Your best employees have the strongest work ethic. It’s pretty much a law of physics. They rise above the call of duty, instigate new ideas, rarely miss a day, motivate others and give full effort to ensure every job is done to the best of their ability. If you could clone these workers, you probably would. But what if work ethic was contagious and you could use the traits that fuel workaholics to build a strong corporate culture? No cloning required.
Identify Strong Work Ethic
Five traits that personify almost all workaholics are:
Employees with strong work ethic are driven to succeed and they see these five attributes as the best way to get there. While they posses a strong internal drive and are highly motivated, not all of their motivation comes from within. These types of employees often align themselves with environments that value those same attributes and subsequently reward them. The culture in which they work helps amplify their traits, allows their positive influence to spread and gives them the mental energy required to continue working at peak levels.
It can be easy to assume that people with strong work ethic are born that way, or became that way during a youth filled with hard work. However, many high achievers are those who were deemed "slackers" in high school. It wasn't that they lacked a desire to work hard or succeed. They were just in the wrong environment for nurturing their particular skills.
Build a Culture
The first step to building a culture that breeds strong work ethic is to make sure managers communicate tasks and objectives clearly and assess the employees' understanding before the job begins. By having the expectations clearly and regularly defined, employees will be more confident when tackling tasks. They will be empowered with knowledge and can concentrate on doing rather than knowing.
Become a Mentor
The second step is mentorship. Managers must embrace their roles as teachers and use their position of influence and expertise to help employees reach their potential. By identifying employees' strengths, weaknesses and passions, a manager can then concentrate on developing them. Thanks to communication, assessment and mentorship they become more personally invested in their job. This rewards both the employee and the employer and can help build the leadership infrastructure of tomorrow.
Reward Good Behaviors
The third step is reward. While you might already reward sales and safety, does your organization reward work ethic? Regularly reward employees who stay late, never take sick days and generally set the work ethic example in the workplace. Buying lunch for all your hard-working employees after a big job might not seem like a big reward, but it shows them that their hard work is noticed and appreciated.
Lead by Example
Perhaps the most important step to create a corporate culture that values work ethic is radiation. Not the unsafe nuclear kind, but the practice of having managers, supervisors and executives who act as a work ethic compass for the rest of the employees to follow. Upper management should radiate the traits that make up a strong work ethic and use communication, mentorship and reward to help establish the benchmarks for all other employees to follow.
When it comes down to work ethic you need to walk the walk. Show your employees that you take work ethic seriously and value that extra effort and pretty soon you’ll be left with a workforce who never takes their sick days!