The key to a great company are the people who work for it. If your employees aren’t motivated to do well, then your company won’t do well. While many entrepreneurs make the mistake of thinking their problems stem from their employees, they don’t realize that many of their problems stem from their own actions.
The question is, how can you get the most of your employees. It’s never easy to get a group of people (whether it’s 2 or 102) to get behind the same cause and strive for a company’s success. However, there are a few things you can do to encourage them to do their best and get everyone working together. The keys are pride and happiness and you have control over those. Learn more about what you can do to encourage and empower your employees.
It’s All About Creating a Culture
When you’re hiring a new employee, you’ve probably heard this question asked: “How would you describe the culture of your company?” Many people might roll their eyes and think nothing of it, but it’s incredibly important. Many potential employees when sacrise money to work in a comfortable environment with a progressive culture.
Let’s face it, the new generation doesn’t want to work for an old school company. They want a company that’s privy to current technology. They’re looking for a fast-paced, entrepreneurial environment. Sitting around and waiting for work bores most people. There also needs to be somewhere for people to grow. Creating their own career path could be a make-or-break feature that could draw someone to working for your company.
However, it’s not all about work. There’s more to your company’s culture than just numbers, charts and data. There needs to be ways for people to unwind. Having game consoles, pool tables or social areas give people a place to go to recharge their mind. It needs to be made clear that people aren’t here to play games all day, but taking 10 minutes to get away from their computer can go a long way.
Many employees also love the idea of company outings after hours. Whether it’s holiday parties, team-bonding events or just Friday happy-hour trips to the bar, your employees will love the opportunity to make friends with their co-workers. The better your team gets along, the better they’re work together.
The most important part of the culture of any company is how people are treated. Are they treated like valued individuals who are respected or are they just another warm body that can be replaced. No one is going to want to work for anyone who doesn’t respect them. You want an open, family-like culture where everyone is treated fairly and equally. If you don’t create this culture, your company won’t last long.
Make Each Employee Feel Valued
You’ll also realize from interviews that many people are leaving their current company because they don’t feel valued. No one wants to be another cog in the system. They want to be part of making large decisions that can actually impact the company – they want to make a difference. These are the types of employees you want working for you because they’re willing to do what it takes for success. Make sure you value them properly so they stay.
What do we mean when we say value. First, make sure everyone has a way to make suggestions about how the company is being run. No one should feel uncomfortable speaking with you as the owner. When they bring suggestions and ideas to you, listen to them and discuss it. Even if it isn’t something that’s right for you, explain to them why it’s a strong idea but isn’t something that’s right for your company. That want to know that you’re listening to them. When you are presented with a strong idea, make sure everyone knows it was their idea and you’re grateful for the suggestion.
All Rules Must be Understood
No one likes to talk about the rules – they could prevent employees from doing what they want. However, it needs to be clear that employees know your expectations, they’re made crystal clear and they’re followed no matter what. They must understand the consequences for breaking these rules as well.
Why is this so important? First of all, if you are having a fun, inviting culture, you want to make sure they’re still working hard on their job. As we mentioned above, having games and pool tables in the office doesn’t mean you can play all day. It’s nothing but a short break to recharge or for when you’re taking your lunch.
You also want to make sure that everyone is on the same page and treated equally. Making the rules known from the get go ensures all employees are being treated equally. If someone is being treated unfairly (whether it’s positive reinforcement or negative), the rules can be referenced. There should be no favorites or scapegoats in a company.
There Must Always be Ongoing Training
As we mentioned previously, everyone loves the idea of growth. No one wants a stagnant career that doesn’t change – they’ll be burnt out in a couple years. Giving people a way to grow or even lateral moves to a different department, is very important.
The best way to do that is to offer this is by providing ongoing training. There are several ways to do this. You can offer seminars, guest appearance and online training whenever something new is introduced. If someone comes to you and asks for more information on a certain topic, you provide them with the proper training.
If you’re a much larger company, you can even offer to pay for continued education. Many people look for something simple like certification classes. These tend to be several hundred dollars up to a couple thousand. While that sounds costly, you’ll benefit from the great knowledge and new ideas that come from the classes.
Another option is paying for grad school. This is a much pricier option. However, you get more benefits from it. You’re investing in your employee’s continued learning and strong understanding of the specialization. You can also have them sign an agreement that if you pay for their grad school, they agree to stay with the company for an extended period of time (typically it’s around 2-3 years after they graduate).
