How To Get The Most Out Of Your Employees

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article |Get the most out of your employees|How To Get The Most Out Of Your EmployeesThe whole purpose of employing personnel is to lower your personal burden and guarantee that jobs are done by those who have the necessary expertise and experience. Nobody can be brilliant at everything, and recognizing this and then recruiting individuals who are strong at certain aspects of your organization is critical if you want to drive things forward and be as successful as possible. So, after you’ve made your choice and hired someone (or many people), how do you know you’re getting the most out of them? Here are some suggestions.

Proper Scheduling

Scheduling your staff in the right way is one of the most useful methods to ensure you are getting the most out of them and operating the company as efficiently as possible. By utilizing scheduling software, you can keep track of who has to work when and who needs time off, ensuring that there are no misunderstandings and that someone is always booked for every day or shift. In this way, every job will be done, and you’ll have overall control of the entire business.

For this to operate well, you will need to know what hours your team can work and who is best positioned in which area, therefore you will need to have a solid policy of asking your staff what they need and working with them as best you can. Once you have this information, you can make a plan that the scheduling software will make it easy to stick to, ensuring everyone is doing what they do best.

Give Rewards

People from all walks of life, ages, and occupations will react positively to incentives and rewards at work. If they are rewarded with something, they will be aware that they have been seen to be doing a good job, and if that work is rewarded, they will be more inclined to continue working hard; they won’t want to disappoint after their efforts have been recognized. Rewarding employees has an additional benefit: others around them who see that hard effort is rewarded will begin to work harder as well, and the whole workforce will be more productive, efficient, and loyal in the end.

Rewards don’t have to be fancy or expensive (unless you want them to be); symbolism is frequently more important than anything else. Possible incentives include:

  • An additional vacation day
  • Gift certificates for a meal or a store they like
  • A position as ’employee of the month’ or a mention in the business newsletter.

The goal is to guarantee that outstanding work is recognized, and the ‘prize,’ although significant, is a secondary issue, so don’t be concerned if your company can’t afford to go all out; it doesn’t have to.

Make The Rules Clear

In this world, there are two categories of people: leaders and followers. Leaders create the rules, and followers, as the term implies, obey them. Because you will have more followers than leaders working for you, and you are the leader yourself, you will be responsible for establishing and enforcing workplace standards.

Rules can be difficult to obey, particularly if they don’t make sense and people resent having to observe them. To get the best out of your staff, any regulations you implement must be totally explicit so that there are no ambiguities, and they must make sense (or you need to explain why they are in place so people are happier to follow them).

Creating More Fun Working Conditions

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article |Fun Working Conditions|Creating More Fun Working ConditionsAny company can make the working conditions at their company an asset for their employees. A report by CMI Workplace found that if workers feel happy in their office surroundings they are less likely to be stressed at work. This is especially relevant given more than half of Americans report exposure to unpleasant and potentially hazardous working conditions and nearly one in five American workers are exposed to a hostile or threatening social environment at work, as reported by the American Working Conditions Survey. Here’s some examples of how companies are making working conditions at their companies more fun today.

