In today’s highly-connected world, our employees and team members are faced with many distractions – from surfing the web and social media sites, the distractions of telecommuting, instant messaging and more. We are all expected to put in a full day’s work but measuring individual productivity can be difficult. While some organizations opt to ‘control’ their ecosystem through website blocking, monitoring of internet usage and other tactics, I believe that nothing drives accountability more than passion and investment.
If your company is full of passionate people then you shouldn’t have to find ways to hold your employees accountable; they will naturally hold themselves accountable because they are passionate about their work and their company. But how do you make sure to hire those types of self-motivated employees and not attract the wrong employee? In my opinion, the biggest factor comes down to something as simple as the wording of a sentence: ‘We will invest in you.’
It’s a big trend in new-age companies (especially those in the software industry) to offer extravagant incentives for potential hires. This is often how they try to convince the best and brightest to come work for them without having to offer outrageous salaries. The issue with this is that the dialog often sounds like this: “If you work for us you will get a free cell phone / free parking / an X-Box to use whenever you want”, etc. However, in my experience this usually results in attracting employees whose sense of entitlement outweighs their drive and self-motivation. To real, hard-working and self-motivated employees these incentives are just noise in the sea of companies clamoring for their expertise.
When I started working at DevFacto, my compensation was similar to the offers I’d received from other companies but the message around it was what truly attracted me: “If you come and work for us, we will invest in you. We are a great company to work for because we give our clients the best results possible. All employees have laptops or tablets instead of fixed PC work stations to enable them to quickly and easily address issues from home or on the road. We pay for our employees cell phone bills so that they are accessible and they can keep track of their projects and work email from anywhere. We want to make sure you have fun and socialize with your coworkers to create stronger teams, so we have a common area with a fully-stocked kitchen and an X-Box, and on Fridays we have a beer-o-clock social. Our aim is to remove any obstacles that keep you from doing the most amazing work you are capable of.”
This focus on making me the best possible version of me (both personally and professionally) was what made me realize that DevFacto was different. This was a place where my problems and hindrances would be listened to and dealt with. It was a place where I could hold the company accountable just as it would hold me accountable. It was a company I could invest in because it was a company that would invest in me, and not just the usual way companies say “we were told investing in employees is good so we better put together a training budget or something like that”. Investing in talented and accountable employees was why, upon joining the company, I was met by the best and the brightest who were dedicated to giving our customers the best possible solution and experience.
By making it clear right from the first interview that you intend on investing in your employees to make them the best they can be and not that you are just here to shower them with perks, you will attract smart self-motivated employees. Those employees will understand that you expect them to be passionate about what they do and hold themselves accountable. In fact, you may even scare off some of the employees that are only there for the perks and expect you to continually appease them. Applying this filter right from the first interview is what is going to ensure a strong company full of accountable self-motivated employees. I’ve seen it first-hand.