9 ways to Bring out the BEST in your employees

Leaders often struggle with maintaining a productive and engaged workforce.  Recent research suggests that employees who are satisfied at work are more productive, engaged and loyal to their companies. So, having engaged and productive employees is extremely important for the success of an organization.

Many successful organizations have figured out how to increase productivity and satisfaction at work. The solution is simple, keep people first. When organizations see employees as a priority and take care of employees, there is an increase in productivity and bottom line results for organizations.

This article discusses tips on how to bring out the best in your employees.

Implement a Performance Management System. Implement a performance management system to set goals and review employees strengths and areas of growth regularly. For many employees and managers, a face-to-face performance review is very stressful.  But if you communicate with employees on a regular basis, there should be no surprises in the review meetings. So, meet with employees quarterly for formal reviews but provide ongoing feedback (positive and corrective) and coaching as they continue to achieve goals and objectives.

Focus on strengths. Identify your strengths and areas of growth first. Don’t be afraid to let employees know your strengths and areas you are continuing to develop. Employees will be able to relate to you and feel more comfortable with you if you are open about your own challenges. Once you identify your strengths, identify your employees strengths.  

For each employee determine, what tasks/projects are employees good at? What seems easy to them? What tasks/projects do they complete quickly? After observing their strengths and getting feedback from other people who work with them, verbalize these strengths to your employees.

 (some examples of strengths are organization, time management, budgeting)

 After you verbalize employees strengths, determine what are their thoughts? Do they agree with you? Have they noticed the strength? Explain to them why you see this characteristic as a strength. Many people are not aware of their strengths so this may come as a surprise.

After you have determined and agreed on team members strengths, talk to them more about their strengths than their areas of growth.

 To activate their strengths, they can:

  1. take classes, review resources or engage in activities that help them improve their strengths
  2. help others on the team who are having challenges with their strengths
  3. use their strengths to help them improve on an area of growth

If you are having trouble identifying strengths, let employees complete the strengths finders assessment that can give you more insights into their strengths.

Create an inclusive culture. First, recognize your own biases, opinions and views that may impact how you may view someone. Identify your healthy and unhealthy beliefs? Does this affect your interactions with your staff? Determine what new beliefs you can create to eliminate your biases.

Then, recognize that all people are different with varying wants, needs and interests. There are ethnic differences, racial, personality, religion, gender, etc. Listen to your employees to determine their preferences. Determine how your team can accommodate these preferences.  

For example, you may be an extrovert, but one of your employees is an introvert and does not like people coming to their office to chat throughout the day; they may prefer to set up times to chat. If you know there are personality differences, ask them their preferences in communicating with you or others on the team. Having this conversation may surprise you!

Create opportunities where employees can share concerns or challenges they have without being judged or ridiculed. Moreover, recognize and respect peoples differences, without judgement. This will enable you to learn something new about others which may help you change your perspective on people, communities and the world!

Listen to employees; Don’t just tell them what to do. Instead of telling and directing employees, create a coaching culture where you listen more and talk less. Telling and directing is needed in emergencies or when you see repeated challenges.  Often, employees know more about your customers than you do. Therefore, if you truly want to succeed, listen to employees concerns, questions and thoughts and mutually create solutions to address them.

Be authentic. People know when you are being fake. Seriously!  Be honest. Employees realize there are things you can’t share, such as other employees’ salaries. 

Employees often discover when things are done sneaky, like talking negatively about an employee when they are not around but are friendly with them during one-on-one interactions.

Use candor and be straightforward in your interactions with employees.

Let employees know you trust them. Employees need to know that you trust them to get to effectively complete their job tasks. It is important that you tell them this directly. When your employees feel trusted they will be more engaged.

Recognize your team. A simple “thank you” can go a long way when it comes to motivating your team to excellence. Research shows that people want to be recognized for their hard work. As a result of recognizing employees for great work, they tend to be more productive and more satisfied. Regular feedback, even when constructive, will also make your staff feel valued and appreciated.

Give employees all the tools and resources needed to be successful. Some tools include training, certification, etc. If there is not a budget, use activities such as job rotation, action learning and targeted mentoring to help employees gain skills and knowledge needed to be effective in their role.

Make work/life balance a priority. There are many factors outside of work that can cause employees to be less productive. Recognize that employees have other obligations outside of work such as being active in their family members lives. Another example is the time it takes to get to work. Traffic can be a concern for many as it may take them hours to get to work and back home every day. This can be a distraction.

Determine challenges that employees are having outside of work and address them. Find ways to be flexible that will enable employees to be productive and maintain a work/life balance.

Overall, when you make employees success your number 1 job responsibility, everyone wins! Remember that employees are the face of an organization and their satisfaction does matter. To learn more about developing employees, check out activateyourbest.com to help leaders develop people and meet organizational goals.

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