The Four Tenets of a High Performance Workforce

Small businesses, especially start-ups, need to have employees of a kindred spirit.
Support means ensuring employees are paid sufficient salaries to maintain their lifestyle

By Bob McKenzie

Why do we need empirical studies to prove things we already know?  It seems every year there’s a new study about the efficacy of the workplace.  And every year, the results of these studies are the same. “Organisations that employ dedicated and passionate employees make more money than companies that don’t have the same level of employee loyalty.”

Has anyone seen an application for a million dollar grant for someone to prove that water is wet? Likewise, spending time and money on such a business-related study seems to be a waste of time and money.

Small businesses, especially start-ups, need to have employees of a kindred spirit. They have to be somewhat entrepreneurial as they should be willing to work for their own success. There are people out there who understand that hard and dedicated work will allow them to be successful both from a job and financial standpoint.

How do we get people to work for us at their highest level and retain them in the long run? There are four primary tenets all business owners should seek out and nurture in their employees.

Employees must trust top management to make the right decisions for the organisation. Likewise, management must trust employees to do what is right for the business and its customers and vendors. Think about it. Corporations all over the country are trying to come up with ways to retain talent. This isn’t rocket science; it’s a matter of trusting management to make the right decisions for the business and trusting co-workers to do their part to make the business grow. Do you know of anyone who wants to work in an environment where they can’t trust the people they work with?  Being honest with your employees opens the avenues of communication and builds confidence in each other. It’s a simple concept.

People who believe in the product or service they provide will do a better job of providing necessary customer service and support to their co-workers.  Commitment is gained through setting clear objectives and expectations. Great companies hire the best people for their organisation’s culture. When this happens, business owners can expect the best out of their employees because they’re providing meaningful work and meeting the necessary balance for the personal and professional needs of employees.

Commitment also means not being afraid to confront, and if necessary, remove those individuals who don’t live up to their responsibilities.  Don’t be afraid of clearing out those who aren’t committed to the mission.  Employees usually fall into one of four categories:

  1. Committed – The more people that are committed to your cause, the better off you will be.
  2. Compliant – Some people just like to come into work, do their thing and go home at the end of the day.  This is not a bad thing; as we all need these types of employees. Keep them busy and keep these people working.
  3. Complacent – In today’s business world, there’s no room for complacent employees.  They don’t like change and want to keep everything status quo.  Their motto seems to be, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  Whereas, with the speed of change in business, the motto should always be, “How can we change to make things better?”
  4. Complaining – It seems that most people today think it’s their right and responsibility to complain about everything that comes their way. One employee recently complained to me about the type of paper clips and paper towels we use in the office.

Complaining in and of itself is not necessarily bad.  If the complaint has merit, then it’s a legitimate concern.  Another term for complaining is whining and working with whiners isn’t fun. Why not empower the complainer to do something about the things they’re complaining about. Now they’re part of the solution versus pointing out and becoming part of the problem. One other way is to have a “No Whining” rule in your workplace.  This means that whiners are summarily ignored.  Without reinforcement, whining diminishes.



Effective leadership creates enthusiasm and passion by recognising employees’ accomplishments.  Pay attention to what’s going on in your workplace and provide acknowledgment.  Publicly praising employees and rewarding them for doing well helps maintain their essential enthusiasm.

Think of the new employee who comes into the job highly motivated and excited about new possibilities.  Think about harnessing enthusiasm, energy and optimism throughout the employment tenure of those employees.  As long as the rest of the workforce is made up of enthusiastic people, it should be a pretty easy task to harness and sustain that initial excitement.

One way to ensure enthusiasm is to celebrate successes often and together as a group – all organisational successes are the result of all of the people who are a part of it.  In other words, do not single out a particular group or department for contributing to your success.  If the sales department exceeds it goals, it’s because everyone did their part.  Celebrate as a group; don’t just give the sales department the kudos that everyone deserves.



