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How to get employees to want to do the right thing

In my last blog, I wrote "That got me thinking – training is not the answer because she knew what to do. How do you get someone to do the right thing just because it’s the right thing?" After various discussions with friends, employers and job seekers, the response that stuck out was "By letting him/her feel like part of things - encourage loyalty and ownership. Here are a few tips that would HELP achieve that in the workplace:

Be fair

Always treat your employees fairly and you will be greatly appreciated. Just as you would chastise them for doing something wrong, make sure you tell them when you're happy with them. Do not discipline them in front of their colleagues or customers and treat all employees alike - there's no room for obvious favourites in the workplace.

Lead by example

People say "Don't do as I do, do as I say" and I say "You are a hypocrite". Always lead by example if you want to be followed. If your employees see you acting in a certain way, ten chances to one they will emulate you, so always make sure you are doing what you want them to do even if you don't think they are watching.

Review employees' performance

Employees want to have a chance to discuss their performance with you. Make sure you give them both positive and negative feedback and be careful of the words you use when criticising them. They need to know that it is not personal and everything being discussed is professional. Reward them for good performance and show them that actions lead to consequences - good and bad.

Encourage feedback from customers

You will not always know how your employees are performing from observance. Allow your customers to tell you what they liked (or didn't like) when your employees served them. Share this information with your employees and discuss it during their performance review or on an ongoing basis. Take time to explain why a certain behaviour is unacceptable.

Communicate with employees

Employees don't like surprises. They want to be a part of decision making. It tells them that they are important to you and you value their opinion. If they contribute towards something, it will be very hard for them to rebel against it. Even if they are not present at the decision making stage, share the information with them the first chance you get i.e. before it becomes public knowledge. You do not want them to hear about it from friends outside the organisation.

Listen to them when they tell you about their personal problems that could affect work and be sympathetic and understanding.

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