HR Management & Compliance

The 2 Factors That Most Affect Employee Performance

By BLR Founder and Publisher Bob Brady

TV relationship expert “Dr. Phil” McGraw, reminds our boss of what employees most want from their bosses.

As this is written, I’m attending the National Convention of the YMCA, in Nashville, Tennessee. I’m proud to serve as a ‘Y’ volunteer. This organization is the largest provider of daycare in the U.S., and in countless other ways it helps families deal with the stress and strain of work/life balance. (HR managers, please note: If you or your employees are looking for an effective resource for daycare help, health and nutrition, or other similar issues, contact your local ‘Y.’ They can probably help.)

Dr. Phil McGraw, famed author, TV talk show host, and “Friend of Oprah,” was the keynote speaker at the convention. I had never heard him before, but his message made me go back and re-address some HR fundamentals. That’s because his message applies just as much to us in HR as it did to his audience of ‘Y’ executives and volunteers.

Bosses Make a Big Difference

McGraw said that the number one influence on children is the adults with whom they interact. The same is true in the workplace.

Though Generation X workers may dismiss “parent/child” as a hopelessly outdated workplace metaphor, the number one influence on employees is still their boss, and that’s particularly so with younger workers. Just as a caring adult in the right place can have a dramatic effect on a child, a good boss will make employees much more productive–or otherwise.

What bosses need to remember is that people’s needs are pretty simple: The number one emotional need is acceptance. The number one fear is rejection. A boss who does not understand and use these factors effectively will drag down the performance of his or her team.

“Duhs” … and Don’ts

It is easy to dismiss the above points as “duhs.” They are pretty obvious, but when I think about how we train, manage, and evaluate staff, it is clear that we often lose sight of how much power we have to motivate and de-motivate people. My job as a CEO, and yours as an HR manager, is to educate, train, and evaluate staff in a way that helps them regain those understandings.

Dr. Phil convinced me to review how I deal with people. He reminded me that it isn’t about being “nice”; it’s more about being fair and treating employees as adults, no matter what level they are.

Results are what count in the workplace, even more than emotional factors. And if supervisors can’t meet their business goals, it doesn’t matter how well they meet employees’ emotional needs. Long term though, it’s a win-win situation. If emotional needs are met, employees will be more productive. That was Dr. Phil’s premise, and it is consistent with my personal experience.

One of our central missions at BLR is to provide you and your managers with the advice and tools to meet all your employees’ work-related needs. When you have a training need, check out our website, or call one of customer service reps at 800-727-5257. They may not dispense advice as glibly as Dr. Phil, but it’s likely they can help you even more.

And as always, have a great HR week!

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