There is no training I know of specifically designed to instruct employees how to be great at their jobs. Nobody receives this training in school, and I’m not aware of any training companies offering it (until now). There is no Tony Robbins for being a great employee.
Business owners win when their employees are focused on growing their careers. Highly engaged, motivated, and focused employees have the greatest job satisfaction, higher pay and produce better bottom-line results.
To address what I view as an enormous void, I first surveyed many leaders and managers to ask how they would define a great employee. Given those responses and my experience, I put together an online training program that will show your employees how to be great at their jobs and how to plan for their career. I could have focused on three things or fifteen things. I settled on what I view are the ten most important ones.
Your employees should understand it is they who are responsible for their career. Management’s responsibility is to put employees in a position where they are capable of success. This program helps do that.
Here’s The Great Employee Program outline. Each of the ten videos averages about ten minutes. It includes insights from those leaders and managers I surveyed about the subject and then suggests one or more exercises to do.
Introduction: Why You Want to be a Great Employee
In the introduction, I address what's in it for the employee. I will help them to understand that their career is within their control. How great they want to be is a choice they must take full responsibility for. I will discuss the importance of their having a vision for their career, not just a fleeting thought about it. I will help them to design their career story and the big why's behind it.
1. Be Trustworthy
When I help hire employees, I am looking for somebody I can trust. It is the most important fabric in any relationship and is based on two essential factors. First is somebody's skills. This is something you can test for. For example, half of the JAVA programmers are more skilled than the other half. Without testing you'll never know who they are. How does the employee identify the critical skill sets, and train to improve those skills? That's an ongoing conversation throughout one’s career.
The second part of the trust conversation centers on desire, motivation, engagement, etc. If somebody lacks desire then what good are their skills? I remind employees it is their choice of how they show up every day.
I then ask the employee to define how they are doing in critical trust factors identified by the survey
- Accountability (you understand your job)
- Responsibility (the buck stops here)
- Honesty (willing to do the “right thing”)
- Integrity (doing what you say you’ll do)
- Confidentiality (keeping private what should be) participants
All videos then share “What They Say” about the topic. 5-7 thoughts from other executives about the topic.
All videos then conclude with an exercise and call to action.
2. Be Productive
In workshops, I often have a CEO who has invited their HR executive to be a guest. I have both of them go through a simple exercise. I have them take out a blank sheet of paper and write down what each believes are the three most important strategic objectives of that HR executive. Then I have them show their lists to everyone else. And guess what- they never match!
While I am intimately familiar with performance management by MBO's, KPI's, and OKR's, none of these approaches will serve us if we're not on the same page with the most important strategic objectives. Getting that defined is where we'll start. Then they have to understand what benchmarks are sought from our activities. Whether you call that results, objectives, key indicators or some other name, what quality and quantity benchmarks define great performance?
I also address the importance of managing their time, having performance agreements, and focusing on results.
You want your employees to be responsible for their performance. To know their jobs, and to know when they are succeeding or failing, without having to be asked or without having to be told, because they understand their job so well.
3. Have a Plan with Goals
As Mary Kay famously said, “Most people plan their vacations better than their careers.” And this is true! When people don’t have a plan for their career they are working in what I call the grey zone. That’s not who I want working for me! Helping my employees map their careers was one of the smartest things I did.
In this video, I discuss the importance of defining short term performance goals (90 days) and long term career goals (3 to 5 years out). I stress the importance of having defined deadlines and provide tools they can use for long-term career planning and short- term 90 days “rolling” plans.
4. Keep Learning
It is a sad fact that only a handful of employees make a concerted effort to educate themselves once they’ve graduated from school. Many simply do the same job, at the same level, year after year. Given tight budgets and time constraints, many employers have backed off their training initiatives which further reduces continuing education.
I remind employees of one of the great truths of success- to earn more, you must learn more. And, in the end, doing so is the employee’s responsibility.
I also share with them many low-cost ways they can educate themselves- from company-sponsored training to TED talks and HBR Podcasts.
5. Know Your Company
In my consulting days I did a lot of employee surveys. I was always amazed at how little employees knew about the place they worked at every day. For example, great employees will know the ownership structure, executives, administrative staff, clients, customers, products, and services. They will understand the vision, mission, values, and goals for the company. They will understand operations beyond their team environment. Most important, know how the company makes a profit and how they directly contribute to that.
