Strategies to keep employees happy

May 13, 2009 9:16:31 AM PDT
A Silicon Valley high tech heavyweight has come out with a new book proclaiming ways to make employees happy in this recession, and they won't cost your company a dime. In fact, it's a strategy that might make you a bundle.

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The name of the book is 'How to Castrate a Bull.' Despite the aggressive sounding title, author and co-founder of NetApp, David Hitz, says treat a company gently.

"It's like growing a plant; you plant a seed and you water it, and you nurture it and you try and make the right stuff happen. But in the end, there is some magic there. You can't just bolt the green on the plant, or bolt more branches, it's more of a nurturing, human, organic kind of a thing," said Hitz.

Step one you have to have employees who get along with one another. If there is a problem, you have to cut it out.

"These life suckers, they don't do it to everyone around them, that's a different problem, but oftentimes they just do it to the people below them. And yeah, if you do get someone like that, I do think that you need to remove them," said Hitz.

Hitz also advises management to make sure workers are proud of what they produce, whether they're turning out cars, computers or customer service. Hitz knows of which he speaks and writes. NetApp has been voted number one best company to work for by Fortune magazine. His third tip to management is to be trustworthy.

"I think the number one step for building trust in management is for management to be trustworthy -- tell the truth," said Hitz.

ABC7 asked some folks in the South Bay, they feel by and large that the most important point that Hitz makes of the three -- you have to trust management.

"Everything trickles down it seems from the top. So, if you don't trust management then everything else isn't going to flow very well," said Lindsay Takamoto, Sunnyvale resident.

"They start believing you more and they start understanding that ,ok we have a management team that wants to share the information with us, so at least we know what we will have to do to make things better," said Dave Nieto, Sunnyvale resident.

The attention grabbing title comes from Hitz's days working on a ranch in Missouri. On page 169 there's a step by step instruction on how to castrate a bull. It's kind of tough to read, but that's a situation where Hitz learned about risk taking.

"Sometimes there are things that are risky enough that you really should slow down and maybe get some lessons if you can. Castrating a bull is really a metaphor for taking appropriate risk. Some things could hurt badly," said Hitz.

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