  • Relationship-driven leadership consulting firm SkyeTeam, based in Broomfield, Colorado doesn’t just tell its staff that working with the firm will be fun. They mean it. To help its stakeholders to remember, expect, and demonstrate fun, four of their eight core values are “Have Fun.” Founder and CEO Morag Barrett says, “Having fun is infectious. It immediately breaks down barriers and connects people—clients and associates. When we share experiences and enjoy each other, it’s easier to figure out the real problems and the best solutions.” CSO Ruby Vesely, who has been known to dress up in a KISS rock band costume, considers the whole team as personal friends. “I don’t get up in the morning to work for myself, I work for us, our families, each other.” COO Eric Spencer agrees. Spencer recently designed and delivered a safety program for the oil and gas industry. He feels his genuine, and friendly banter before and during sessions helped to build trust with his groups. The result: the client experienced a 17 percent drop in safety problems. “We show up as ourselves. We’re authentic, prepared, we listen, and have fun. And get great results,” says Spencer.
  • When noted author and celebrated raconteur Peter Jensen was editing articles for Sunset magazine, the Building Editor brought eight hats to work one day. Why? “We used to have some fairly deadly department meetings until the editor had us each put one on and conduct ourselves with a little more levity than usual,” says Jensen. “We had a good laugh and got a lot done.”
  • “Tax season is a time of stress, long days, and longer weeks. In fact, we work pretty much every Saturday from January through April 15th,” said an associate with Horovitz, Rudoy & Rogan, a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania CPA firm. To lighten things up, they observe Saturday Fun Days with themes like Alternate Profession Day, College Day, Pajama Day, and Cartoon Day. People dress in clothing and decorate their offices to match the day’s theme. “At noon we vote on the best outfit and office. We keep a leaderboard in the lunchroom and at the end of the season, the top three scores win gift cards,” the associate added. “Even our customers get involved; calling to see what Saturday’s theme is going to be so they can come dressed to ‘fit in’.”
  • At the Denver, Colorado and San Francisco, California offices of Gusto’s, a payroll software business, workers enjoy a “no shoes” policy. Cofounders Josh Reeves, Edward Kim, and Tomer London were all raised in “no shoes” households, so when they started working together out of a house, there was never a shoe in sight. When the company moved to its first conventional office, the no-shoes tradition came too. “Companies can be sterile and cold,” Josh told The New York Times. “We want our workplace to be really comfortable. In some ways, people feel more like themselves when their shoes are off.” Visitors to the company can see over 600 pairs of shoes stored in slots at the entrance, and they are asked to remove their own shoes. Then they’re given a choice of wearing slippers, spa sandals, or company-branded socks. Gusto’s mission is to help people find a community at work and let work empower them to lead better lives, and the “no shoes” tradition ties into it. Traditional work footwear is also not a requirement at Houzz, an interior design application firm located in Palo Alto, California. On their first day of work, workers receive complimentary slippers to wear around the office.
  • Online retailer Zappos, headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, has a huge reputation as a fun place to work. The dress code is extremely casual, and anyone entering the building wearing a tie has it cut in half and pinned to the wall in the lobby. Desks have stuffed animals, and Blue Man Group-designed sculptures line the walls and emit sounds. “Create fun and a little weirdness” is written in the Zappos corporate charter.
  • The president of Belmont University in Nashville, TN took a sabbatical to learn more about high-performing organizations by visiting successful companies. He learned that there was a strong correlation between performance and having fun, so when he returned, he created a Fun Committee and placed them in charge of creating more fun on the campus from events, activities, celebrations, and more.
  • Perkins Coie, a law firm headquartered in Seattle, Washington, has a Happiness Committee made up of anonymous employees, any one of who can decide, “It’s time to do something.” Committee members perform anonymous acts of kindness, such as leaving gifts at workstations. Offices also hold monthly birthday parties, regular happy hours, and spontaneous celebrations throughout the year, like a picnic on the roof, and Popsicle socials. An elaborate, annual holiday party features skits from new attorneys and appearances by the firm’s managing partner, who has appeared as many characters including a Vegas showgirl, Dolly Parton, and an Oompa Loompa.
  • About once a month, employees at TechniGraphics, the engineering data company headquartered in Wooster, Massachusetts, completely empty the building during lunch time. They may go bowling, ice skate, or meet at Acres of Fun, where they can drive go-karts or play mini golf. Richard Danby, human resources director, said these and other social events are needed because employees work in units separated from each other. “This is an opportunity for a morale builder and an opportunity for employees to get to know each other better,” he said. Sometimes they host onsite events like chili cook-offs and ping-pong tournaments, as long as they promote fun.
  • “At Zoom, employee appreciation and happiness is not a day, it’s a way of life,” says Heather Swan, Chief Happiness Officer/Strategic Alliances. A video communications business headquartered in San Jose, California, the company offers the expected Silicon Valley benefits. “Our executive team and volunteer employee Happiness Crew also deliver happiness to our employees, customers, and community through unique activities, perks, experiences, and more,” Swan adds. Specific programs include:
  • Reimbursing workers for any book they/their family members buy, with no cap
  • Reimbursing workers for fitness or gym memberships/classes, with no cap
  • Executives taking turns hosting monthly breakfasts for their teams

As you can see by the above examples, having fun doesn’t have to take a lot of money or time. Start small with something your employees are excited about and build from there. As your workers better enjoy their work environment, they can’t help but better enjoy their work as well, and as a result they’ll be more productive and excited about who they are working with, who they are serving and what they are accomplishing for the company and themselves.

About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor | Bob NelsonStrategyDriven Expert Contributor | Mario TamayoBob Nelson, Ph.D., is the leading worldwide advocate for employee recognition and engagement. Mario Tamayo is a principal with Tamayo Group Inc. and has more than 30 years of experience in maximizing human performance. Together they co-authored Work Made Fun Gets Done! East Ways to Boost Energy, Morale, and Results (Berrett-Koehler, 2021).

