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How Employees Make or Break Business Success (And How You Can Lead the Way)

business.com editorial staff
business.com editorial staff

Even the most amazing employees need direction and encouragement to succeed. Here are some tips on how to lead them to achieve.

  • Businesses can only be as strong as their employees, no matter what industry it involves.
  • In order 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.

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 absolutely paramount to maintaining a positive atmosphere at work, which, in turn, will boost productivity.

How employees contribute to an organization's success

  • They carry out your mission. One of the top reasons employees are important to an organization's success is that they are the ones who are directly responsible for carrying out your mission. For instance, if you have a mission statement that places an emphasis on providing outstanding customer service, no matter how much you believe in the mission, it will be the employees themselves who will deliver this incredible customer service.

  • They are the lifeblood of the company. In addition to carrying out your mission, your employees are literally the lifeblood of your organization. All levels of your company are run by your employees. If you do not value them, ultimately, they will not value your or your company.

  • They drive revenue. Moreover, according to Mapovate, employees are also important to the success of an organization because they help drive revenue. When employees are treated properly and given the proper guidance and tools, they can help reduce costs while also boosting sales and revenue.

  • They can influence your customers. Last, one of the top reasons employees are vital to your success as an organization is that they can influence customers. No matter what type of company you have, your customers are likely to value the views and opinions of your own employees over all else. Therefore, if you have lots of dissatisfied employees, the customers are likely to develop a negative view of your company overall.

4 ways to guide and motivate employees

Take advantage of everyone's strengths.

Gallup developed a strength assessment test to help business leaders everywhere learn about what makes their employees tick. Based on an aggregate of employee survey responses, playing to everyone's individual strengths makes for a stronger workplace.

According to the survey, 40% of American workers whose managers ignored them actively disengage from work, and only 2% felt engaged at all. Only 22% of employees whose managers mostly gave negative feedback actively disengaged, but only 45% of workers felt engaged.

While any attention is better than no attention, positive attention – as when an employer focuses mainly on strengths – is the best of all. Among this category, 61% of survey respondents felt engaged with their work, and only 1% were actively disengaged.

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.

Hold employees accountable.

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 against the law. By implementing an automated system, you won't have to make them feel like Big Brother is watching – and you'll actually improve overall efficiency by seeing how much time the team devotes to each task and where time might be better spent.

Keep a feedback loop open

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.

Lead by example

Lastly, if you want to promote a positive workplace in which your employees are happy and thriving is to lead by example. According to Talent Manager and HR, actions speak louder than words. So, if you are attempting to build a company that champions great customer service, compassion, 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.

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