A business is only as successful as its employees, and that goes for any industry. Whether you're a leader in an office, a retail store or an online business, the rules of leadership apply. Even the most amazing employees need direction and encouragement to succeed. Guidance is paramount to maintaining a positive atmosphere at work, which, in turn, will boost productivity. To promote a positive workplace in which employees go above and beyond to achieve organizational goals, you need to lead by example and take advantage of everyone's strengths.
How employees contribute to an organization's success
Employees are important because they carry out your mission and have influence over your customers, among other reasons.
- They carry out your mission. One of the top reasons employees are important to an organization's success is that they are the ones who are directly responsible for carrying out your mission. For instance, if you have a mission statement that places an emphasis on providing outstanding customer service, no matter how much you believe in the mission, it will be the employees themselves who will deliver this incredible customer service.
- They are the lifeblood of the company. In addition to carrying out your mission, your employees are the lifeblood of your organization. All levels of your company are run by your employees. If you do not value them, ultimately, they will not value your or your company.
- They drive revenue. Moreover, according to Mapovate, employees are also important to the success of an organization because they help drive revenue. When employees are treated properly and given the proper guidance and tools, they can help reduce costs while also boosting sales and revenue.
- They can influence your customers. Last, one of the top reasons employees are vital to your success as an organization is that they can influence customers. No matter what type of company you have, your customers are likely to value the views and opinions of your own employees over all else. Therefore, if you have lots of dissatisfied employees, the customers are likely to develop a negative view of your company overall.
6 ways to guide and motivate employees
Here are six ways to motivate your employees:
Take advantage of everyone's strengths.
Playing to each employee's individual strengths makes for a stronger workplace. While any attention is better than no attention, positive attention – as when an employer focuses mainly on strengths – is the best of all. Plain and simple, focusing on employees' talents boosts your bottom line. Employees who primarily use their strengths at work feel less stressed and physically and emotionally healthier. This increases their productivity and also supports positive engagement with clients and customers.
Hold employees accountable.
Accountability can be an unbelievably useful management tool, but only if you develop a system for doing so. If you tell an employee that they're accountable for their actions only after they have taken action, you'll only confuse and potentially disappoint them. It's too late for your response to have a real impact at that point in time.
However, if you spell out your precise expectations ahead of time, every member of your team understands the standard of work for which they are responsible. When they know exactly what they're supposed to do, you can trust that they'll know how to follow through.
One way to help people know where they stand is to implement time tracking. While some employees "pad their hours" on their timesheets, you might be surprised by the number who underreport the time they spend working on a project – or, in some cases, how many don't bill for overtime, because they want to please their bosses. Not paying employees accurately for their time isn't just bad practice – it's actually a gainst the law.
Keep a feedback loop open
A major part of developing a successful team is opening a feedback loop. Employees need to know where they stand.
If someone is lagging behind their teammates, have a conversation with that person early on; this will keep them from being confused when it's time for quarterly reports. On the flip side, if someone has done an amazing job on a project or has improved tremendously in some aspect of the work, let them know. Otherwise, how will they know to keep up the good work?
It's just as important to be transparent and open to feedback on your end. Employees should have room to comfortably and respectfully voice any thoughts or concerns. When you hear from them what's going well and what might need to change, you have a better sense of how your business is running overall.
Break stretch goals into smaller pieces
One thing all organizations have in common is they ultimately want to be successful. Minor and major goals fuel employees’ desires to work harder and make a greater impact, but if those goals are too out-of-reach, it can cause burnout and dwindle team morale.
An effective acronym that can help is SMART goals, which stands for:
Specificity in goals can highlight your company's strengths and weaknesses for your target market. Measurable goals require analysis of your team and will help you keep track of how far you’ve gone in achieving a goal. The achievable and realistic factors of the SMART system go hand-in-hand. If goals are achievable and realistic, your team will feel a greater sense of accomplishment at the end of the day, no matter the size of the goal. Finally, a timeline will help your team stay on track and synchronized as each goal is reached.
Give your teams more autonomy
Greater team autonomy can not only benefit individual teams but your entire company culture as well.
When teams are more autonomous, leaders don't need to spend as much time micromanaging them and can instead plan for the future and address other company needs. For instance, employee retention rises when teams are given more autonomy. If a company takes processes like onboarding and work-life balance initiatives seriously, employees are more likely to stay at the company for longer periods of time.
This is because, in recent years, meaningful work has begun to gradually take precedence over higher pay and longer hours. A team of researchers found that more than 90% of employees would choose to take a pay cut in favor of doing more meaningful work. When you trust your employees enough to grant them more autonomy, it gives them the ability to find purpose in their work, which can help incentivize them to stay at your company.
Lead by example
Lastly, if you want to promote a positive workplace in which employees are happy and thriving, you must lead by example. Actions speak louder than words. So, if you are attempting to build a company that champions , going above and beyond, etc., you need to exhibit these same traits to your employees. If not, you will eventually create a company that functions in the exact opposite method of what you intended.