“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” – Steve Jobs
According to the Great Place to Work™ Institute, employee engagement is directly related to building and maintaining a workplace culture based on trust. Employees seek organizations and leaders who:
- Are competent (respected for quality of work)
- Look after their interests (demonstrate compassion)
- Have integrity (do the right thing – even when no one is watching)
- Are predictable (behave consistently to ensure a positive future)
Ensuring a positive future requires courageous leaders who make difficult decisions—especially concerning employees and staff. These leaders look beyond the impact of today to what is best for the organization long-term. In fact, one of the greatest challenges leaders face is waiting too long to make staff changes. When leaders are busy, it is often easier to maintain the status quo rather than making a change. It takes courage to leave the status quo behind, embrace uncertainty and hire smart. When there is an opportunity, staff changes offer new talent who can fill performance gaps, offer new ideas, support others and bring new energy to the enterprise.
Leaders often ask, “When is it best to make a change and/or invest in employees we have?” A better question might be to ask, “Would you hire this person again?” If not, make development investments in those you want to keep. Research studies suggest it is best to invest in employees who:
- Are aligned to the company’s mission and values
- Are motivated to learn
- Fill unique skill and competency gaps
- Are positive and work independently
- Take initiative and seek ways to add value
- Are willing and eager to receive feedback to improve
Courageous leaders make difficult decisions after thoroughly evaluating each situation. These decisions are not made with cavalier insensitivity, but rather with careful consideration and compassion. If you’re considering a staff change, download our When to Let an Employee Go checklist.