One of the most difficult problems for any companies from startups to extremely large corporations is how to keep employees loyal, especially the talented ones. Not to mention the material side, e.g. salary, benefits, perks or recruitment costs, what the employees simply need may be just an inspiring boss to follow, to devote 100% of what they have. As Dr. John C. Maxwell once said, “Leadership is influence: Nothing more, Nothing less.” It is vital that every CEO should become a source of inspiration for his/her people. Here is how some of them elevated it – the inspiration:
Being a role model
It will be ridiculous if the employees work extremely hard while their CEO appears not to contribute to the team/ company’s business; just sit on his seat while pointing out at others. Leadership is not like a puppet show, it’s about influence. To build his/her own value, perhaps the first thing every leader can do is to build his/her influence. Look at the most influential CEOs in the world, everyone can easily learn some lessons. The late CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs, a person famous for his respectful non-stop working habit. The incredible story which has been mentioned all the time is his “fire” to work until the last day fighting against his fatal cancer.
It is the CEO’s everyday behavior that nails in the employee’s minds as a typical exemplar no matter how high his/her position is or how prestigious his/her education is. Another well-known example is Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and current CEO of Facebook. People may not give him a 10 mark for his decision to follow an unusual career path when dropping out of Harvard University. However, they probably hat off to him for such a normal and modest life even when his weird decision’s paid off, which makes him become a self-made billionaire and one of the most successful businessmen worldwide. The self-made billionaire goes to work every day with a jeans and a grey T-shirt, marries his old college friend and had meals in a McDonald restaurant on their honeymoon. Also, Mark is definitely not a fan of highly luxury things such as cars, villages, which “untruly” rich people usually use to prove their wealth.
Genuinely devoting or leading a normal but respectful life or simply being who these CEOs really are is somehow a powerful weapon to gain others’ respect.
Building a business culture
As a leader, being a role model is indeed important but not enough; it’s more important how he treats his team members to make them totally feel he is worth working for.
Sometimes, people want to work for that certain company not because they really like the job, but for the working culture they immerse in almost every day. Lots of people change their job because of their colleagues or their boss. To avoid this, it does matter for any CEOs to build a business culture, a friendly working environment to connect people to the company’s vision, include them to the decision-making process.
Among the most desirable places to work for, Google is always among the tops. The company has appeared 8 times on the list of “Best Companies to work for” with five times a first place, according to fortune.com . Hardly can any other company create such a comfortable environment as Google does. Although they now have 70 offices in more than 40 countries, speak many languages, they all share an open culture in which everyone is a unique contributor with each of their opinions, ideas absolutely appreciated. Googlers are encouraged to freely raise their questions to their CEO, Larry Page, or anyone in the management team at anytime and anywhere, which accordingly inspire them to give more and more to the company’s success.
Apparently, no one wants to work in the same position for the whole life. Things always move forward. People have to be rewarded and promoted. Showing how appreciative and grateful one is to his/her staff is way more effective than taking their effort for granted. Based on a research on Employee Appreciation by Glassdoor on 2044 workers, 84% of them are willing to work harder if they feel more appreciated by their boss.
As for the appreciations, there are so many kinds that a leader can use to motivate their people. Among the list of “Best companies to work for”, almost all of them pay attention to employee’s recognition and reward. It’s Google again at the first place with 100,000 hours of free massage and many other tangible benefits that the employees receive every single working day!
Not to mention perks, job title changes, paid day off, sometimes, just a simple “thank you” note can make a huge impact. Vice chairman of NetApp – an information storage solutions firm listed among the top 3 companies to work for by Fortune.com - takes it into his habit to call 10-20 employees every day to compliment on their right thing he happens to catch. “Everyone wants to feel appreciated and everyone values a simple ‘thank you’,” said Allyson Willoughby, Glassdoor’s senior vice president of people and general counsel.