Valentine’s Day is a time to show our nearest and dearest that we care, but if you are a business owner, don't forget to show give your employees a little love too. It can go a long way...
Employees who feel valued and appreciated are prone to go above and beyond for their company. Even more importantly, they are happier. But not all businesses are fostering an environment of love. The results from the American Psychological Association’s 2014 Work and Well-Being survey show nearly a quarter of employees don’t trust their employers.
If your employees aren’t feeling sentimental about their work, here are 10 ways to show you value them:
1. Practice two-way communication
Business owners need to clearly communicate the company’s mission and goals, but also be open to hearing feedback and ideas from employees. If employees feel they don’t have a say in the company, they will become disengaged.
2. Get to know your employees
Take time to stop and have a conversation with your employees. By understanding their life outside of work, you’ll gain a better appreciation for their motivation and challenges. You’ll also be able to pinpoint their interests and seek information about their talents. Your graphic designer could also have a knack for writing, so perhaps you can find a way to utilize her skills outside of her current job scope.
3. Engage and involve
Give your employees an opportunity to take ownership with projects. Staff members will be more engaged and committed to proving results if they were part of the process from the very beginning.
4. Train, train and train again
Organizations must stay on top of the ever-changing work environment and train their employees accordingly. Consider how much we depend on technology. What we used to run our businesses just ten to 15 years ago (dial-up internet, paid email accounts, long distance calls, etc.) would be considered obsolete today. Develop a clear roadmap for training and always work to enhance your employees. In return, you’ll see improved productivity of the organization as a whole.
5. Recognize a job well done
Take the time to give accolades to your staff when deserved. While a bonus would most certainly be appreciated by anyone, an incentive doesn’t always have to be monetary. Creative staff outings, recognition in a company newsletter or simply a word of praise can promote allegiance and unity. People who are recognized for a job well done will want to continue to work hard in order to continue to receive recognition. It’s called positive reinforcement.
6. Create a positive environment
Employees will feel good about coming to work if enter into a positive environment. Communication is key, so let your employees know that you have an open door policy (whether figuratively or literally) and are always willing to hear them out. Check in with them regularly. Bosses who don’t, end up becoming remote, disciplinary figures whom no one wants to work for.
7. Encourage potential
Employees need room to grow in the workplace. If someone has no opportunity to further develop their skills, they may feel trapped in a dead-end job. Encourage continuing education or give employees the opportunity to step outside their usual responsibilities to grow.
8. Be a cheerleader for your team
Promote team building activities that let each member shine as they work together as a group to achieve a goal outside of the office. But forget trust falls! Volunteering at a local animal shelter, taking a cooking class or even participating in a good old fashioned scavenger hunt will help your team better deal with issues together. And when team spirit is strong, members are more inclined to support decisions made as a whole.
9. Go above and beyond to help your employees
Keep your eyes open. If an employee is dealing with a personal issue, find ways to offer support. A little bit of kindness could go a long way, and your employees will know you value you them as people, not just worker bees.
10. Be transparent
The APA survey showed 52% of respondents believe their employer is open and upfront with them, and a third think their employer is not always honest. Being transparent in business is a must these days. Employees who feel they are being lied to or misled will go in search of opportunities elsewhere. Providing truthful and transparent feedback will earn you respect with your workers.
Some leaders find it hard to balance maintaining authority and connecting with employees on a personal level. But if you simply show them you care, you will gain trust, respect, and even admiration.
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