KFA Writes

Getting people to perform, choices for optimum effectiveness


“Mr Jha” someone was calling my name from the end of the training hall. I turned around and saw the caller heading towards me. I greeted him with usual “Namaste” and asked him how I can help him. As we got to talking, he shared that he is an entrepreneur and has been leading a company since past 20 years. The one thing that has been bothering him since a long time is the high employee turnover at his company. He has been investing a lot in training as well in the hope that it would motivate his human resources to stay in the company. But he complained that after being trained, the majority of employees either move out to other companies or go abroad. He then pleaded me to show him the ways to keep employees stick in his organization.

I was not surprised by this as employee retention is one of the most frequent questions asked to me by the leaders during trainings, followed by motivating people to make them perform.

Performance doesn’t come out of the blue. It requires careful cultivation and nurturing innate traits among all employees. So, as a trainer when entrepreneurs ask me to motivate their people to make them perform and meanwhile retain them, I always ask them to pick from three attributes that define an ideal employee; cheap, honest and performer. The irony is that you can only ever choose two.

Firstly, if your employee is available on the cheap and is honest, possibility is they will not be a performer. Let’s say you hire a fresher who is willing to work in relatively less salary and is also honest. The chances are he/she may just have joined because he/she wants to gain some experience for the CV. These kinds of people will leave you once they get enough experience or better opportunity or salary from other company. So what can be done? Well, as their knowledge, potential, learning and experience grow, you must enrich their job and adjust their pay grades. You don’t essentially need to wait for a year to do that. All and all, hiring freshers’ right out of college on meager remuneration can be an option but there must be an emphasis on increasing that amount based on their improved performance.

Secondly, if you think you’re lucky enough to find a cheap employee who performs well and they are retaining since a long time, you might want to hold on. Don’t fall in trap of considering yourself a lucky one. If they are available on the cheap and performing well, chances are they are not very honest. There might be ways they are earning more without telling you. Now as a leader, what you need to do is you need to find out. You must be cautious regarding how they are gaining benefits of which you may not be aware of.

Because in most of the cases, if the employee is honest and performing well, they are not going to be cheap to hire. If you want honest and performer in a team, the bottom line is you got to pay them well. Now what does paying well means? That’s a big question. The first thing that remuneration depends on is the size of balance sheet of the company. Comparing with any other organization (even the similar ones) in this case is not an ideal thing to do because balance sheet of every organization differs. But out of all other attributes, the one entrepreneur can realistically control is remuneration. Since remuneration is a hygiene factor, it cannot increase motivation but what it can do is it can reduce dissatisfaction. So of the three choices, the one under control is paying your employees well so that their motivation and performance does not drop below a certain level.

Keeping this on mind, what I always suggest the leaders in this aspect is “Don’t try to cost control in the benefits that you give to your employees if it’s on positive relationship to your balance sheet”. There are various other ways you can cut cost in the company. I have in my experience found out that paying 3 thousand more to an employee resulted in 3 million more revenue for the company.

However it doesn’t mean that if you pay your employees well, it guarantees that their performance will be beyond amazing. That is where performance management and training comes in. But the important thing is, only after analyzing these three attributes should an organization focus extensively on training and development to elicit desired behavior.

-Kishlaya Jha

The Author is CEO of KFA, leading Institute providing Training, Education and Consulting Services to various sectors in Nepal.

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