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Duolingo CEO Luis Von Ahn reveals how to turn lazy employees around



Luis von Ahn Duolingo CEO
Duolingo CEO Luis Von Ahn (pictured) said it’s possible
to turn around under-performing employees. All it takes is one

Luis von

  • Duolingo CEO Luis Von Ahn has a strategy for
    encouraging under-performing employees.
  • He told the Financial Times that he just
    tells them: “What you’re doing is really important.”
  • The technique ties back to the idea that people need to
    feel like their work has meaning.

Duolingo CEO Luis Von Ahn knows exactly what to do
with lazy employees.

The founder of the language learning app — which
has been valued at $700 million — recently
discussed his strategy for dealing with unengaged employees in an
interview with the Financial Times.

“You can turn somebody from being a lazy person to being the most
committed person if they honestly believe that the company and
you, as a leader, think what they’re doing is important,” Von Ahn
told the Financial Times. “It’s amazing how motivating it is to
sit with somebody and say ‘what you’re doing is really
important.’ I use that a lot.”

His technique is backed up by the results of a 2016 survey from LinkedIn and
Imperative. The study looked into 26,151 global LinkedIn members
to find out how many people “optimize their job to align with
work that matters to them.” The report found that 73% of
purpose-driven employees are satisfied with their jobs, as
opposed to 64% of non-purpose-driven employees.

And Von Ahn has indicated that he’s on the look-out for
purpose-driven individuals. He told the Financial Times that he
doesn’t believe that waving around massive pay checks will
attract top candidates to Duolingo.

“If it requires you paying them off to come work for you, I don’t
think they’re going to be in it,” he said. “We prefer
missionaries to mercenaries.”

Glassdoor has provided a
glimpse into pay at Duolingo. The job site’s list of average base
salaries at the company reported that senior software engineers
could earn $110,396, lead designers could make $97,793, and
product managers could bring home anywhere from $85,000 to
$113,000 a year.

Von Ahn previously told Business Insider that his team vets
talent by conducting extensive reference checks, ensuring
that prospective employees aren’t arrogent jerks, and refusing to hire
any doubt-provoking candidates.

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