A business is only as successful as its employees, and that goes for any industry. Whether you’re a leader in an office, a retail store or an online business, the rules of leadership apply. Even the most amazing employees need direction and encouragement to succeed. Guidance is paramount to maintaining a positive atmosphere at work, which, in turn, will boost productivity. To promote a positive workplace in which employees go above and beyond to achieve organizational goals, you need to lead by example and take advantage of everyone’s strengths.
Employees are important because they carry out your mission and have influence over your customers, among other reasons.
Here are six ways to motivate your employees:
Playing to each employee’s individual strengths makes for a stronger workplace. While any attention is better than no attention, positive attention – as when an employer focuses mainly on strengths – is the best of all. Plain and simple, focusing on employees’ talents boosts your bottom line. Employees who primarily use their strengths at work feel less stressed and physically and emotionally healthier. This increases their productivity and also supports positive engagement with clients and customers.
Accountability can be an unbelievably useful management tool, but only if you develop a system for doing so. If you tell an employee that they’re accountable for their actions only after they have taken action, you’ll only confuse and potentially disappoint them. It’s too late for your response to have a real impact at that point in time.
However, if you spell out your precise expectations ahead of time, every member of your team understands the standard of work for which they are responsible. When they know exactly what they’re supposed to do, you can trust that they’ll know how to follow through.
One way to help people know where they stand is to implement time tracking. While some employees “pad their hours” on their timesheets, you might be surprised by the number who underreport the time they spend working on a project – or, in some cases, how many don’t bill for overtime, because they want to please their bosses. Not paying employees accurately for their time isn’t just bad practice – it’s actually a gainst the law.
By implementing an automated system, you won’t have to make them feel like Big Brother is watching – and you’ll improve overall efficiency by seeing how much time the team devotes to each task and where time might be better spent.
A major part of developing a successful team is opening a feedback loop. Employees need to know where they stand.
If someone is lagging behind their teammates, have a conversation with that person early on; this will keep them from being confused when it’s time for quarterly reports. On the flip side, if someone has done an amazing job on a project or has improved tremendously in some aspect of the work, let them know. Otherwise, how will they know to keep up the good work?
It’s just as important to be transparent and open to feedback on your end. Employees should have room to comfortably and respectfully voice any thoughts or concerns. When you hear from them what’s going well and what might need to change, you have a better sense of how your business is running overall.
One thing all organizations have in common is they ultimately want to be successful. Minor and major goals fuel employees’ desires to work harder and make a greater impact, but if those goals are too out-of-reach, it can cause burnout and dwindle team morale.
An effective acronym that can help is SMART goals, which stands for:
Specificity in goals can highlight your company’s strengths and weaknesses for your target market. Measurable goals require analysis of your team and will help you keep track of how far you’ve gone in achieving a goal. The achievable and realistic factors of the SMART system go hand-in-hand. If goals are achievable and realistic, your team will feel a greater sense of accomplishment at the end of the day, no matter the size of the goal. Finally, a timeline will help your team stay on track and synchronized as each goal is reached.
It is important to make your employees feel as if the goals in front of them are attainable. This is why you can help improve employee morale by setting SMART goals.
Greater team autonomy can not only benefit individual teams but your entire company culture as well.
When teams are more autonomous, leaders don’t need to spend as much time micromanaging them and can instead plan for the future and address other company needs. For instance, employee retention rises when teams are given more autonomy. If a company takes processes like onboarding and work-life balance initiatives seriously, employees are more likely to stay at the company for longer periods of time.
This is because, in recent years, meaningful work has begun to gradually take precedence over higher pay and longer hours. A team of researchers found that more than 90% of employees would choose to take a pay cut in favor of doing more meaningful work. When you trust your employees enough to grant them more autonomy, it gives them the ability to find purpose in their work, which can help incentivize them to stay at your company.
Lastly, if you want to promote a positive workplace in which employees are happy and thriving, you must lead by example. Actions speak louder than words. So, if you are attempting to build a company that champions , going above and beyond, etc., you need to exhibit these same traits to your employees. If not, you will eventually create a company that functions in the exact opposite method of what you intended.