Creating Employees Who Go the Extra Mile

110% is the new 100%. Meeting the standards is no longer enough. Going above and beyond is necessary, expected, and needed, but how do you hit the goal when it keeps getting higher? It comes down to culture. Having employees who go the extra mile is about creating a company culture where exceptional is the goal and overdelivering is the standard. A positive company culture is often the difference between a successful small business and an empire. 

Evaluating OCBs

The first place to start is a focus on Organizational Citizenship Behaviors (OCBs). OCBs are behaviors done to benefit others, not yourself. They are things like respect, empathy, and being conscientious of others needs. It’s recognizing that every sport is a team sport. OCBs look different day to day, but they always have three characteristics:

  • They’re optional. They’re not a part of formal job requirements. Sure, you can try to legislate them, but that would of course defeat the purpose. 
  • They’re not formally rewarded. If you give an incentive for doing something or punish people for not doing it, it’s not an OCB. They can be recognized and praised, but are not part of any benchmark or incentive program. 
  • They boost organizational performance. OCBs are responsible for up to 20% better overall quantity and quality of work, up to 25% better financial efficiency, and up to 40% better customer service performance.

The impact comes from lots of people doing OCBs, not just one company superhero taking on the brunt of the work. So, if you can’t legislate it, and you can’t formally reward it, how can we increase OCBs? Here’s a few ideas: 

  • Make work meaningful. The nature of the work makes a big difference. Do your best to switch things up when you can to make the work varied, fun, and engaging. Make sure each team member knows how their work contributes to the company’s larger purpose. 
  • Stay Positive. Transformational leaders focus on developing their team and stay positive throughout the day. The support from leaders goes a long way to empowering your team to step up. 
  • Work as a Team. When asked what would motivate them to go the “Extra mile”, 20 percent of employees answered “Camaraderie and Peer Motivation”. When everyone is working together towards the same goal, it creates momentum within the team. 
  • Foster HonestyIt’s important that those who work for you know they can be honest with you. They should feel comfortable telling you if they are overworked, overwhelmed at home, or burned out. Allow them to take a break without judgment and they’ll come back twice as strong. 

Refining Your Culture

In a recent study, Tinypulse found that nearly two-thirds of employees surveyed reported working at an organization without a culture. In the same study, the one-third with a defined culture (and a positive one) are also those with ​standout financial performance. Coincidence? Absolutely not. Culture is what sets you apart. It’s not just what you do, but how you do it. Culture always comes back to how you treat each other and your customers. Common company culture statements include may buzz words like loyalty, trust, service, and honesty but it’s not just nice ideas. A company culture is woven into every process you do. If you don’t create it intentionally, you’re still creating a culture (it’s just probably not one you’re proud of). 

Training Managers Well

Whenever you’re evaluating your team, you must also be evaluating your managers. Statistically speaking, only about half of employees are “highly satisfied” with their managers. Clearly, we have room to improve here. Bad experiences with managers can completely deflate a team’s momentum. On the other hand, a good manager can make a huge difference. 

Only about 17% of employees have a personal intrinsic desire to go above and beyond. If you can snag one of these golden eggs, good for you. If you already have one, do everything you can to keep them on your team. Otherwise, it’s about creating the motivation, momentum, and culture to help the other 82% to rise to the challenge. Given the right environment, employees who go the extra mile can be the norm, and 110% their new personal best.