5 Steps to Create a Happier, More Positive Environment at Work

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article |Positive Work Environment|5 Steps to Create a Happier, More Positive Environment at WorkOne of the most challenging parts about working is that you are stuck in an environment for eight to ten hours a day, five days a week. If your workplace feels like one big headache, it might be time to make some changes! The following blog post will teach you five ways to create a happier and more positive environment at work.

Talk To Your Colleagues

While you can’t always control your supervisor or manager, you can start by improving the environment at work to one that encourages happiness. One of the most effective ways to do this is through a simple conversation with others. Start small, but be consistent in your efforts to connect with people daily, both inside and outside of work hours.
People are happier when they feel heard, valued, and appreciated.

By making time to talk with your coworkers, you’re building rapport to lead to a more positive work environment that encourages happiness in all areas of life. Discussing career goals or how the family is doing helps make strong connections between people at work. It doesn’t have to take a long time. Even five minutes of conversation over a cup of coffee can go a long way towards making for happy coworkers and, in turn, more satisfied employees.
This is why it’s essential to make small talk with others during the day and outside work hours—chatting about topics from weekend plans to favorite restaurants builds rapport and trust among team members.

Create A Space That Makes You Feel Good

Pick an area to work on first. Maybe your desk is cluttered. You sit in front of a window that gets minimal sunlight, or the air conditioning never seems to be working just right for you. Something small might have a huge impact! Please make sure everyone who comes into contact with this space has access to their cleanliness supplies so they can keep it clean.

If you can’t change your environment, try to improve the way you interact with it. How do you handle stress? Do certain situations or people make this worse for you? If so, what could be done differently, and how would that positively affect others? It is essential to create a positive work environment for your employees. A happy workplace can boost the productivity, creativity, and engagement levels of workers. This will ultimately lead to more revenue generated by the company.

Appreciate Your Employees

The best way to create a happier work environment is by doing little things to make people feel appreciated. It’s essential for everyone at the company to feel like they are making an impact and knowing their efforts matter, so sharing positive feedback regularly can go a long way.

When someone does something outstanding, be sure to acknowledge it publicly – in a team meeting, through email, or even by sending out an all-company group message. This will let everyone know that their contributions are seen and valued, which helps create a happier work environment for everyone involved.

Another way to create a happier work environment is by doing something out of the ordinary. Just make sure you aren’t breaking any company rules when planning these activities! Bringing in donuts on certain days or taking everyone out for lunch can turn someone’s day around and help them feel appreciated at their job. People are much happier when they feel like their opinions matter, so try organizing brown bag lunches with employees where everyone has an opportunity to voice their thoughts and concerns about work. Appreciate your employees by looking after their employee wellness.

Being Open And Honest

Another way to create a happier work environment is by being open and honest. This includes having real conversations about how people feel, giving negative feedback when necessary, and not sugar-coating anything out of fear that it might hurt someone’s feelings. Just be sure to take everything you say, intending to help them improve rather than discouraging them.
When people feel like they can speak honestly and openly, it creates a happier work environment. No one wants to be told what to do or how to behave every minute of the day; we want constructive criticism that will help us improve our performance and build better relationships at work. When you open yourself up in this way with others, not only do they appreciate it, but you will also feel happier at work yourself.

Being Positive And Constructive

It’s essential to be positive and constructive in the workplace. This means always looking for ways things could improve (even when everything seems perfect). It’s much easier to find what needs improvement rather than that which is already doing well. This can be applied to everything in the office, from interpersonal relationships with colleagues or clients to how work gets done and projects are completed.

By being positive, you can help make the workplace a happier environment, which leads to more creativity. You also learn something new about your work or even yourself by looking for ways to do better. This is not only fun, but it makes good business sense as well!

Positive environments include having good relationships with coworkers, feeling valued and acknowledged by managers, an atmosphere of trust between employees and employers, etc. Employees who feel that their bosses care about them will be more productive than those under unappreciative or apathetic management. If you think that your work is not valued, then you will probably be less effective.

Positive attitudes also play a significant role in whether or not employees are happy and satisfied with their jobs. If they’re feeling great about what they do day-to-day, the chances are good that the positive feelings will remain long after quitting time. This can result in increased retention rates and even reduced turnover.

There are many opportunities to be more positive at work, both for yourself as an individual contributor or on a team where you’re responsible for the outcome of your project.

