Wednesday, January 18, 2017

5 Smart Ways To Get The Most From Your Employees

Ensuring you have the best and most efficient workforce can be a real challenge, especially during winter when everyone would probably prefer to be hibernating. Trying to keep people motivated, engaged, and excited to work can take all your power as a manager. But while you can’t change them as people, you can encourage them to work in the ways which you would prefer. 

It’s all about moulding your workforce in your image, setting a great example, but also being approachable. Enabling your staff to feel like an intrinsic link in the system allows them to feel pride. These feelings of positivity only serve to boost productivity and efficiency. Companies of any size need to put time and resources into creating a working space and environment that allows everyone to reach their full potential, ultimately creating a cost-effective workforce to be proud of. 

1. Allow individuality to shine 

When utilised effectively, the best asset of a company is the diversity in its workforce. Staff aren’t potential automatons that just need the training to carry out their work absent-mindedly. Employees are flesh and blood, with their own worries, desires, and goals. They each have different personality nuances and moods. Failure to acknowledge this is a failure to harness the power of a diverse employee base. 

Everyone wants something a little bit different from their offices - some want to be able to chat and collaborate and others prefer silence. Some want bright, open spaces, and others will feel more productive in a cubicle free from distractions. Offer different working environments for people to use with flexibility. This enables them to move freely depending on the nature of their project that day, or even their mood. 

Encourage them to feel empowered to make that decision themselves. When they know you’re looking out for them, their quality of work will reflect that. 

Encourage staff to pursue interests within the field of their work. People will prefer different aspects of their job, and while it’s not always possible to only take part in the bits they enjoy, members of staff become stronger pillars of the team when they’re allowed to specialise. As an employer, it means your employees are able to push themselves to reach their potential with little input from you, but it also strengthens the teams and can bring great new ideas to the table.

2. Don’t show favouritism 

As a result of individuality in the workplace, it becomes usual for managers to have a “teacher’s pet”. Maybe it’s someone who works harder, pushes the teams further, or just someone you get on with the most, but all it succeeds in doing it breeding resentment among the other members of staff. 

Inequality in the workplace is something that, in the not too distant past, was all too common. With the progression of society and the introduction of various employment equality requirements, such as gender pay reporting for large companies, businesses are expected to be more reflective and aware of potential inequalities. This could be unequal treatment of staff based on their gender, sexuality, or even just the number of hours they work. But people who feel as though they’re being treated differently are far less likely to be invested in the success of the company, so their work suffers as a result. It’s always worth being mindful of equality, not just in your hiring, but also in the day to day running of the business.

3. Encourage staff to give feedback

Presumably, you want your staff to feel like a part of the company, so why not allow them to get involved in the business? Due to their positions, they will be able to see the trade from a different perspective than you, and so bring insight to the table that you may not have thought of. Encourage them to do this with transparency, envelop them in the business, and give them a sense of importance in the company. You never know, they might have some great ideas, you just have to encourage them out. 

4. And return the favour 

Feedback is a two-way street. Of course, they should tell you what their visions are for the future of the company, and what could be done differently from their perspective, but it’s important that you’re able to give them constructive feedback regularly too. Employees want to be the best they can be, either for a sense of pride or the potential for promotion. Regular feedback gives them the ability to be reflective, and see areas in which they could improve - after all, they can’t improve if they aren’t aware of any wrongdoing.

It should also be central to your business ethos that you reward staff for a job well done, both as individuals and as a team. Staff parties, trips, and award ceremonies are great ways to encourage staff to engage with their work, but also to thank them. And you should thank them - they’re the most important asset of your company, without whom you’d be doing the whole thing on your own!

5. Make your office operations clear 

Lastly, for encouraging efficiency and comfort in the workplace, ensure all operations are streamlined and clear. Keep an up to date employee handbook laying out all processes than a worker might have to go through. This makes people far more likely to follow processes, including grievances, keeping staff retention higher. 

It’s also important to keep office systems logical - an office with a complicated chain of command allows too many people to pass off responsibility, and all the bureaucracy takes valuable time to plough through. Ensure everyone knows who their answerable to, and keep it simple. It also means that the company’s expectations for each employee are made far clearer, so it’s more difficult for people to slip through the net, and everyone is expected to pull their weight. Getting the most out of employees is all about treating them as individuals, and keeping them close. Even in larger companies, regular appraisals, nights out, and two-way feedback sessions are great for keeping everyone involved, instilling a sense of pride, and keeping productivity through the roof.

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