Motivate and Retain Employees with These Innovative Tips

February 22nd, 2013

The winter blahs can take a toll on even the most energetic workplace culture. If you’re looking around the office and seeing more window gazing and checked-out behavior than usual, don’t start cracking down just yet. Instead, recognize the effects of the season and search for ways to ease the repetition, boredom or weariness that may be bringing down the general vibe. 

Energize Your Employees: Bring on the Spring

1. Increase individual contact. One-on-one management is always a good idea, but during periods of low morale, it’s even more important to establish close connections between managers and employees. Personal observation, open communication channels, regular check-ins, goal setting and progress monitoring can all make employees feel that their contributions are appreciated and their work is getting the attention it deserves.

2. Bring fun to the workplace. Encourage an unofficial (or official) happy hour at a local establishment that’s clean, inviting, and within easy reach. Bring treats to the breakroom every other Friday. Suggest theme days like funny hat day, or sponsor a “hack day” once every few months—a day in which employees are encouraged to focus on unconventional or non-work related projects.

3. Bring in some fresh air, both literally and metaphorically. Sealed buildings are energy efficient, but they can often result in very poor (sometimes even dangerous) air quality that tends to go unrecognized. Encourage your employees to get up from their desks, move around, and leave the building at least once a day.

4. Match the right employees to the right tasks. If you can shift responsibilities and change partnerships and pairings to keep things fresh, do so. Make sure employees are given opportunities to learn new things and exercise varied skill sets.

5. Encourage socialization, teamwork, and friendship, especially the kind that extends beyond the workplace. At the same time, pay attention to your culture and keep toxic relationships, pointless competition, and solo-flying under control. An unhealthy office is a quiet, dimly lit place where employees are rewarded for stabbing each other in the back. A healthy environment is one that’s full of low grade background chatter, laugher, collaboration, and natural light.

Great personnel management requires a great retention strategy. But it also requires great staffing and screening. Hire the right people to begin with, and you’re halfway home. Turn to the North Carolina staffing pros at PSU and start building a talented, motivated team from the ground up.

Four Ways to Cultivate Employee Leadership

February 8th, 2013

If you run a company or manage a team of employees, chances are you’ve encountered the following phenomenon at least once: You recognize a star on your team. You let him know during formal and informal reviews that you’d like to see him step into a management role. He shows interest in this. He seeks—and you provide—the training he needs to rise to the next level. And when he’s finally ready for management, he takes the reins…and everything falls apart. He struggles with the most basic requirements of his new role, and he can’t seem to gather his team behind him, gain their trust, or inspire their respect. But he showed so much promise! What went wrong?

The truth is, management positions often require entirely different philosophies and approaches then employee positions do. And no matter the level of technical and skill training an aspiring manger receives, not much can prepare her for the actual day she steps into a leadership role. Here are four things her supervisor (you) can do to make this transition more effective.

Turn Great Employees into Leaders

1. Recognize that successful employees are, above all, obedient. Their job is to execute orders and respond to instructions with a cheerful smile. But successful managers can’t get by on obedience alone. In fact, struggling too much to do what they’re told will likely hold them back. Managers need to unburden themselves of some of the weight of obedience and start giving orders instead of taking them. This reversal can be confusing for erstwhile star performers.

2. Mangers need to make unpopular decisions. They also need to frown sometimes, make others uncomfortable, and do what’s right for the company instead of what’s pleasing. Until now, most star employees have done everything they can to make their presence agreeable to others, and they need to learn to let this go…without compromising their sense of diplomacy and tact.

3. Managers – especially new ones—need the freedom to make mistakes, and they can’t do this if their sole focus is on team success. During the early stages of the transition, make sure you reward your new managers for showing leadership behavior, regardless of the outcome. Even if they take their teams over a cliff once or twice, recognize and incentivize decisions that show they’re adapting to their new roles.

4. Provide coaching, don’t just toss new managers into the deep end. For every poor decision, fumbled catch, or lost opportunity, stand by to help your new managers understand exactly what went wrong. Keep your door open, and teach them how to keep their own doors and ears open to their newly acquired direct reports. As you know—and your new managers have yet to learn—great leadership depends on great listening skills.

For more tips on coaching and cultivating leadership skills in your rising stars, arrange a consultation with the NC staffing experts at PSU.

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