Employees are valuable resources who are not only equipped with the expertise and knowledge for the role you initially employ them, but they also house talents they have harnessed and skills they have honed which you may not be aware of, unless you tap into them. This may not apply to all your employees; however, if you do not utilize the opportunity of tapping into them you could miss out on possible skills and information that could take your business to the next level. Whether you own a Fortune 500 Company or a “Mr. Jay” corner store, perceiving and engaging your employees as a means of resource and not mere commodity, can exponentially benefit your business.
I have witnessed firsthand where employees go from nonchalant to concerned, activated employees. For many employees, their only reason for going to the job is merely the paycheck. They have zero interest in the company and as such very lackadaisical, and this outlook sets the tone for unhealthy customer service, stifled employee relations, an unmotivated work environment, and a stagnant or declining business. This is not a situation any business owner would like their business to be a part of, and thankfully, there are ways to not only energize your employees, but also connect them to your business strategies.
5 Step Approach To Utilizing Employees Full Potential
- Activating and mobilizing your employees
- Creating and implementing strategies that are geared towards business success with a theme of employee involvement
- Empowering your employees
- Opening and aligning the channels of communication
- Re-examining protocols and promoting continued collaboration
Step 1. Activating and Mobilizing Employees
You activate and mobilize your employees by giving them a voice, clear roles to play, and incentives. Studies have shown that humans are more likely to be attentive and receptive when rewards are in play. Essentially, in order to boost employees interest you can offer incentives for participation in both internal as well as external surveys. Surveys can range from individuals view of operation to customer satisfaction, as well as their social group stance on matters that are important to the particular business.
Shift your thinking to inspire your employees to be active in something that is about them. Give your employees business cards. Employees will start to feel like a part of the organization and not just a commodity for the company, and this will solidify their new stance of the business, and activate a drive to see the business succeed. Each time they hand out their business cards, your company gains new prospects who could quite possibly convert to new customers. Your equipping them with business cards allow them to market your business indirectly, while having a sense of pride. Employee activation is just as important as traditional external consumer-focused efforts. More than a paycheck, employees desire a sense of purpose, pride, and impact.
Step 2. Implementing programs and surveys and directly Connecting Your Employees to Your Business Strategies
After you have clearly conveyed your company’s purpose to your employees, you can start implementing programs that links them to your business strategies:
- Host brainstorming sessions and allow your employees to participate. Bringing together different perspectives harmoniously is important to leveraging individuals’ collective talents.
- Invite them to write articles for company blog. You can rest assured they will be broadcasting to their social networks the awesome work they are doing contributing to their company who values their input, which in turn converts to indirect marketing for your business.
- Create monthly or quarterly internal newsletters showcasing how your employees have helped to improve the company over a period, and putting forth additional plans for impending months. Also, communicate upcoming opportunities to your employees in your newsletters, as well as in a face-to-face meeting setting.
- Implement a mentorship program that allows seasoned employees to mentor newly hired ones. This will again give them a sense of purpose to the company, and show that you trust and value them. You can create a template they should follow and give them space to test their own learning methods.
Step 3. Employee Empowerment: You Can, and I Trust You To
Employees desire to feel appreciated and valued. When employees are involved in the equation, they will feel respected and as such exude a sense of loyalty and care for the organization. Consulting with employees help to promote a healthy working environment where all involved in the organization can benefit. Employees are in the everyday happenings of the company and as such, experience issues firsthand concerning customer relations for retail businesses, as well as internal controls that affect the organization. Without co-operation between employers and employees the chances of coordinating a successful healthy business is non-existent. In addition to empowering your employees with confidence and trust, you can create programs that advance them professionally, and subsequently give them room to implement strategies learned. As business owners, we all have to ensure we are offering learning and development opportunities on the job, and challenges to promote growth.
Step 4. Communicating Effectively: Speaking With, In Lieu of Speaking To
Effective communication is essential for the smooth running of the organization; communication that is not one-sided, but all-inclusive and understandable. As one great writer wrote, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” We cannot assume communication has taken place, and in order to ensure it has, all parties must be attentively involved in the process and in a reciprocative manner. When you speak to someone, you do not listen. On the other hand, when you speak with someone you speak as well as listen which is effective communication. Also, as business owners, it is imperative to make one-on-one time to speak with employees to find out what is on their minds. Do they have ideas for improving the business, or ways to promote a better workplace? What do they want to accomplish professionally? When employees feel the company is responsive to their concerns, and values their input, their desire to participate and contribute increases substantially. Improving interactions among employees as well as with management will strengthen morale, build team spirit, increase productivity, and create a cohesive, motivated workforce.
Step 5. Re-examining protocols and promoting continued collaboration
Based on company’s performance over a quarterly, biennially, or annual period, and employees feedback, reexamine issues affecting the company that can be changed and areas that can be improved. Foster a community of committed employees, and take all the steps necessary to promote continuous collaboration, and avoid complacency.
Setting an operational plan without consultation with employees disadvantages the organization because: 1) Lack of consultation fails to take advantage of all available knowledge and expertise and 2) Lack of consultation is most likely to make people feel left out which sets the tone for reluctance and negativity towards the emerging plan. Because employees are on the front line, they will affect the core of your business – your customers. Given the right atmosphere in which they feel valued and needed, they will exude confidence in their ability and it will shine through to the customers. What you will have is an employee-driven workplace with revitalized employees geared towards enhancing your company’s growth and development – collectively.
Your employees can make all the difference when it comes to growing your company. They produce, deliver, and manage your products and services day in, day out. This is why your HR strategy should include opportunities for training and recognition programs that keep your employees stimulated, strategic employees involvement programs, and clear cut communication channels which will all work together to keep your company thriving. Employees are really a reservoir of resource. Tap into them and watch your business grow.
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