I will encourage employees to do research and ask questions. To know their company!
6. Look for the Opportunities
Very few employees are encouraged to think about the work they do… and therefore very few do. I don't know about you, but I would do whoopy dances when my employees thought for themselves. "You thought for yourself! That is awesome!" Don't you want your employees to think about how they're going to do their jobs better? How they can give better customer service, produce more innovative products, create additional opportunities, cut out waste, etc.?
I will help your employees understand they are capable of unique contributions. Every one of them. I will help them to be a better observer of their own condition and how to think through new ideas and present them to management. I tell them don’t wait for the company to ask you for suggestions, volunteer them. I’ll give them a Creativity Checklist and an Employee Suggestion Form that will assist them in doing so.
I can tell you right now that you'll get at least one good idea, from just one employee, that will pay for everyone going through this program. Just you watch.
7. Be a Team Player
Business is a team sport. We have to think in terms of cooperation, collaboration, and contribution. I begin by sharing some of the dynamics of being new to a team, as well as the leader on one. In the exercise I will provide a sample set of Team Rules they should tweak for their team.
I will then share a powerful exercise they can use to instantly understand how to best support each other. Work is fun when you are on a great team!
8. Speak Up, the Right Way
I remember reading a survey in the Wall Street Journal that said roughly half of employees would not speak up in light of illegal, immoral, or unethical conduct! This is a fear driven response. Fear of the judgment and consequences that will follow speaking up, including the loss of job security or retaliation. Therefore, much of the workforce sits in what I call a “Culture of Silence.”
This has devastating consequences to employee engagement, the company’s culture, risk management exposure, and profitability. And to one’s career. I share techniques to help employees speak up, the right way.
9. Don’t Cause Drama
As we wrote in the book Victims, Villains and Heroes, every day we walk on to an emotional stage. When anything unfair occurs, the age-old plot of Goodness Triumphs over Evil begins. Of course, for every victim there must be a villain. Bottom line is neither the employee, their co-workers, nor the company benefit from this destructive drama.
In my talks with CEO’s, they tell me the number one thing that drives them crazy is these nonsense dramas. Once again I will provide employees with techniques for staying off stage and avoid this most dangerous trap.
10. Dress for Success
This is a funny one to conclude with. It wasn’t on my original list, but after the survey responses I couldn't ignore it. So I keep it short and sweet. I let your employees know people will project a story on them, and they’ll have one about themselves too, simply based on the way they dress. The point is to dress like you want success. I’m not expecting anyone to be a fashionista—but I wouldn’t suggest anyone dress like a slob or somebody stuck in the 80’s either.
Another aspect of concern was proper grooming. According to a Career Builder survey I mention, too many employees still don’t get this.
Hearing it from me, and from the other executives I surveyed, should help.
The Employee Workbook and Management Workbook
I have created a fillable 50-page course workbook that can easily be saved by the employee. I also created a “how-to” manual for employers to help better implement this program.
The Cost of the Program
The average annual training budget last year was $1,400 per employee. What I charge for this program is but a drop in that bucket. Yet, it has the potential to be the most important training your employees ever receive! (After looking at the outline would you disagree?)
The cost of this program could easily be justified at $1,000 per employee. However, I offer it for only $97 per employee- roughly $10 per lesson. If you want a single license to project the program in a training environment or upload to an LMS, that still requires a license for each employee. There are price breaks that begin at 5 licenses.
Your real financial commitment is not to the price of the program but the investment of the employee's time. You have to believe by investing the employee's time, you'll get a return on your investment. Which is what this program is designed to do!
Employees can binge-watch the program (roughly 100 minutes) and then go back to the workbook. You can turn that into a half-day or full-day let’s do it now workshop. (I do those live as well.)
Or they can break it down on a lesson per week and do those exercises on a consistent basis.
Or they can devote an hour of their week for 10 weeks to help them be a great employee. 10-15 minutes to watch the lesson and then time to work through the exercises, whether that is on an individual or group basis.
Group Coaching Add On
To reinforce the learning and to support the implementation and progress of the program, I also offer follow-up webinars or group coaching using Zoom.
Where You Go from Here…
You can click below to sign up for the program. Bulk pricing discounts will be available. You can set up access for your employees once you have purchased your license.
If you wish to download the program into your LMS we will provide you the files to do so.
Here’s to having Great Employees, Don