Focusing on the “Why?” for your employees

I recently wrote about discovering the mission and vision of a business. Some people refer to the mission as to the “Why?” of your business.

This is a great question to ask, but we shouldn’t just settle at asking it about the business.

We should also help reveal to our employees and members of our team the “Why?” of their position. If you are a manager and believe that your employees are happy and engaged at work, you may want to think again. Or at the very least, check to be sure you’re correct. A Gallup poll in 2016 shows that 32% of employees consider themselves to be engaged at work, while 50.8% consider themselves to be disengaged at work.

That is a travesty.

Here are three key ways you can help recruit and retain employees.

Describe the job in detail

Explain the job description very carefully from the onset. If you just take this one step, you will be doing better than probably a little more than half of all businesses. From my experience in staffing and recruiting, most companies are not very good at writing job descriptions.

Small businesses often don’t have detailed job descriptions. Larger corporations often do have job descriptions, but they’re lengthy, full of legalese-sounding words, all while managing not to say much.

Explain the objectives of the job

Explain the objectives of the position, using quantitative data and numbers. If you’re looking for a salesperson, explain the exact number of sales calls and number of appointments you expect the salesperson to make.

Tell them the exact amount of revenue they are expected to bring in the first year. If you’re hiring a warehouse worker, tell them how many boxes you expect them to load.

Often managers get upset about their employees’ performance, but they never really explained to them what their expectations are. It’s best to take care of this on the front end in the actual job description.

However, if the employee is already working, go ahead and tell them the expectations. It’s not ideal to tell them after they start, but it’s better than to remain frustrated and have quotas that aren’t being met.

Show the value of the job

So far, if you tackle these first two items, you will be doing better than most companies. If you handle this third item, you will be far ahead of your competition. Explain to your employees the “Why” of their job.

Tell them it’s important. Let them know people depend on them. Don’t just make them fear for their job. If your employee is in manufacturing, explain to them that their job is really part of the foundation of our economy.

We would be lost if no one assembled our furniture, if no one made our clothes, if no one transported our food to us, or if no one loaded products into trucks to reach our grocery stores.

If your employee is in customer service, tell them they are the voice and face of the business. The reputation of the company depends on them.

If your employees are truck drivers, stop and think about what would happen in our country without transportation. Almost everything we own — our food, clothes, furniture, clothing — is transported. We would be lost without truck drivers.

CEOs, marketing managers, professors, actors, and teachers are important positions, but they can’t exist unless someone makes a product, delivers it, or sells it.

Explain to your employees the value of their job. And then tell them they are valuable. Don’t assume they know it.


Note: a good resource for this is Simon Sinek’s book “Start with Why”

One reply on “Focusing on the “Why?” for your employees”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s