Managers Keep Staff Happy - Vocab Development - For the paragraph indicated, find the word that matches the definition below.


Managers Keep Staff Happy

Managers hold key to keep staff happy
Adapted from a Globe and Mail news article by Wallace Immen

Effort is vital for firms struggling with not only how to retain but also motivate employees

1 Employees at Cognos Inc. regularly rate how much interest they think their managers have in their careers and personal growth. As part of what the software company calls its Global People Strategy, managers in all its offices worldwide are required to attend regular workshops on recognizing individual achievements, and keeping employees challenged and motivated to stay.

2 "The results managers get can sometimes be a little surprising," says Rod Brandvold, the company's vice-president. "People consistently say that more feedback, more recognition and more help in meeting their personal goals make them more likely to stay with the company."

3 In the three years since Cognos implemented its strategy, the company has had one of the best rates of employee retention in an industry which is known for its high turnover of staff, Mr. Brandvold says.

4 Cognos has figured out some solutions to a problem facing many companies in an increasingly competitive job market: how not only to retain talented employees but also keep them committed and working at their peak. And some experts say the key is held by managers.

5 "It seems so obvious that we should find out what employees really want and what will keep them on the team and performing at their best. But when managers are busy and stressed, it is easy to forget to ask," says Beverly Kaye, a consultant whose theories are the basis of the Cognos program. "Managers have to be regularly reminded to ask employees whether their work is meeting their goals."

6 When she holds workshops for managers, she finds that very few ever tell their employees "you're vital to this organization; what can I do to make you stay?" "It's because they are afraid the answer will be money, which they may have no control over." However, she says that most of the reasons people leave their job are not related to salary or benefits. They leave for reasons which managers do have control over, such as providing challenge, meaningful work and opportunities to learn and gain recognition.

7 Consultant Edmond Mellina notes, "If you don't create conditions to challenge your employees and to make them feel valued, you'll lose them. And to keep them, you need to get to know them. "It's amazing what you get if you just ask the question, 'What are your passions, what are your long-term goals?' Just ask, then just listen," Mr. Mellina advises.

8 He says employees should have support in five areas. The most important is having a job which meets your personal goals. Mr. Mellina says his first job was with a famous hotel chain, where he found staff with an incredible customer service culture. "People would become passionate about their work and become loyal to the company, even though it is stressful and the pay is not that great."

9 The second area is challenge. Even if a person is not fully committed to the company, he or she can feel passionate about individual projects.

10 The third area is feeling involved. People feel more committed to the success of a task if they feel they have influence over how it is done. "You need to allow them to become part of the decision-making process in those areas that affect their jobs," Mellina suggests.

11 The fourth area is the team. People can lose interest or motivation if they don't believe the manager makes all people contribute and do their part. People get angry if they feel someone on the team is lazy, or if someone on the team seems to be trying to take control or tell others what to do.

12 The final area for managers, and the one that helps balance the others, is leadership; expressing your goals to the employees and offering praise and feedback.

13 "We've interviewed thousands of people about why they left their previous job and the most consistent answer was 'my boss was a jerk,'" says Mrs. Kaye. When we asked why the boss was a jerk, it was usually due to a lack of appreciation or the manager's desire to always be in control.

14 An important study indicates that salary ranks fourth in importance in reasons people stay loyal to a company, behind the challenge of the work, the opportunity to learn and grow in the career, and having good co-workers.

15 "More and more in large companies, the best way to succeed is to develop your talented people and to make them want to stay with you," Kaye insists.

16 Last September, the 3,000 employees of Cognos Inc. were asked about their satisfaction with the company. More than 90 percent responded they felt totally committed to their work. The majority of those said they wanted to stay with the company.

17 "The company wins by keeping these talented people. The employees win by enjoying their work and actually doing a better job. It's a win-win situation and those companies that are able to achieve this balance are the companies that do best in an increasingly difficult world market." concludes Mellina.