In conclusion, today’s workforce is filled with many different types of people who all have unique preferences and styles regarding how they like to work. While this can make for a very vibrant and exciting environment, sometimes the number of differences between employees’ personalities or working habits gets in the way of team cohesiveness and productivity, which leads to a less optimistic, more stressful work environment. To create happier and more productive employees, managers and team leaders need to implement practices that help build up employee morale while accommodating each individual’s personality traits and working habits.

How to Improve Employee Engagement

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article |Employee Engagement|How to Improve Employee EngagementIf you’re a business owner or your role involves managing people, you’ll have some idea of how much easier your job is if your employees are engaged in their work and motivated by what they do.

By investing in employee engagement, you will see numerous benefits, and it doesn’t have to cost a lot, either.
Why is employee engagement important?

When employees are engaged in their work, they feel a sense of purpose about what they are doing, and they feel proud to be working for the organization.

It’s been reported that employee engagement is one of the key factors in company success for a few reasons:

  • Engaged employees are more likely to stay. This means that companies will spend less money on recruiting and training new staff and will avoid the inevitable dips in productivity while one staff member is leaving and another starts.
  • Engaged employees are more productive. If people care about the work they are doing, and they feel loyal to the company they are doing it for, then they will work harder, and you will see the benefits of this.
  • Engaged employees mean a happy workplace. And everyone benefits from that!

Emphasizing the company mission

One of the most important ways that you can improve employee engagement is to ensure that all of your employees know what the company mission is and that you emphasize it at every opportunity. This means that they will always remember the bigger cause you are working towards.

As a manager, it’s important that you demonstrate your own commitment to the mission, too. For example, if you work for a company with an environmental message, it can be effective to take measures in your own life to care for the environment.

Showing appreciation

A simple thank you goes a long way. If an employee has done good work, then be sure to thank them individually. This will help them to feel appreciated.

Throwing exciting work parties every so often can also be a good way to show your staff that you appreciate the work they have done throughout the course of the year. As an added bonus, they can be a great way to improve team morale and help people to bond with one another.

Supporting career development

Most people want to continue to grow and evolve throughout the course of their career, and if they feel as though they are in a role that isn’t helping them to do that, they will quickly lose motivation.

Make sure that you support your employee’s career development by taking the time to speak with them and learn what their goals are. You can then help them to progress towards their goals by seeking out learning opportunities and helping them to find relevant work experience.

Even if they end up leaving your company, supporting them while they are with you means that the work you get from them while they are still there will be of much higher quality. It also means that you will get a reputation as a good employer, which will attract higher calibre staff.

How to Become a Better Manager

StrategyDriven Professional Development Article |Become a Better Manager|How to Become a Better ManagerOne of the most important aspects of business is management, yet this can be one of the most tricky and stressful responsibilities for entrepreneurs. Leadership isn’t a trait that comes naturally to everyone, and it may need to be worked on to succeed if you’re going to be undertaking a managerial role. However, failing to show good management traits can have a profound impact on the productivity of the workforce, leading to poor results and lower profits. In this guide, we’re going to look at some of the key ways you can become a better manager and improve your company’s performance:

Motivate your team

One of the most important traits that any leader should have is the ability to motivate their team. Keeping your employees driven and on task is key to your business’s future success. Failing to motivate your employees could lead to tasks being left incomplete and efficiency levels significantly reduced. It can be difficult to know exactly what needs to be done to motivate your team as every individual is different, however, many aspects should be considered. Firstly, allow your employees to voice their opinions freely without judgment. This gives them an insight into the fact that they have a sense of power within the workplace, as opposed to being micromanaged and shut down when they wish to express their concerns.

Secondly, allow your employees to take on additional responsibilities should they wish to. You may not realize it, but if your employees have been working on the same tasks day in and day out, they may be bored to tears and on the lookout for new opportunities. With this in mind, consider how and where they may be able to utilize their skills in other aspects of the business.

Thirdly, being generous with employee benefits is sure to make your employees feel appreciated and are rewarded for their efforts. Due to the high demands for skilled workers in a variety of sectors, it is easy for your employees to job hop when offered a new opportunity elsewhere, so always ensure you’re offering your workforce the very best benefits to retain your very best talent.

Create a positive work environment

A miserable workplace can make going to work a chore for employees so your responsibility as a manager is to create a more positive environment to keep your staff happy and less stressed. Employees can become completely dispirited if there is friction or negativity in the air. Therefore, whenever you notice any drama or issues occurring, it would be in your best interests to resolve them as soon as possible.

