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Your company is just as good as your employees are. If the people who work for you lack motivation and engagement, they will underperform in any task, and their productivity will drop significantly. If they’re happy and motivated, instead, they will go above and beyond in embodying the mission of your organization. A company that understands how to engage its employees is a company that helps people work in a more pleasant environment, achieve all its goals, and get better profits in return.
Here are a few hints to improve your employees’ performance and drive them to better results.
Provide your employees with feedback
When we do something, we all need to know whether our results were good or not. According to recent surveys, about 60% of workers report that they would like to receive feedback at least once per week. Everybody wants feedback, especially if it is good. However, even negative feedback is extremely important. If your employees do not know what they did wrong, they will keep repeating their errors over and over.
Praising them when they did something good, on the other hand, can go a long way to increase motivation and commitment. Bottom line, plan regular one-on-one meetings to provide feedback to your employees instead of doing it only during quarterly (or yearly) meetings.
Offer advice, not solutions
You should always coach your employees to teach them how to be better workers. Whenever they have an issue, do not fix it by providing them with your solution. If you do so, they will always depend on you. Coach them through difficulties, be a mentor and a teacher, and try to lead them by example. You should help them figure out their own strategies to address the issue now and in the future. Ask them open questions that increase their engagement and stimulate their thinking processes.
Your goal is to create a positive environment where everybody can thrive. You want active people around you who know how to react to any unexpected event, not passive robots who just blindly obey your commands.
Do not push your employees too hard…
Maybe you are a workaholic who never sleeps. Maybe your standards of excellence are so high that you keep demanding more of yourself every day. Although these are great qualities, not all your employees may put work before their private lives. That doesn’t mean that those who don’t are either lazy or unproductive. Putting too much stress on your employees can lead them to become overworked until they reach burnout. Don’t push them too hard – they’re just going to make even more mistakes.
Let them set up a small space for themselves. Give them enough time to enjoy a vacation or stay with their family once in a while. Working side by side with stressed and unhappy people is not going to help you meet your goals. It’s only the perfect recipe for disaster.
…but don’t be a pushover either
Some people just take advantage of leaders who try to be likable persons. You should learn how to deal with this kind of employees as well. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re bad or lazy people and that you should fire them. Maybe they just need to be pushed a little bit to prevent them from relaxing too much.
Listen to your people and give them your time, but don’t let them pin their work on you. If they have a need or they’re asking your help with something, be sure to give them all your attention. If they tell you they need some tool to improve their productivity, don’t be stingy and help them to it. In any case, your goal is to provide them with the means to address their own issues by themselves, not giving them a chance to escape their own responsibilities.
Be clear on the follow-up
If you scold an inefficient employee but fail to follow-up on him, he will eventually revert to his negative behaviors in due time. If you praised another employee for his good results just once, he will simply sit down on his success and eventually forget what made you happy in the first place.
A consistent follow-up is required to reinforce the initial message, whether it was a positive or a negative one. It will keep them involved by conveying a message of seriousness and importance on anything you talked about during the first meeting.
Don’t be cheap when investing in new technologies
Better technologies can significantly improve your employees’ performance and efficiency, and can literally revolutionize your business. Although a technology shift may require some time to adapt, most of the time, you will reap the benefits several times over. Just to make an example, using instant messaging as a business solution is a terrific and cost-effective way to improve and unify your team communication.
Forcing your workers to be stuck with older technologies can also make them unhappy, especially when they know that a simple app can reduce the time required to perform a task from hours to just a few minutes. The right solution can provide the so-much needed answer to many challenges, such as coordinating remote workers or providing real-time customer assistance. Once again, don’t be stingy – money invested in technology is always well spent. Don’t forget that sometimes you need to spend money to earn more money.
If you help your people work in a better environment, you’re ultimately doing yourself a favor. To achieve success, you must make them feel more engaged, and to do so, you should learn to be less of a boss and more of a leader.
You should lead them with passion and dedication, and, in turn, learn from them what they really need to be happier about the work they do. Teamwork, after all, means working in a team and for the team. No single individual can ever perform better than a whole team.