How to get better employees (without replacing them)

It is far more desirable to upgrade your current employees than replace them. Financially, it’s a no-brainer: you will avoid the expenses that come with recruiting and training. But the benefits go far beyond saving money. Upgrading your current staff can also ensure employee retention and nurture a happy office environment with boosted morale.

According to Daniel H Pinks Drive the core principles needed for effective and happy employees are mastery, purpose and autonomy. Incorporating these elements into your workforce doesn’t have to come at a great cost.

Train your employees in essential business and soft skills

Showing your employees that you’re invested in them by enrolling them in training courses can create a great company culture and atmosphere.

Training courses are a form of incentives. If an employee completes a management course and clearly demonstrates those new skills, this could lead to a promotion to a managerial position.

There are many course options available, from soft skills like time management to Microsoft Office or Photoshop. There’s also a choice to be made between e-learning and classroom training.

E-learning can be more flexible for employees. However a classroom experience is likely to give you far more. It has been argued that employees do not get as much out of an e-learning experience. As mentioned by Activia Training, the classroom training experience is likely to result in more focus and thus bigger rewards than a digital course.

Digital roles are becoming ever more specialised and hard to find. Daniel Patel, the SAP delivery director at SAP recruitment agency Eursap, has said that the job market has become saturated and competition is growing. Bearing this in mind, investing in specific training courses for employees who already show an aptitude for the required skills could be extremely convenient and cost-effective.

A pleasant, productive and purposeful office environment

Having highly skilled employees doesn’t guarantee superior productivity. Morale and employee relationships are also essential aspects of the office dynamic to consider when trying to get the most out of people.

You can even improve the morale of your office by updating the surroundings. For example, the use of lighting can affect productivity, and bad lighting can even heighten absenteeism, according to office design experts, Open Workspace Design. So if your office doesn’t get a lot of natural light, improving the lighting can help tremendously.

Having a mission statement for your business or various departments can help give employees purpose. You can synchronise this with the environment by having reminders of the mission statement visible to employees. Ro-Am Posters say that 65 percent of us are visual learners and thus having printed materials around the office or on the walls can be a great way to get that message of purpose across.

Being flexible can improve focus

Serviced office providers i2Office have discussed the benefits of giving your employees a certain amount of autonomy. Giving employees more autonomy is said to improve job satisfaction by encouraging responsibility.

Employees that are able to approach their hours with more flexibility are generally deemed to work much harder. Many offices have employed flexi hours but arguably not enough to satiate the British workforce.

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Do What You Love — Forget About The Money

I recently received an email from a recruiter, an unsolicited invitation to apply for a job. There is something incredibly satisfying about a total stranger saying, “I don’t know you save for the few words I read on LinkedIn … and I think you are awesome.”

I checked out the company website to satisfy my curiosity. Seemed like a high-paying gig with lots o’ perks, but I wasn’t inspired by the company’s mission. Nice try random recruiter, but there is no way I am leaving my job. You will have to drag me away from my desk, kicking and screaming, baby-tantrum style.

Why? Because I am living in alignment with my passion and highest purpose. I believe in our company mission and the leaders believe in my ability to contribute to it. How many employees can say that? Can you?

Who’s The Master?

Various guides have helped me to discover the path to fulfilling my greater purpose. These words spoken by philosopher and author Alan Watts led me to where I am today:

Watts often gave vocational advice to students who were nearing completion of their studies. In the video above he asks, “What would you like to do if money were no object? How would you really enjoy spending your life?” The simple answer: find your passion and pursue it.

Pursuing one’s dreams can be frightening, which is why there are so many people working in jobs that provide little challenge or satisfaction. Those people usually stay in those jobs primarily because they provide financial security.

According to Watts, if making money is paramount, you will spend your life completely wasting your time. You will be doing things you don’t like doing to afford going on living your life doing the things that you don’t like doing. How sad that this pointless cycle is considered normal and healthy.

The only healthy choice is to confront our fears and follow our intuitions. As Watts says, if you keep at it, you will eventually become a master. Then you will find a way to make money while doing the thing that satisfies you on a much deeper level.

Know Thyself

Like many young folks (yes 36 is young by Millennial standards), I didn’t always have a clear picture of what my greatest gifts were or how I could contribute them. According to Aaron Hurst, author of The Purpose Economy, there are a variety of ways to discover your purpose:

1) Use a diagnostic tool. offers a 15-minute questionnaire that assesses what gives you purpose, how and why. Armed with that knowledge you can then generate a draft of a purpose statement to help guide you forward.

2) Keep a diary for one month. Every day for 30 days, write a few sentences about one action that brought you purpose and what were you thinking and feeling when it did. It could be a small thing — a quick conversation, an email, solving a problem. Figure out what career would allow for that level of fulfillment on a regular basis.

3) Do pro-bono work. This is tremendously rewarding because people find purpose when they do something that helps them to become a master while having an impact. Opportunities are available at sites like VolunteerMatch and Taproot.

I was fortunate to discover my purpose just over a year ago. Today, I manage a blog and other content marketing for a company that is changing the business world through our streamlined communication tool.

I write about topics like supportive management and the pursuit of one’s purpose. Management supports me in my personal mission to become a novelist, which in-turn enhances my business blogging.

The road ahead certainly has its challenges, and we are always blind to what awaits over the next hill. Our task is to do some soul-searching, choose the right path, and trust that we will all eventually make an impact by giving our greatest gifts.

About the Author: David Mizne, is Content Manager at 15Five, the leading web-based employee feedback and alignment solution that is transforming the way employees and managers communicate. David interviews some of the most brilliant minds in business and reports on topics ranging from entrepreneurship to employee engagement; follow David on Twitter at @DavidMizne.

photo credit: ~DAMS~ via photopin cc