Provide Feedback – Both Positive and Negative
Most employees thrive on giving feedback. If an employee doesn’t know whether what they’re doing is working or not, then how can you expect them to be invested in their job. They need to hear from you and understand if their work is benefiting the company and how they can improve.
There are a few ways to do this. The most obvious is having weekly, monthly and quarterly feedback. This gives you a great understanding of what they’re working on and how they’re approaching it. You should also give your feedback and explain what’s working and isn’t working. This is a great opportunity to give them a review of some sort.
If you don’t have any meetings set up and you notice and employee is going above and beyond or doing something to the detriment of the company, you need to find time to sit down with that employee immediately and speak with them. Sometimes, feedback can’t wait and you need to take the time to work with them immediately. They’ll be thankful that you’re keeping an eye on them and the company. They want you to care as much as they do.
Trust Your Employees to Do Their Job
While an employee does like to know that you’re watching and caring about their work, they don’t want you micromanaging. You hired this person to do a specific job and you should trust them to do so. If you don’t give an employee the space they deserve, they won’t last long in your company – they’ll be looking for a new job in 6 months.
Once you micromanage one employee, it lowers the moral of the rest of the company. Even if someone isn’t affected directly, if they witness these actions, they may also start looking for a new job. This could cause a high turnover rate which never looks good for a company.
Set Clear and Attainable Goals
What is a company? Essentially, it’s a group of people striving for the same thing – if the company succeeds, the employees succeed. It sounds simple but it’s a large problem for many companies. So, what can you do to improve this situation.
You want to make sure your company’s goals are known by everyone. Have quarterly meetings with the entire team to explain the direction of the company is crucial. If there are any big changes that affect the company, your employees need to be aware of them immediately. This includes anything financially, personal or equipment.
Get to Know Your Employees (And Allow Them to Know You)
It goes without saying that everyone works better with someone they like. The idea of a company makes that difficult sometimes – it’s a bunch of different people with unique backstories and morals. Even their ages could be drastically different. How do you get this group of such different people to work together.
You and your employees need to take the time to get to know each other. Speak with them and learn more about them. Understand their hopes and dreams (both within the company and outside of work). Also, learn about their family and their hobbies. Personally learning about them is extremely beneficial.
This isn’t a one way street either. Your employees might not open up with you if you don’t open up with them. You should be ready to talk about your family, your hobbies, what you enjoy and various information about yourself. It doesn’t need to be too personal (don’t start talking about politics or religion), but opening up makes you vulnerable and helps employees feel comfortable.
While this helps employees work with you, it doesn’t do much for working together. You can improve employee interactions by helping them get to know each other. You can do this with company wide events. Holiday parties and after work outings allows people to unwind together and talk about something other than work. This helps people find common ground with their employees and become friends. While being friends isn’t crucial (let’s face it, not everyone is going to be friends), it helps people work together.
While it should be rare, employee problems will come up and the key is to solve them immediately. If someone comes up to you about a problem between two or more employees, you need to sit everyone down and work through it. Problems need to be solved before it’s escalated to a point where it becomes toxic.
Set Your Employees Up to Succeed
The last thing anyone wants to do is fail. However, if you don’t set up your employees to succeed, they will. That failing is just as much, if not more, on you than your employees if you didn’t give them the tools and information they need to do their job.
You need to speak with you employees individually and tell them what you expect from them. Then, find out from them what it would take to succeed and get them what they need to achieve the goal (within reason obviously). This could be a conversation that helps them and you get on the same page. You might find out that what you’re asking is too much or too little.
Continue to Hire The Best Employees
Who you hire says a lot about your company – especially to your current employees. You want to hire people who fit in with the culture of your company and can do their job properly. If you hire someone that isn’t the right fit, it could be a detriment to the people you already have working for you.
When someone comes in and is alright giving minimal effort or doesn’t try to improve their work, it devalues the hard work everyone else put. It creates a toxic culture that treats mediocrity as acceptable. That’s a very dangerous road to go down and could potentially cause a high turnover rate. Hiring should be taken very seriously to ensure the right employee is chosen.
You’re the Key to Get the Most From Your Employees
When it comes down to it, you’re the key to getting the most out of your employees. They need to feel empowered, trusted, valued and they need to love what they do. Believe it or not, that all starts with you. The suggestions from above shouldn’t be larger changes but you’ll see the benefits of them pretty quickly. Everything is all about attitude.