Human Resources: Good Managers Create Good Employees; Good Employees Create Good Business

Managers know that to compete in our rapidly changing and highly competitive global economy they must be customer-focused. They must be able to respond quickly with a quality product or service. Agility and reduced cycle time and six-sigma quality are the buzzwords of all industries. But successful managers are rapidly recognizing that the linchpins to this customer-driven cycle are the employees. The people taking in the orders, creating the artwork, running the presses, doing the bindery and delivering the products are collectively the keys to the success or failure of the business. Finding, keeping and motivating good employees is the key to a successful business future.

It’s only natural that when you hire an employee you have great expectations for his or her performance. The key factor that keeps them performing over the years is their motivation. Motivation is a passion for what they are doing that goes beyond money, power, or status. It is marked by a tendency to pursue goals with energy and persistence. Motivated people drive themselves to achieve beyond their own or anyone else’s expectations.

Motivation also involves your ability to communicate your passion to others. You have to radiate your commitment so that your enthusiasm is contagious to the people around you. That’s what motivation is all about. Motivating people is a responsibility of leadership because it is the most expeditious way to achieve a goal.

Good managers not only understand this concept, but they also live it. Great managers create far more energy than they consume. Instead of taking energy from an organization, they channel and amplify it to the organization. These managers know their most important function is to get people excited and inspired. If everybody is focused on the same goal, you maximize the energy, and you reach the goal faster. By leading with positive reinforcements, you inspire your employees to do what you want them to do and develop happier, more productive employees in the process.

It is your job as the manager to find out what motivates your employees. Each employee has his or her own unique motivators. Your job is to figure out what they are. The simplest way is to ask. Often managers assume that employees only want more money. These same managers are surprised when the employees tell them other things—such as:

Meaningful Work. Most people are looking for long-term employment, not just a job. In the high tech industry of today, we must have better qualified and technically knowledgeable employees. They in turn want a sense of accomplishment and pride in what they do. They want opportunities to learn and increase their responsibility and the chance to create and implement solutions.

Appreciation for work done. Recognize, reward, and promote high performers; deal with low and marginal performers so that they improve or leave.

Feeling in on things. Provide information on how the company/department makes and loses money, upcoming products, and services and strategies for success. Involve employees in decisions, especially the decisions that affect them. Involvement equals commitment.

Balance. Quality of life is becoming very important. Managers need to demonstrate that they understand the work and personal needs of employees and be willing to act on that understanding.

A sense of ownership in their work and their work environment. Strive to create a work environment that is open, trusting, and fun. Encourage new ideas, suggestions, and initiative—learn from, rather than punish for, mistakes.

Competitive Pay. Managers need to recognize that they must provide wages that are competitive not just with competitors, but with a broader industry base that is attracting the same skills and talents.

You must lead, motivate and energize your employees by focusing on their positive accomplishments. If you have employees that get negative or upset, it’s your job to get them back on track. The morale of the staff will have an effect on the business. It can either be negative or positive. It’s your job to make sure it’s positive. Managers think that some employees naturally have good attitudes, that others naturally have bad attitudes, and that they (as managers) can’t do much to change them. It may be true that people come with certain attitudes, but studies have also proven that managers have the biggest influence on how motivated their employees are. Resolve now to make it happen.


Debra Thompson is president of TG & Associates (, a consulting firm specializing in Human Resources for the Graphics Industry. Debra can be reached toll free at 877-842-7762 or