Workplaces, where employees feel more connected and engaged with their management, have a significantly higher output than those that don’t. These outputs include their productivity in the office, the number of sales they make, and how much profit they bring in. However, the majority of employees today don’t feel like they’re engaged enough at work. So how do you fix that problem? Here are some ways you can easily connect better with your employees.
Make them Feel Like their Voices are being Heard
When your employees feel like their thoughts and opinions are being listened to and taken into consideration, they’re encouraged to work harder to help your company succeed. Getting accounted for these things makes them feel invested in your achievements like they have a real stake in how well your business does. One way to do this is to hold regular performance reviews. Let your employees give you feedback about how they feel things are running in addition to your assessment of their own productivity.
You can also schedule time for your employees to come to you with ideas and speak their minds without fearing that they’re overstepping their bounds. If your company has multiple levels of management, allow them to have this kind of dialogue with upper-level managers in addition to those directly above them. It’s important not to invalidate your employees’ thoughts and feelings, even if they disagree with you about something. When they know you’re taking what they say seriously, they’ll be more likely to do the same for you.
Keep them in the Loop
You should make sure all your employees are aware of what’s going on with your company. Any information about new developments that occur should be disseminated to them in a way that you know they will see. Sending out regularly scheduled mass emails is one way to do this. The professionals behind Workplace Digital Signage also recommend using a central hub where everyone can access new and important information to make things easier and more efficient. These work like an online version of old-school bulletin boards, but are much easier to update and ensure everyone has access to them.
There are other ways to keep your employees informed about your company’s performance as well. You can maintain an internal blog or newsletter with pictures, videos, and infographics to make the understanding of this information easier for your employees. Think about how you would present news to a customer—these same techniques can be used with your employees to get them excited about what’s happening with your business. If your employees feel like they’re out of the loop, they may not have the same drive to support your initiatives as they would if they know about them from the start.
Give them Recognition for their Hard Work
Employees like to know that their hard work is appreciated by the management. Something as simple as a “thank you” can go a long way toward fostering a better relationship with your employees. Use a central hub to share any positive feedback given to you by clients or customers, and post any specific acknowledgments and achievements to make sure everyone is aware when an employee has gone above and beyond. Acknowledging employee efforts in this way will not only make the awardee want to maintain that same level of excellence but also encourage others to work harder in order to match those achievements.
When a team effort results in success, you can repay them for their accomplishments. Offering rewards in the form of a public celebration of their efforts or holding an office-wide party can really foster goodwill and enthusiasm amongst employees. You could even hand out awards such as “Employee of the Month” to give such an employee a tangible accolade that everyone can see. Positive reinforcement often breeds better results, so communicating your approval of their work is a great way to ensure that your employees continue to succeed in the future.
Help them Achieve their Goals
Every employee should have a personal goal that they want to reach. You can help your workers do this by asking them what they hope to achieve while working at your company. Once they have an answer, find ways to aid your employees in accomplishing their goals. If they want to become a team leader or move up the corporate ladder, you can assign them responsibilities to test their ability to handle a leadership position. If their desire is to master a certain skill, you can make sure their work includes plenty of chances to utilize the skill.
The goals employees want to reach can also include things like designing a new product or creating a new service for your company to sell. You can listen to their ideas, and if they have something that could benefit your business, allow them to move ahead with developing them into something tangible. Great ideas can come from anywhere, so it’s important not to ignore a potential goldmine just because it’s coming from someone at a lower level. Remember: your employees’ success is ultimately your success as well.
Foster a Good Workplace Environment
People tend to work better when they feel comfortable in the workplace. Allowing a toxic environment to develop can be detrimental to the effectiveness of your workforce. If there are damaging behaviors being exhibited by certain employees, whether it be within the general population or at a managerial position, you can’t afford to ignore these behaviors. Nip these in the bud before they spread and become too difficult to handle. You should establish and enforce rules within the workplace that will help everyone have a better overall experience.
Fostering a good environment in the workplace also means creating a sense of community amongst your employees. Find ways to keep them engaged with one another, such as regular brainstorming sessions or meetings where they can have open discussions with one another. When employees have a chance to properly communicate, they can resolve conflicts or tackle other interpersonal issues before they start to fester and become toxic.
