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To Drive Performance, Self-Storage Owners Should Manage the 'Whole Employee'


By Marty Martin

Human-resources management is an essential part of business, but have you noticed the majority of the literature on the topic focuses on the "resources" and "management" aspects but barely addresses the “human” element? Most self-storage owners see their employees as resources to be managed, not as whole people who can contribute so much more.

Managing the whole person means acknowledging the employee is multi-dimensional and has numerous roles to balance in life—all of which affect job performance. However, this goes much deeper than simply work-life balance. It’s about recognizing all aspects of an employee to ensure a work-life “fit” that benefits the company and each individual. In fact, when you focus on the whole person rather than just a person's work performance, you build more meaningful connections with staff, which results in greater loyalty and productivity. Following are some suggestions for better managing the whole employee.

See the Input, Not Just the Output

When managing the whole person, you need to look beyond the person’s job description. Look past the output (the deadlines, the expectations and day-to-day job duties) and consider the input factors, as these determine the quality of the output.

Input factors are the drivers and drainers in employees’ lives that affect their job performance. Some typical examples include:

  • The employee’s best time of day to get work done
  • What’s going on in the employee’s family
  • The employee’s physical, mental and emotional health
  • Other stressors the employee has, such as being a caregiver to aging parents, being pregnant, being the only income-earner in the home, etc.
  • The community or hobby events to which the employee is committed

Basically, it’s about paying attention to all of the different drivers and drainers that motivate employees to achieve a level of acceptable performance, go above and beyond an acceptable level, or under perform. Because all the various inputs affect the overall output, being aware of the input makes good business sense.

Acknowledge Everyone Is Multi-Dimensional

Many managers believe that finding out about their employees’ lives outside of the work role is intrusive. They don’t want to ask personal questions for fear of appearing nosey. The good news is you don’t have to ask questions to find out about people. You simply have to acknowledge the clues all around you.

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