I worked for 15 years in Corporate America. I watched a company go from caring about their employee’s success to only caring about the bottom line. If you want the best work from your employees, wether you are a large company employing hundreds, or a small business with just a handful of employees, you have to address the WIIFM mindset.
WIIFM…What’s in it for me. GAH! I know, we would all like to have employees that are just interested in doing their best and making your company a success, but let’s get real. Everyone has that WIIFM mindset and you just have to deal with it.
How do you keep the best people to help your company grow? If you think it’s give them more money you are wrong. It takes more than just money to keep the best people. In fact, according to Medium.com, this is the least likely reason people will leave their current place of employment.
Conquering the WIIFM Mindset Tip #1
It’s Jack’s third day on the job and another employee called in sick. It’s all hands on deck for the dinner rush and you throw Jack right in there. Sink or swim you think, let’s see what he is made of.
He only had 1 day of training and that was half watching someone else do it and half doing it himself. He faces the line of customers during the dinner rush and is immediately overwhelmed.
He tries his best, but people are impatient with how long it takes him to input their orders. they don’t know he is new (well maybe they have figured that out) and they don’t care. They just want their food so they can hurry up and eat and get on with their evening. Poor Jack, he isn’t coming back to go through that again…EVER!
The fact that he wasn’t ready isn’t his fault, he hadn’t finished his training. It isn’t your fault that someone called in, but you made a bad decision in just throwing Jack in the pond to see if he could swim. You lost a potentially good employee.
It all starts with COMPLETE training. You may be super busy with all the things and circumstances may not always be conducive to getting training done in a timely manner. You or someone in your company has to make the time to train new employees completely before putting them into place and letting them go on their own. Knowledge is power and arming your people with all the knowledge and tools they need will help them do their job to the best of their ability.
So, what’s in it for them? Free training to be competent in their position and to make their mark in your company.
Conquering the WIIFM Mindset Tip #2
Jennifer has been with you for 6 months. She is qualified for the job you have given her and has been doing a bang up job so far. A client complaint comes in. What should she do? Should she handle it herself or get you?
Jennifer handles it herself because she knows how to remedy this complaint and make the customer happy. She knows she is expected to handle this quickly and in the best interest of the client and your company.
Set your expectations and make sure everyone knows what they are. Be clear with each and every person that works with you what you expect of them as an individual and as a team member. When you are clear about your expectations, it keeps everyone working towards the same goal. People naturally respond better and work better when they know what is expected of them.
So, what’s in it for them? A clear set of guidelines so they don’t have to guess if what they are doing is right or not.
Conquering the WIIFM Mindset Tip #3
Linda is working diligently on the graphics for your company’s next ad campaign. She knows who the ads normally target and is working on targeting that same group again, like she always has.
Meanwhile Zach is writing copy for that ad campaign based on the desired result you gave him. That you didn’t share with Linda. Normally they would have worked together on this and would have both been on the same page. However, Linda was sick and wasn’t at the meeting where you went over all of this with Zach assuming he would bring Linda up to speed when she came back to work.
Zach assumed you would go over the new ad information with Linda. Oh dear, epic fail.
Clear communication is key to ensuring everyone is on the same page. You have to be able communicate effectively with each employee and be able to tailor your communication style to each individual. Communication is a two way street, so you must also maintain a persona of approachability. Employees have to know that they can come to with you with questions, ideas, and concerns.
What’s in it for them? A culture where one hand knows what the other hand is doing, everyone’s ideas are considered, where there are no stupid questions, and a company that cares about their concerns.
Conquering the WIIFM Mindset Tip #4
Remember poor Jack? Well, Stacy saw him getting overwhelmed and stepped in and helped him. She switched places with him and he started bagging orders while she handled that long line of hangry people.
She averted a customer service crisis and kept Jack from leaving and never coming back. You thank her for her quick thinking and give her her break earlier than normal.
Give praise freely and credit where due. No one likes to work hard on a project or work through the rush crowd and not feel appreciated. So what if that is their job and that is what is expected of them. Tell them how much you appreciate what they do any chance you get. No, not every 5 minutes (don’t make it awkward), but genuinely tell them when the opportunity presents itself.
What’s in in for them? Knowing that they are appreciated for what they do and how they contribute to the business.
Conquering the WIIFM Mindset Tip #5
Stacy may have gotten her break earlier, but she also got promoted to shift leader for her ability to problem solve and take initiative to fix a potentially disastrous situation.
Jennifer did what was expected of her, she handled the client complaint quickly and saved the business from losing an important client. Jennifer got an employee of the month plaque to proudly display in her office.
Reward excellence and initiative. You can’t just think that a weekly paycheck for doing what an employee does for your company day in and day out is going to be enough. People like to know when they are doing a good job and like it even more when you call them out for it.
What’s in it for them? Feeling appreciated and being rewarded for going above and beyond. Not only will they continue to strive to make your business the best that it can be, but others will take notice and work even harder to attain the same thing.
Conquering the WIIFM Mindset Tip #6
Sarah and Ken have come up with a great idea to promote you most recent product. They request time to talk to you and present their idea. It’s fabulous and you agree to move forward with their idea.
Involve your people in the work processes and give them opportunities to have their ideas heard. Being involved keeps them interested in doing their best for your business. It shows you respect their opinion and value their input.
What’s in it for them? They are respected for the work they do and their hard work is noticed and respected.
While money is a motivating factor to keeping an employee, it isn’t the main reason people stay in a job. The mindset of WIIFM plays a big part in wether or not an employee sticks around for the long haul or jumps ship at the first opportunity.
Learning how to manage the WIIFM mindset will guarantee a happier workforce and your business will flourish.
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