How to create an environment where employees thrive
I’ve suffered from restless feet for as long as I can remember. Always having it in the back of my mind ‘what’s next?’. Many of us experience this when it comes to the current dating scene, travel and even our careers. Perhaps many of your employees feel this way as well. There are days when their work feels purposeful, but others when they question what they are actually working towards. And then they open up LinkedIn for a quick scroll, only to be notified that there are hundreds of job postings related to their skills. Encouraging employee commitment can be tough.
So what’s the value in staying put?
For employees, among other reasons, there is future job security. A survey reported that despite people in their 30s being in highest demand, a 55-year-old with steady employment history is easier for recruiters to place in a new job than a 30-year-old job hopper. They believed one of the biggest obstacle for an unemployed candidate of landing a new job is having a history of leaving a company before they have been there for a year.
For employers, keeping good employees is certainly much more cost effective. The typical hiring time to fill a role is a lengthy 10 to 12 weeks. Not only is it a time consuming task, but there is also the cost of loss productivity, heavier workload on other employees and extra effort required from management during a period of transition.
So here are some tips for encouraging employee commitment and ensuring they are working productively:
A good leader listens.
Gary Vaynerchuk advises that “to motivate (employees), you’ve got to get to a place of understanding that they don’t work for you. You work for them. It’s about understanding what every single person in your company wants, and doing your best to deliver.”
This may be a little backwards to how we usually think of the employer and employee relationship. The point is to listen to your employees and make sure they feel heard. Take the time to understand what motivates them individually. People have many different reasons why they show up to work every day and either do a great job or a lacklustre one. A strong leader understands that people are taking a risk in following them, so they honour that relationship.
Be a teacher.
Encourage your staff to ‘always be a student’ by enabling an environment of learning. Most of us that get restless feet do so because we need to feel that we are continually growing, learning and expanding. Adopting the mentality of ‘always being a student’ has helped to remind me that there is always more to be learned. And having bosses or colleagues that are open to teaching others, provides the opportunity for people to reach out.
Try having both management and employees give regular presentations to the team on new topics of interests or on challenges they’ve had to overcome in their careers.
Communication, communication, communication.
Effective communication in the workplace is an integral element of a business’ success. Not only does it increases employee engagement and the overall effectiveness of a team, but it also enhances relationships. Communication ensures that team members understand what they are working towards and why. It allows everyone to reconnect over the projects at hand and move forward with clarity. Positive communication is a huge part of employee commitment.
Some avenues for consistent communication are through efficient weekly meetings, regularly asking colleagues for feedback and keeping workflows transparent on project management tools like Trello.
Reward healthy behaviour.
Encouraging your employees to make healthy choices is one way to show them that you care about their wellbeing. In order to increase engagement in health programs, offering incentives and rewards can motivate participants and provide purpose behind behaviour change. A little friendly competition between employees and teams helps as well!
Try providing a service like HOLISTAL to your employees. It helps to motivate healthy eating by educating your employees to make healthier food and lifestyle choices. It includes tons of recipes for inspiration and rewards to motivate them to put it into action. This is definitely a great way to improve employee commitment!
In a survey of 2,600 full-time US workers, 72% rated ‘unlimited paid time off’ as the most valuable workplace perk. What does this look like? Giving employees permission to take the odd day off to deal with life situations or even just to take a break, without the feeling that they will be wasting their paid annual leave days. In order to make this useful, it needs to be adopted by the whole corporation with managers leading by example to prioritize their well-being as well.
Meditation is known to improve focus by teaching one how to stay present in the moment. Not only is it a very useful stress management technique, but it also helps us gain clarity in our thoughts and work on being present. This is a great technique for those who are constantly thinking about what’s ahead as it can help us learn how to stay present and find value in where were currently at. Consider offering meditation workshops or providing subscriptions to meditation apps such as Headspace, Calm and 10% Happier.
1. Teamwork must become part of your workplace culture
For co-workers to successfully collaborate, the leadership within the firm must work to make collaboration one of the key values of the enterprise. Employees must see that the leadership within the firm works together as a team to accomplish goals. Also, the company’s leadership must award teams publicly when they are successful at working together to achieve their objectives.
To truly improve collaboration, leaders must provide an environment where employees are not afraid to share their ideas. Leaders must create a culture where the exchange of ideas is encouraged and rewarded. Teamwork and collaboration must be a central theme of the mission statement to improve collaboration.
2. Provide teams with the resources they need to work together
To make improvements with communication, the organization must provide the necessary resources to the teams. This includes comfortable work spaces where the teams can work together. If the teams are spread out amongst different locations, then the organization must provide the resources that allow the teams to work together remotely such as video conferencing.
Finally, the organization should be providing an online collaboration portal for its employees, to use for communication. There are many online tools, such as Slack, that allow employees to communicate easily across different departments. Having the tools to communicate across departments easily is an essential instrument needed to improve collaboration.
3. Train employees and encourage ongoing learning
Working as a collaborative team member is not a skill that everyone is born with; however, it is a skill that can be learned, which is why it is imperative the organization spend the money investing in the employee’s teamwork skills. There are fantastic team building courses out there for your employees to attend. Also, there are specific skills employees need to learn to be effective collaborators.
One of these skills is the ability to communicate with co-workers effectively. There are practical workshops employees can take to learn how to better communicate through public speaking. Learning public speaking skills will increase their confidence and ability to articulate points, as well as bring them closer together if the course is completed as a group.
4. Encourage people to socialize outside of work
When employees are in the office, they are focused on the tasks at hand, which means there is little time for co-workers to bond on a personal level. It is vital to team collaboration for people to get to know each other outside the office. The event does not have to be a significant expense; it could be going to the movies, having a casual lunch or going for a drink after work. Participating in a social event will help break down barriers in the office and will help improve collaboration, as co-workers will have built trust and feel more comfortable collaborating together.
5. Clarifying roles and setting expectations
Organizations will find when all employees are on the same page, working collaboratively will quickly become a seamless and natural process. Making sure each employee understands, not only his or her role, but the roles of the people around them will help everyone understand the big picture and how they fit into the larger puzzle.
It is also imperative that the leadership set clear expectations for the teams so that as employees work together, everyone is clear on which goal or objective needs to be reached.
6. Review individual’s talents
An organization must look at every single employee’s skills and place them in a setting where they can add the most value. When forming teams, for them to effectively collaborate, one must identify each individual’s strengths and place them with co-workers who will complement those strengths. When each team member is the best at what their role is within the team, you will see them producing results above your expectations.
7. Resolve team conflict quickly
No team will ever be perfect, and it is crucial for organizations to recognize this and have a system in place to handle any conflicts that arise. The system should allow any employee to share their concerns without repercussions. Also, employees should be allowed to have input on any solution to the conflict made by the organization.
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