Earn their Trust
Employees who trust their management are proven to work more efficiently. When you’re open and honest with your workers on a regular basis, they’ll be more willing to simply follow your lead when a situation arises where you don’t have the time or ability to share every detail with them. Earning their trust will allow you to trust them in return. Don’t hold back on being truthful when it comes to their work. If they’re doing well, make sure your employees know you recognize that fact. If they’re struggling with something, tell them so directly, but offer constructive criticism to help them improve instead of simply reprimanding them.
A major part of maintaining trust between you and your employees is transparency. Discuss your business plans and how these plans fit into them, ensuring that each of your employees understands their responsibilities. If your company is performing well, relay that information to your employees. If things aren’t going so well, don’t hide that fact from them as well. Uncertainty can lead to poor engagement, as when people don’t know where they stand, they may not work as hard. As long as you’ve made certain that your employees are invested in your business, they will want to help make the business more successful.
Get to Know them Personally
Getting to know your employees on a personal level can help make them feel more respected as individuals. In turn, they will feel more connected to you and your company, pushing them to improve their work performance. Take a little time out of the day to discuss their lives with them. Ask about how they feel and how they’re handling everything. Tell them something about yourself as well. If you feel comfortable doing so, you can even invite them into your home to get to know them better.
You can also allow your employees to share their hobbies with you and their coworkers. Create a space in a central hub where the employees can post things about what they enjoy doing outside of work. If they’re in a band, you can let them show off their music, or if they enjoy crafting, they can put up pictures of the things they make. When you and your employees can see each other as complete human beings with lives outside of the office, it’s easier to communicate while in the workplace.
Remain Involved in the Day-to-Day Process
Don’t ignore what’s going on within the workplace on a regular basis. Just because those days might not concern you directly doesn’t mean it isn’t having an effect on the company overall. Offer suggestions or advice to employees when they’re working on a project, and listen to their concerns or comments about how things are progressing. While it’s not necessary for you to micromanage everything, staying apprised of the general operations will help your employees have the impression that their managers are aware of what they’re doing.
Scheduling time to go over progress reports can help you keep up with your employees’ activities. You can do these in person or via email, and use them to determine whether everything seems to be on track, or if they’re falling behind. When it looks like certain people are struggling to keep up, discuss this with them and try to determine what the problem might be. If these issues can be addressed, you can offer a constructive way to resolve them. However, if it seems like the employee is simply unable to handle their responsibilities, you’ll know that it’s time to let them go. Just remember to do so without denigrating the employee as a person.
Lead by Example
The best leaders will set a good example for their employees through their own actions. When your employees see you putting in extra effort and treating people well, they will be more likely to do the same. Show them that you’re working just as hard as you expect them to work. People respect those who are willing to do the same things they’re asking others to do. If you need them to stay and work late to finish an important project on a tight deadline, make sure you’re right there with them in the office toiling away with them.
A good leader also takes responsibility for things. Don’t place the burden on others if things go wrong, especially when the issue involves employees directly beneath you. You’re their manager, so the responsibility falls on you to make sure they succeed. If you start casting blame for failure, your workers will likely do the same, and can quickly lead to the creation of a toxic environment that will only harm your company further. Personal accountability is important to keep a workplace running smoothly. When your employees see you hold yourself responsible for your actions, the behavior will encourage them to follow suit.
Don’t Be Afraid of Failure
Failure is a regular part of life. Every time you fail, you’re another step closer to success. Learning how to deal with these missteps as they happen is just part of the process. Make sure your employees understand this circumstance too. If they’re afraid to fail, they’ll be less likely to take chances. You want your employees to push themselves to accomplish more and achieve greater results, so they need to know that they can do this without risking their job security.
In order to parlay failure into something positive, it’s necessary to communicate with your employees why things went wrong and how to fix them. Meet with them to discuss ways to improve whatever problems occurred so they can succeed next time. As long as your employees didn’t fail due to trying to take shortcuts or negligence, you can find a way to take what they learned from their mistakes and apply those lessons going forward.
Connecting with your employees will result in a better workplace and greater effort toward success. Treat them with respect and show them that you value them as both an employee and a person. Maintain open lines of communication between themselves and with management. When you’re involved with their progress and reward their good performance, they will work harder for you. Keep this advice in mind and you’ll be able to connect better with your employees, making your business a great success.