The most important tip I can offer you is to
take the time to get to know each of your employees personally. People want to
be recognized as individuals, not merely as part of a group. How you accomplish
this will vary depending on the size of the organization you personally manage
and whether people are in the same facility – state or country – as you.
Of course it is easiest if you manage less than
a dozen people and they all sit within walking distance of your office. In that
case, you can stop by in the morning and say “hello” and compliment them on
something they are wearing (be careful it doesn’t cross the line) or ask a
question about where they might have obtained a particular personal item on
their desk or the poster on the wall. Of course you should also ask if there is
anything they need from you. Over time, learn something about their personal
lives – their families, kids, hobbies, birthday, etc.
If you manage people that work out of their
homes, or in other facilities within your state, bring them together for team
meetings at least once a quarter – more if possible. Start those meetings with
social time and end them with social time. Have business issues discussed –
being sure to solicit their opinions – in the middle.
Unfortunately, if your people are all over the
world, it’s going to be much harder. If at all possible, create an annual
retreat bringing them all together. Even if you do this, or if this is not
possible, spend some time on the telephone getting to know them individually.
the value to society of the company and the work
Next in line of importance is for you to
communicate to all your staff how important their work is to furthering the
goals, values and the mission of the organization. Most employees want to feel
as though their contribution is worthwhile, not just “busy-work.”
If your firm is in the business of doing
something that is obviously valuable to society in some form or other, this
will be an easier task for you. The further away the value appears to the
average person, the more difficult this task will be for you.
You might consider including some community
service for your employees – such as participating in a walk-a-thon, a
community-wide fundraising event, or as a group feeding the needy.
People need to feel good about what they are
doing and the company in which they are doing it.
importance of customer service
It is your responsibility as a manager to assure
that everyone understands that they are part of an organization – a large team
– all of whom are responsible for achieving the overall goals of the business
together. Silos need to be broken down as does the attitude that it is us
against them. Encourage and reward positive internal (and external) customer service.
Where possible bring together people from
different departments who have to interact with each other. I create
mini-retreats of three or four hours during which people working in facilities
near each other learn something personal about each other (hobbies, for
example), what the other’s job really entails (walking in his shoes) and how
what they do or don’t do impacts the other group.
If you are bringing people from far away –
create two or three day retreats, but less frequently.
Each of us wants to be recognized for the work
we do. Yes, we are usually part of a team – but as I’ve written before (and
given speeches about) there is a ME in teams. We are individuals working
together. Atta-boys, awards, notices in the newsletter are all inexpensive ways
you can recognize outstanding work. Don’t ruin this by making sure everyone
becomes “employee of the month,” especially if it is undeserved.
Management by walking around is one of the ways
you can be aware of what is being done and what isn’t being done to your
So, in order to be recognized, we need to have
specific assignments and we need to be held accountable for the completion of
these assignments in an exemplary manner.
Correct those behaviors, performance and
comments that are inconsistent with the goals of the organization and the
values you wish to instill.
stretch goals and professional development
Although there are some people who prefer doing
the same tasks day after day, week after week and year after year – most people
get bored over time. They need to have their work varied.
So create stretch goals with them. What would
they like to learn next? Can they be given higher levels of
autonomy-responsibility? Should they be cross-trained so they can be promoted?
If your company can – work with your employees
to create a plan for their career development which would be consistent with
the succession plan needed by the firm.
Offer opportunities for training – both internal
Whether a particular staff person needs to be
coached to do better in their present job, or you see them as having potential
for promotion, you might offer them one-on-one coaching, mentoring or
counseling. There is nothing better – but be careful that you pick
someone competent to do the coaching, etc.
the working environment
Ok, I know you aren’t Google or Apple – but –
you can make the environment in which you and your staff work more pleasant.
Here are some ideas, some of which you may or may not be able to implement
depending on your organization, funds, and rules.
every area clean and well-lit.
sure the restrooms are serviced regularly – more often than you think.
for personal decoration of cubicles and offices.
areas where people can join each other to brainstorm, problem-solve or
just visit for a few minutes.
the best in ergonomic seating as possible.
the most effective technology for doing the job.
to coffee/tea etc. during the day – have those in a break room.
of course, if you have the funds provide good meals.
Create frequent opportunities for employees to
give you feedback.
Good management is akin to good parenting. You
are not their friend – but you should not be their enemy. There should be
respect, courtesy, and a mutual desire to accomplish commonly accepted goals.
Labels: Employee involvement, Employee motivation, morale, tips