Guest blog by Jason Downes, Managing Director of Powwownow
Keeping a close eye on the wellbeing and personal growth of your staff is just as important as watching the monthly balance sheet, if not more so. A happy workforce is more likely to work harder for you and put themselves out for customers, clients and colleagues – it’s not rocket science.
Analysing the annual Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For confirms that great employers do more than offer a few perks and flexible working – giving power to your people is equally important, it seems. And empowered employees aren’t only happier, hopefully they’re more loyal.
But, cultivating this type of working environment can be tricky. Here are a few tips:
- Define their role
Anyone without a strong idea of what is expected of them is likely to struggle. Give staff clarity on not only their job description, but also on what they need to do go above and beyond the call of duty.
Emphasising your brand strategy and future goals at the same time should leave you with a more inspired team, who are more able to perform as you’d like.
- Smart communication
If team members feel they can only vent their concerns or issues when it comes to their quarterly review, or worse still, in an annual employee survey, then you’re asking for trouble.
By letting your team know they can come to you immediately with constructive feedback about any issues they have faced, problems can be dealt with more efficiently. The best employees will propose a recommended solution too, which should also be encouraged.
- Present a challenge
The best leaders can spot potential within their team, and should always challenge employees to stray from their comfort zones. Some people don’t realise how good they are at certain tasks until somebody tells them, and gently guiding them into new territory can work wonders for their confidence and, in turn, your business.
At the same time, make sure it’s something they want to do. Listening to employees and discussing their personal ambitions is a great way to determine the parameters of what they want to achieve.
- Expand minds
How many times have you been given some great training, only to never need it – until six months later when you’ve forgotten it all?
If you’ve sent your team for training that won’t be immediately needed, try giving them a project to work on that incorporates their latest course learnings and you’ll be left with a team that’s solidified its skills, and won’t be disenfranchised feeling like they wasted their time.
- Leave them to it
Once you’ve put your confidence in someone to complete a new task or project, just leave them to it. Continuously checking on them and their progress, and constantly second guessing their actions will only undo all the good you’ve done in providing the initial opportunity. Instead of feeling empowered they can feel micromanaged, which could mean demotivation and conflict.
If they need to speak to you about a problem they’ve faced, they know where you are.
- Take more risks
It’s no secret that entrepreneurs fail numerous times before hitting the jackpot, and continue to do so throughout their careers – that’s just business. But most people are risk-averse and need some encouragement that it’s okay to fail to succeed.
Try assigning them an internal project with minimal risk attached, and allow them to learn from any setbacks faced throughout. Doing this will hopefully encourage them to take risks, and benefitting you by creating a more forward-thinking and creative approach to the problems and opportunities presented to your company.
Paying attention to growing and developing your employees can really pay-off for the future of your business in the long-run. Empowering your employees, ensuring you have a team full of innovators that can lead where others follow.