Editor’s Note: This is a guest post Scott Matthews. His opinions are his own.
Even though most companies tend to forget it sometimes, the most valuable asset they have is not their market position nor their brand. It’s not even the quality of their service or product. The most precious resource every business or company has are the people. When your employees are skilled, experienced, and hard-working, it seems like your company can do no wrong, and it’s probably a joy for you as a manager to come to work every day and lead your staff.
It is up to you to create that ideal situation, where every employee is not just doing their job properly, but where they are also working as one toward a common goal. As a result, your office team grows into something that is a lot more than the sum of its parts. But, how do you go about creating such an environment? In a nutshell, it is all about keeping the office morale at a very high level, and you can only do that if you are in tune with the needs and abilities of your employees.
High morale not only makes your employees feel valued and happy, but it also keeps them productive. For instance, in the US alone, over 70% of the workforce feels disengaged, which ultimately affects you as a boss and the company itself. It’s a major problem which isn’t being dealt with property.
How do you tap into the collective power of your staff?
Being a good boss has its perks, such as better reputation, higher revenue for your company, and the opportunity to grow professionally. But all of that is merely a reflection of how your employees are being treated. According to James Willman, who works as a manager for Brillassignment.co.uk, the following 7 tips can help you keep your team engaged and happy:
1. Communicate with your employees
Being open and accessible for your employees is crucial, because communication is the only way through which you can identify all the needs and problems your employees might have. It might be something that is easily solvable, but even if it is not, sometimes people just need someone to hear their professional concerns. And listening is not just all about the negative stuff either. By being transparent with your staff, you also have the opportunity to hear their ideas, which might benefit everyone.
Another crucial element is making sure to inform each employee about the vision of the company, and the role they play in it. If your employees feel as if their presence and contributions matter and add up to something bigger, they will be motivated to give it their best at all times.
2. Provide training and growth opportunities for your team
One of the most effective employee retention strategies isn’t giving your team members more money, but providing them with opportunities to grow their skills, utilize their strengths, and further their careers. Rest assured, each individual team member has something they particularly excel at, something which is relevant to the company. But, you can only discover what that is by talking to them and letting them know that they have your support to develop their talents.
Now, for some, this alone will be enough to get them to develop on their own, but for others, you will need to provide opportunities in the shape of training. Check with them to see if they would be interested, and provide training, courses, seminars, and/or workshops for those which are willing to grow.
3. Challenge your team
Being a manager is not about delegating your work to your team so that you have less of it, but to challenge them and enable them to step out of their comfort zones. Of course, when you assign a challenging task to your whole team or each of the member individually, make sure that the task is within their skillset and reachable within the timeframe you have given them.
Another reason why you might want to give your employees more freedom is because a less controlling approach will allow them to make use of their creativity. Each member of the team has a different approach to solving things, and it’s important for you to support them in thinking outside the box.
4. Take time to recognize both group and individual achievements
Giving feedback should be mandatory for every manager and should go without saying, whether it’s positive or negative. An even better solution would be to, in the case of positive feedback, to take it a step further and make it a point to recognize the achievements of your team, as well as the achievements of individual members. Of course, most managers immediately start thinking about how much it would cost to give out raises, promotions, benefits, or bonuses, but it’s not just about that.
Something like a public recognition for a job well done certainly costs a lot less, and it some cases, it might even turn out to be more effective than any other method. And this works on a team level, as well, because everyone will be able to see that they are working for a boss who clearly appreciates their hard work and dedication.
5. Let your employees have fun
Regardless of how understanding, capable, or supportive you are as a boss, when your team is working on a huge project, days seem to blend into one another, which creates boredom and monotony. In order to avoid that, you need to break up that pattern and let your team have some fun. You can organize team building activities during or after office hours. These allow your employees to step back and recover, and they also strengthen team spirit.
Even having something as simple as a dart board, a miniature pool table, or a space with TV and bean bags in your office can make a tough day a lot more bearable. It’s even better if you are the one that’s going to initiate these breaks, because that will boost the team morale even more.
6. Don’t forget to celebrate personal milestones
While you should definitely allow your employees to have a life outside of work, as a boss, you should make sure to keep tabs on your employees’ personal milestones, without invading their privacy. If a team member has a birthday coming, is having a child, or if they are getting married, make sure to celebrate it at the office as well. That way, you make them feel as if they are a part of another, professional family.
This also works on another level, because it requires all team members to take part, which strengthens the bonds inside your team. Sending flowers or giving them a gift might not be a huge gesture, but it is one that means a lot.
7. Instead of always hiring new people, promote from within
If you are managing a large company, you will need to hire people quite often. However, the first thing you should do is look among your employees in order to see if any of them would be suitable for that particular position you are looking to fill. Even if an employee might require some training beforehand, it’s still a better option, for a number of reasons.
First of all, they are familiar with the company culture, as well as other team members. Second, if your team sees that you are hiring new people instead promoting them, it sends a signal that their hard work is not being recognized and rewarded properly.
Building a strong team and utilizing that extra strength is a complex endeavour, but as you can see, it’s not impossible. All things considered, it’s about treating your team with respect and giving credit where it’s due, and from time to time, going that extra mile in order to let them know how much they are being appreciated.