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Regardless of the industry, if your team is excited about what the company is working toward, they will maintain the right energy and take the initiative to go that extra mile, Jay Klein writes.

Jay Klein is the founder and CEO of The PUR Company.

I will always remember being giddy about selling my first pack of gum out of my backpack, to a complete stranger.

This small accomplishment sparked an early innovative and entrepreneurial spirit in me that blossomed into my role as founder of the best-selling, aspartame-free brand worldwide. After my first sale, I intrinsically became addicted to challenging myself, setting goals and pushing the boundaries to achieve them.

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I thought, if I could sell one pack of chewing gum, could I sell 100? What about 1,000? What about creating a business? The sky was and still is the limit. This is a mentality I live and breathe every day, and instill in my team.

We consider ourselves to be a “Wild, Wild West” organization – truly rooted in an entrepreneurial dynamic where we work hard, play hard and drive our business forward. We focus on motivating and inspiring our team by setting targets and following through on delivery.

Regardless of the industry, if your team is excited about what the company is working toward, they will maintain the right energy and take the initiative to go that extra mile.

We dangle the target carrot – or in our case, a piece of gum – and get them to bite. We hold everyone at every level accountable to his or her goals. We check in with them frequently along the way to brainstorm, pivot or discuss challenges, barriers and wins.

While some companies stick to a once-a-year review process, other companies are doing away with performance reviews altogether. At PUR, we focus on improvement, development and challenging the congenital way of doing things. Our employees gain a passion for the business and a level of empowerment that drives results from our professional development and target-setting process.

As businesses evolve and roles constantly change (especially those in expertise/specialized roles), the competition continues to become fiercer across all industries. To keep employees motivated, on their toes and hungry to deliver results, leaders should focus on working with their teams to set goals and keep their teams accountable. Here are a few ways we do it at PUR:

  • 30-60-90 day plans – Our leaders collaborate with employees to create a tailored 30-60-90 day plan, allowing them to set personal and professional targets that will benefit themselves and the company. Working with short-medium and long-term goals helps employees celebrate wins along the way and create attainable goals that drive results.
  • Bi-weekly development check-ins – To see optimal results from employees, our leaders meet on an individual basis with their reports (in an informal setting) to discuss how the employee is tracking to reach their targets. Simple things such as checking a box on a checklist can inspire employees to see their growth and sustain their momentum.
  • On-boarding & setting the stage – On-boarding is key for setting expectations and getting the new team member excited. Our welcome handbook is called “Join The Pack” and includes all cultural philosophies, values and business targets for the year. We share ideas for how employees can contribute to the business targets (by creating personal ones) so they are inspired from day one.
  • Recognize & reward – With good work comes recognition. Inspired employees are those who are recognized, appreciated and valued. If an employee sets a goal and reaches it or exceeds it, they should be recognized. At PUR, we give away a “PURly Amazing Award” each month at our team huddle to recognize a team member who goes above and beyond.

While some industries may find the regular check-ins suffocating, others find it inspiring and highly stimulating, especially in the creative ones as it allows for collaboration.

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Our process works because our people know that their voice, input and hard work in reaching targets can genuinely impact the business. Further, the attention to detail that goes into our development process results in a sense of empowerment that leads to proud employees who come to work everyday ready to go above and beyond, and perhaps think up the next innovation.

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