The key to a happy and productive employees is making sure that they feel important in their role. Here are 10 tips to empower your staff.
As management, your employees trust you to make decisions that will positively impact them, but likewise, it is important that employees feel empowered to also make those important business decisions.
The feeling of importance and trust leads to better and more productive work. However, sometimes it is difficult to know exactly how to ensure your employees feel this way.
Here are ten tips to inspire your employees to take more responsibility and create a more positive work environment for everyone involved.
1. Demonstrate your trust
The best way to gain employee loyalty is by showing your staff that they have your trust. Clarify the ends instead of the means, and let your staff go about projects in their own way. They might not accomplish everything exactly as you would have, but they will get the job done with their own flair.
2. Communicate a clear vision
As a boss and a leader, it’s your job to get everyone on the same page. People that do not know what they are supposed to be doing won’t be able to accomplish their jobs very well at all. Clearly define the roles of your staff so they know their duties and don’t step on each other’s toes.
3. Don’t avoid small talk
Make a habit of sitting down with your employees and engaging in one-on-one conversation. You can have these talks in your office, in the break room or at a coffee shop down the street. Intentionally ask about their work progress, such as accomplishments or even complaints, but also make an effort to get to know your staff on a personal level.
Ask about what’s going on with their families, or lives in general, to show that you care about them as human beings. This will lead to a friendlier and more productive office environment. It will also help you grow as a leader. Two-thirds of people agree that their boss had some kind of impact on their career — make sure it is a positive one.
4. Encourage self-improvement
When your employees learn new skills it’s better for the company as a whole. Some companies will even support continued education or classes outside of the workplace that enhance personal growth.
If you can’t support your employees through financial support, at least be flexible with their schedules to a certain degree. Allowing your salesperson or HR representative to leave half an hour early every Thursday for community orchestra practice can do wonders for their well-being and work ethic. [Related Article: What Makes Employees Happy?]
5. Leave your office door open
You want your employees to know that their opinions are valued in order to truly empower them. A simple gesture such as leaving your office door open can do wonders to communicate this.
Adopting an open door policy shows employees that you care about what they think while enabling them to give their input and play an active role in your company.
6. Support vacation time
This might seem counterintuitive, but you are going to get a lot more out of your employees if you work to keep them from burning out. Learn to spot the symptoms of burnout, and avoid getting anywhere close by actively supporting vacation time.
Your employees will actually be more productive and better at their jobs if they are well-rested and rejuvenated. You don’t have to mandate full weeks off at a time, but you should foster an environment where a long weekend here and there is not only tolerated but actively supported.
7. Delegate more than just work
As a boss or manager, it’s inevitable that you’ll have to delegate work, but make sure that’s not the only thing you’re passing down. Ask a staff member to lead an important meeting, even if it’s just while you step out to take a phone call.
Share the projects that people and customers notice. This will show employees that they have a real effect on the business. [Related Article: C'mon Get Happy: Building an Employee-Centric Environment to Boost Morale and Productivity.]
8. Learn flexibility
Life happens. Be flexible with your employees as things come up. Perhaps try a different schedule that allows a parent to drop their kids off at school in the morning. As an added bonus, they’ll be able to avoid rush hour traffic and put in even more work.
Or allow an employee to work from home (WFH) in order to take care of a sick parent if the job allows. If long WFH periods don’t work for your company, experiment with one WFH a week or a couple each month. You might even find that your employees are more productive when working from an environment they choose.
9. Inspire creative thinking
Just because you have been doing a task one way for your entire career does not mean that’s the best way to accomplish it. There are always problems to be solved and better ways to do things, so use the minds around you and encourage your employees to share creative business solutions.
Putting the challenge in the hands of your employees will not only save you some headache, but it’s also likely that you’ll come out with a better end result. They do say that two heads are better than one.
10. Show you appreciate their efforts
Sure, your employees are paid to show up every day, but it’s always helpful to receive some encouragement. Whether it’s a sales call that was handled exceptionally well or a report that was put together flawlessly, let your employees know when they are doing a good job. This will ensure continued high-quality work in the future, and they will feel more job satisfaction.