Maintaining an enthusiastic and productive workforce is essential to the growth of your company. Here are some tips to help your employees look forward to each working day, stay engaged, and keep on task.
Agree on Expectations, and Create Achievable Goals
Employees are most engaged when they understand what you expect from them and know how to contribute to the business. Set aside time for regular employee performance reviews to ensure your employees have the skills to succeed. Setting people up to fail by giving them a task beyond their level of competence is a surefire way to wreck morale. Negotiate realistic deadlines for task completion, and figure out a concrete way to measure progress.
Unless your employee is new to the role or consistently under-performs, avoid micromanaging. Trust your employee to get on with the task at hand, and keep an eye on their progress through regular one-to-one meetings, preferably in a relaxed atmosphere over a cup of coffee. Use these meetings as an opportunity to listen as well as give productive feedback. If all is going to plan, praise them for their contribution. If they’re experiencing problems, help resolve the issue, and avoid placing blame. Ensuring the employee leaves each meeting feeling valued is great for morale. Give your employees ownership over their work, and keep an open door policy so they feel able to call in for advice without waiting for the next scheduled meeting.
Open communication that encourages and values contributions is empowering. Often your employees have great ideas on how the company can improve, so encourage feedback, and allow meetings where people can express ideas openly without fear of being critical toward the management team. Avoid a blame culture where people feel they have to cover up mistakes rather than learn from them.
Keeping your employees’ skills up-to-date is key in today’s fast-paced environment. Some bosses are reluctant to invest in training and development, as they fear employees may take their skills to other companies. The wise manager knows that not training employees has too great a cost in terms of morale and productivity. Encouraging a learning environment needn’t be costly. Ask your in-house experts to train and mentor, and use online training tools instead of sending employees to workshops. Make clear career paths, and promote from within so keen employees can see ways to progress in your company.
Encourage Fun and Creativity
To nurture a team spirit that keeps employees happy and productive, create an environment that doesn’t just focus on work. Encourage team-building days where employees can get to know each other, and celebrate personal and national events such as birthdays, Halloween, or Ugly Christmas Sweater Day. Allow teams time off to volunteer in the community or prepare for sponsored events.
Acknowledge and Reward Achievements
Make time to thank your employees in person for their achievements both in and out of work. Feeling appreciated leads to greater engagement and a sense of being part of a team. For many, recognition is more important than a raise.
Creating a pleasant work environment costs little, but the payoff is big. Your employees are more likely to feel engaged and less likely to take time off, and everybody benefits as the company grows.