In any labor market, companies compete to find and keep the best employees, using pay, benefits, promotions, and training. But these well-intentioned efforts often miss the mark. The front-line manager is the key to attracting and retaining talented employees. No matter how generous the pay or how renowned the training, employee survey research shows the company that lacks great front-line managers will suffer.
The best managers select an employee for talent rather than for skills or experience, setting expectations for him or her, defining the right outcomes rather than the right steps. The best managers motivate people, building on each person’s unique strengths rather than trying to fix their weaknesses. And, great managers develop people, finding the right fit for each person, not necessarily the next rung on the ladder.
Essential to this process is the employment of an appropriate measuring stick, which successfully links customer data with employee productivity, customer loyalty, and profitability. With decades of experience, NBRI is the leader in the development of such measuring sticks, commonly known as employee surveys. NBRI is also uniquely recognized for its ability to prescribe surgical strikes that hit at the heart of underlying psychological factors affecting employee performance and customer loyalty, now known as root cause analyses. And finally, NBRI effectively increases employee performance, in response to the survey instrument, data, and root cause analyses, through proven employee incentive programs.
Given the importance of the front-line managers, any effective employee incentive program must begin with incentives specific to the supervisor level. Clearly, the factors that motivate supervisors are often different from the factors that motivate the general employee population. Through the root cause analyses, underlying psychological factors that motivate supervisors within a particular business environment are identified, and appropriate incentives are designed to address those factors. NBRI employee survey research has shown that these factors may be related to one or more of the following categories:
- Career advancement
- Public recognition
It is not always the case, then, that employee incentives, particularly at the supervisor level, require extraordinary expenditures by management in order to increase employee performance. While most employee incentive programs include a combination of the categories above, NBRI research has clearly shown that recognition, above all, is the most powerful motivator.