As a manager, you should ensure that you are checking in with your employees frequently to address any problems or concerns they may have. You could introduce an ‘open door’ policy through which employees have the freedom to knock on your office door and have a chat whenever they require. These steps for putting your employees’ happiness as a priority will not only improve productivity on a day-to-day basis but could also improve your bottom line.

Give and receive feedback

Many professionals want to get the best out of their employees, but fail to communicate their thoughts concerning their performance, simply out of concern of causing upset or damaging their professional relationship. However, ignoring the fact that things are going wrong and declining the chance to inform your employees can be a detrimental mistake. All employees need regular feedback to understand what they are doing well and where there is room for improvement and should give them a sense of direction on where to focus their efforts during the working day.

When giving feedback, ensure your comments are direct and are backed up with solid evidence. In doing so, your employees will understand exactly how to improve and in which areas they have surpassed expectations.

In addition to providing feedback, it would also be a good idea to allow your employees to have their say on your position as the manager. In doing so, it can help you gain a clearer understanding of how your team perceive you, as well as which management strategies need to be adapted to suit their needs.

Demonstrate effective leadership

It goes without saying that any good manager should have the ability to lead their team by offering support and advice where they see fit. Motivating your workforce to achieve is one thing, but if you aren’t providing any sense of direction, your team will be unaware of how to make use of their time.

Your main role should be overseeing your team’s duties using your leadership qualities without accidentally micromanaging. Employees feel more in control and confident when they have a manager nearby to turn to for assistance. Leadership skills don’t come naturally to every individual, so you may need to learn the basics of what it takes to be a good leader. You can boost your leadership skills by enrolling on a business masters course at Saint Bonaventure University.

Get to know your team on a personal level

How well do you really know your team? Many managers make the mistake of hiring their employees without really getting to know their staff on a more personal level. Whether you have hundreds of employees or just a handful in your organization, you must show interest and aim to understand them both in the workplace and when it comes to their personal needs.

While socializing has been proven difficult over the past 12 months as a result of COVID-19, it has become the norm to have a face-to-face meeting with new employees working remotely, even if it’s simply over Zoom. In doing so, it proves that you’re keen to get to know them much more closely as opposed to a simple email or phone call.

Although you have to remain professional as the manager, there’s nothing wrong with aiming to become friends with your staff; providing everyone is treated in the same manner so that you cannot be reprimanded for showing favoritism.

Be consistent with strategies

In order for your team to constantly perform and deliver, there needs to be the element of consistency from you, by following a certain amount of set processes. Employees take direction from your instructions to ensure tasks are completed by the deadlines, so everyone within the workforce should take this stance when it comes to guidelines.
Be appreciative of their efforts

When you’re trying to become a better manager, you need to pay more attention to how you treat your employees. While your job is to ensure that everyone is on task, you should never take your team’s efforts for granted. When managing a large group, it’s common for individual efforts to go unnoticed – especially if they are more subdued and unconfident individual.

Failing to recognize your employees’ achievements can be a major disaster long-term. Not only will they put their foot on the brake when it comes to efficiency, but they may also look for job roles elsewhere if they believe they’re not valued.

Don’t be afraid of new approaches and techniques

The way businesses are being run is changing by the day, therefore, managers must always stay in the loop when it comes to new trends and working styles. Some managers tend to take the cautious route in fear that the risk will flop; after all, if this were to happen, they will be the ones suffering the consequences. Yet, failing to carry out new approaches means that your business will stay stuck as opposed to progressing.

Taking controlled risks is the only way your business can reach its full potential and is how some of the biggest brand names in the world have got to their position today. Don’t overlook the ideas of your staff when it comes to your business’ development. They are the ones ultimately working on the front line and have a clear understanding of how things are going and what should be done better. Listening to your employees and taking a leap of faith with their ideas may not only work in your favor but is also a proven factor in employee retention.

Being the manager of a business is no easy task. Unless you have been a manager previously, it can take time to adjust to the responsibility of the position and be one of most difficult professional roles you will ever experience. Nevertheless, once you notice that your efforts are delivering impressive results, it will certainly give you that feel-good factor and perhaps strive to do even better. If you have never managed a team before, knowing how to conduct yourself and the policies to introduce to your team can be a challenge, yet it is simply a learning curve that will develop and improve over time. Hopefully this blog has given you some helpful hints to take on board as a new manager and give your team the very best chance of success.