One of the most important tasks you, as a business owner, will undertake is getting employees to buy into your vision for the company and take ownership over their roles. An uninspired workforce can tank a company's productivity and financial growth faster than almost anything else.
The people you hire to be the hands and faces of your company are out there every day representing you - they are either happily showcasing all the wonderful things about your company, or they are bringing it down with poor attitudes or a lack of enthusiasm.
So, how do you inspire greatness in those that work for you? How do you promote a company vibe of inclusion, ownership and high morale?
Give Them Unhindered Opportunities to Do Things Their Way
No two people are alike. We all approach problem solving and communication with a unique perspective and set of skills. When you require employees to only do things your way, you run the risk of potentially hindering them from doing their best work. You also keep them from bringing to the proverbial table all the unique skills and abilities that they have hiding inside.
Micromanaging employees is a fast track to workplace dissatisfaction. It not only heaps more onto your already-full plate, but it also subtly sends the message to the people you have hired that you do not trust them to figure out how to do an exceptional job on their own. However, if you did a thorough job vetting candidates when you first hired your employees, you should be able to trust them to do the job you hired them for. Not only that, you should be able to freely give them room to grow in that role and to approach their work in the way that best fits their personality and perspective.
If you hired a bubbly and vivacious client manager that loves small talk, don't require him or her to tone it down when speaking to clients. Perhaps you would not spend five minutes chatting up a client before digging into the details of an overdue invoice or scheduling their next appointment, but that does not mean it is wrong for your employee to work that way.
By allowing them to bring their unique voice and outlook to their tasks, you empower them to take ownership over that role. Not only that, but the chances of them staying with your company long-term increase dramatically, because they will feel appreciated, needed, and invested.
Help them Learn and Include Them in Company Growth Conversations
One of the fastest ways to alienate employees and push them to become disillusioned with your company is to leave them out of conversations, procedure adjustments, and policy changes that directly affect the jobs they were hired to complete. According to Forbes,
"Employees want to create impact. Allow them to be part of the innovation-based projects in your company by letting them get their hands dirty. Ideation is important, but being part of implementing the ideas that come to life can be a more exciting and meaningful growth opportunity for your employees that will inspire them to perform... When given the right tools and resources, the best employees will instinctively challenge themselves to be more innovative in their work - and will perform better. Focus on giving your employees the opportunities to elevate their individual value while serving the needs of the company."
When given room to grow and to develop an ownership perspective in your company, chances are good that you will eliminate the "I am just punching a timecard and then leaving" mentality that plagues so many workplaces.
Show Your Appreciation
If you want to encourage your employees and make them feel seen, respected, and valued, take time to recognize their efforts and reward a job well done. This could take the form of performance incentives, employee-of-the-month honors, quarterly staff appreciation meals - the options are truly endless. Consider your unique pool of employees and set up something that will meet them where they will appreciate it the most. Remember - while private, individual feedback and praise are important, it is equally important and perhaps even more meaningful to recognize and applaud employees in front of their peers.
"Recognition creates an emotional connection between employer and employee - a critical piece of employee engagement - and fulfills employees' basic needs of esteem and belonging within a group. The best part is, recognition is essentially free! It can be as simple as sending a thoughtful email (or better yet, a handwritten note) to your team members calling out their amazing work. So, the question shouldn't be "why should I recognize my people?" but "why wouldn't I recognize my people?"
Inspiring greatness in your employees is simple; you can start today by taking the time to call out a few of your team members and speak words of encouragement and life over them and the work they are doing for your company. You can go a step further and put something larger on the company calendar - this could be a team lunch or even a morning meeting where you provide treats and go around the room recognizing everyone's recent accomplishments.
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