more discretionary effort at home . . .

Here are four activities that have been proven to positively impact discretionary effort:

  • Explaining organizational vision and strategy
  • Introducing new hires to other employees
  • Providing work immediately
  • Providing necessary tools and resources

Explaining organizational vision and strategy are important because people will rally for a cause.  If the vision is not clear, the strategy to reach the vision will not be clear.  If people can’t see where they are going they won’t look for additional opportunities to help get there.  It’s as simple as that.

Introducing new hires to other new employees is important because you need the camaraderie of a team to reach your aggressive goals.  If I like the people I work with, and know what’s important to them, I am more likely to help them out when they need an extra hand.  It’s always about people.  If I like you I will help you, if I don’t I won’t.  People help people, not departments.  There is a reason companies send people to ropes courses for team building.  When people feel connected to each other, they work harder for each other.

Providing work immediately is important because people want to feel useful.  They crave a sense of belonging which they will only get once they are engaged in meaningful work.  Don’t wait to provide work if you don’t want them to wait to give effort.

Providing necessary tools and resources are important when you want to increase effort, because you want to help make it easy for people to do what needs to be done.  If you ask a carpenter to build a table, but you don’t give him any power tools, he may get it done, but it will take more time and more effort.  All the while he will be complaining that he could do it faster and easier with some power tools.  You want people to put in more effort, but you don’t want them to put in unnecessary effort.

Now that you know how to increase an employee’s performance and effort, you will be able to get a lot more done . . . and done well with heart.


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Merit Gest

Merit Gest is President & Founder of Merit-Based Development, a Denver based firm specializing in on-boarding top sales talent.  She is one of a small handful of specialists in the world certified and trained in Emotional Intelligence and Cultural Transformation Tools, giving her a unique perspective for hiring, on-boarding and retaining top sales talent.  Reach Merit at 720-980-1286 or Merit@MeritGest.com

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