It’s that time of year again: the days are shorter and people are hunkering down for the winter… which means productivity and motivation could be slipping. But with year-end goals looming, teams need to stay focused on their vision! Annual planning is right around the corner!
It’s important to build and maintain open relationships that allow team members to see the positive impact they have on the company. Kim Scott explains the importance of these relationships in the best selling management book, Radical Candor:
[Employee] relationships are core to your job. They determine whether you can fulfill your three responsibilities as a manager:
1) to create a culture of guidance (praise and criticism) that will keep everyone moving in the right direction;
2) to understand what motivates each person on your team well enough to avoid burnout or boredom and keep the team cohesive; and
3) to drive results collaboratively.
Kim Scott, Radical Candor
When you create effective manager/employee relationships, employees will be able to identify why their work matters and therefore be encouraged to keep moving forward. We’ve outlined five ways you can help your team recognize the positive impact they have on the company.
1. Be transparent with company goals
Be specific. Share the details of your short-term and long-term company goals, where the company currently stands and exactly what it will take for everyone to succeed.
But don’t just focus on one department at the time! It’s just as beneficial for the finance department to know what the marketing department is up to, and how they can work together to achieve company-wide success. There’s no better way to get employees on the same page than by being honest with them right from the get go!
2. Recognize a job well done
Positive reinforcement WORKS. Trust us! It’s not enough to tell employees what you need them to do. It’s important to show how much you appreciate them doing it, too. One of the easiest ways to communicate how an employee can contribute to the company’s success is by encouraging them when they take a step in the right direction.
Consider encouraging personal shout outs in department meetings, start an “Employee of the Month” award program, or adding a “kudos” channel for sharing timely praise in your internal messaging system. It’s important to be specific when offering praise. Instead of offering a general “good work!” to your employee, describe in detail what they did well, and clearly explain how it made a positive impact on the company.
3. Support their professional growth
Having a plan for your business is so important, but don’t forget employees have their own professional goals too! Whatever talent you saw in them in the hiring process needs to be nurtured and encouraged. As their employer, you have the resources (and the responsibility!) to help facilitate that.
If you don’t already have one, organizing an employee coaching program is a great way to start. Investing time and resources into your employees’ growth communicates that they’re not just alone in their professional growth and that you are invested in them as a whole person. They’re part of a community and one that cares about each other’s personal and professional well-being.
4. Be present in your community
It’s not uncommon for people to spend the majority of their waking hours at work. But don’t forget that they’re part of a community when they go home at night. Many of your team members could be involved in volunteer organizations, community sports leagues, higher education, involved in their children’s activities and so many other unique roles. So bring your company out into the community, too!
Organizing employee volunteer days is a valuable way for employees to see the direct impact that employment with your company allows them to have on the community. Feeling empowered within their own community will give them confidence and trust in the company’s bigger picture.
5. Ask for honest feedback
Simply ask your employees “What can we do to help you see your impact.” It’s so simple, it just might work. When in doubt, the people who can tell you what your employees need from you are your employees themselves.
Don’t be afraid to ask for their honest opinion on how you can better communicate their value to the company. We’ve said this before, and we’ll say it again: having tough conversations at work can lead to some serious growth opportunities. Lean into it!