Providing the proper tools, equipment and resources is the first step in providing support to your employees.  Try hammering a nail with a screwdriver, and you’ll know the meaning of providing the proper tools.  It may eventually work, but not without some frustration and possible injury. Not to mention time consumption. Another way of providing support is fostering teamwork throughout the organisation. Employees should be looking out for one another and assisting others wherever and whenever they can.

Support means ensuring employees are paid sufficient salaries to maintain their lifestyle — in base earnings, bonuses and benefits.

Follow these four simple tenets when managing your workplace and your great people will become even greater.  Then all you have to do is sit back, watch and admire what your employees will do … for you.

Bob McKenzie is the President of McKenzieHR, a full service human resources outsourcing firm.  Bob was the recipient of the Entrepreneur Anchor Magazine Man of Steel Award and was also named the Ultimate Human Resources Executive of the Year by the Jacksonville (FL) Business Journal.

Turning ON?? OFF? Your Office Computer is a Waste of Time

By John Perry




While there are very few businesses than can be run without computers and technology today, the costs of keeping technology working can be expensive. Even when you factor in the cost of equipment and upgrades, you’re still only looking at a small part of the actual cost of having and maintaining computers and networks.

Life Happens Everyday

As almost everyone who’s worked on a computer (Windows, Linux or Apple operating systems) will attest, they’re known to have periodic hardware and software issues. This is far too common and unfortunately we’ve grown to accept that fact.  This means you’re going to have to deal with tech support services, which almost always involves downtime for the computer and the person who should be using it.  Figuring out why a computer is having a problem can take a while, and this can be made worse if someone spends hours trying to fix it themselves, only to later determine in outright frustration they still have to call tech support anyway.

The Meantime Between Failures

Even after tech support figures the problem out, sometimes fixing the problem(s) requires the computer to be sent to a repair shop to have the problem resolved.  This can mean a computer and an employee are out of commission for a day or more. What’s worse? You don’t have your data backed up or copied to another system. Now you’re looking at even more problems. Waiting for your data or trying to recreate everything from scratch is a pain. Sometimes even an impossibility; given the problem with your computer you may lose some key files altogether.

A Lot Goes On Behind the Scenes

If you’re not keeping up on operating system and security updates, you may find your computers are having frequently performance or operating problems. You want your office computers to work at their peak performance level, just like you. This means all the software installed should have the latest Operating System and Application patches installed. One update can mean the difference between it working or crashing. System updates also ensure you’re secure from past vulnerabilities.

Threats from crackers (the technie name for hackers) and potentially malicious employees also justify keeping your Anti-virus, Spy-ware and Access Control updated. System scans should be done frequently so your computers are protected. Network appliances should be using firewalls and monitoring what’s going in and out of the network every second.

Keeping up with computers that are in different departments using different software suites and operating systems can be incredibly time consuming and take people away from doing their regular jobs. There is only one of each of you.

The Glue That Keeps “IT” All Together

Another way office computers can subtract from time and profitability is pertained to running your network.  Not only that, but you must ensure it is secure and doing what it’s supposed to do. You invested in networking your systems together to increase productivity. But if your network goes down, your staff won’t have access to the resources and production ceases.

The last thing anyone wants is to have their data or customers’ data accessible to crackers. So, tight security measures need to be implemented and updated regularly on internal and external networks. While network security is critical, taking time to ensure your networks are secure and working at proper speeds is time consuming at best.

Even if you’re able to keep your business’ computers and network highly functional at all times, the amount of time and investment can add up substantially, taking you away from your most important “To Do”: running your business.  Technology support and management systems have come a long way. Businesses can leverage this technology internally by having their own IT staff or by outsourcing the work to a qualified IT services provider. Either approach frees up time for you and your non-IT staff. That way, if one or more of your computers freezes up, you’re not having to bivouac overnight in the office, trying to unthaw the problem.

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