Want to turn your workforce into a mean money-making machine? Want them always to work to the best of their ability like their life depends on it? This is the dream of every employer. Unfortunately, the majority of workforces are made of human being and not robots, and human beings will always have their own interests, strengths and goals.
In essence, there’s no such thing as a perfect workforce. However, with the right amount of organisation and positive reinforcement, you can pretty damn close. Here are a few ways in which you can get the best out of your employees.
Cater roles to people’s strengths
If you’re simply randomly delegating tasks, you’re not using your team to its full potential. Everyone has individual strengths and you should be assigning roles based on this principle. Take time to monitor each staff member’s work and see where they’re excelling. Ask each staff member themselves what it is that they consider to be their strength. Even something as basic as someone’s personality can hold strengths useful to the workplace – something that has led many employers to use tests such as the Myers Briggs test.
Be aware that certain employers may get jealous of others doing specific tasks that they themselves want to do. Give these employees a chance to prove themselves, but if they prove not to be successful, call them in for a private meeting and tell them that you think their strengths are elsewhere and try to negotiate middle ground.
Take time to fix the weak links
A weak link could be an employee that is not performing well, or a task within your business in which no-one is suitable for the role.
If the weak link is an employee, find out why they are not performing well and invest time into solving this – whether it be extra training, time off due to stress or being placed in another role. Providing you hired them on their talents, there should be a suitable place for them within the business.
For filling an empty role in which none of your current workforce is suitable, you may need to hire someone else or find a way of outsourcing this talent. For example, if you need someone to handle accounting, you could outsource an accountant.
Don’t skimp out on training
The workload might be immense, but if you don’t have time to train your staff, you’ll only make more problems for yourself. If you can’t train them yourself, delegate a staff member that isn’t busy to train them, use online training tools or train them out of working hours. Whilst hiring experienced staff can decrease the amount of training needed, every company has different ways of doing things and it’s important that your staff all understand this.
Introduce team goals
Setting team goals with bonuses attached as a reward can motivate everyone to work together more efficiently. Ensure that the goal is achievable and that the bonus is worthwhile. Don’t move the goal posts half-way through the year either – this might urge people to think that you won’t keep to your word.
A bonus could simply be an extra sum of cash to everyone, but there are other bonus ideas too that could be just as incentive-worthy such as giving profits to charity, offering an experience such as a holiday or daytrip, offering paid time off or supporting employee’s family’s in some way. You can even brainstorm with your team to find out what bonus they’d all individually like were you to all achieve your target. Just make sure you have the finances to follow through.
Reward those that go the extra mile
As well as rewarding your team for going beyond the call of duty, you should also reward individual workers that go the extra mile. This will motivate others to do the same.
Simply praising individual staff is psychologically proven to positively affect their morale. However, you too can go the extra mile by rewarding with a gift such as champagne or sweets, a monetary bonus or by giving someone time off. Acts that may deserve a reward include consistently achieving the highest results, handling a difficult situation professionally, doing a useful task that wasn’t asked or volunteering to work extra hours.
Laws are already coming in in some places to pay those that work overtime. This isn’t something that will affect everyone – by using an exempt employee app, your staff can find out whether they are exempt. You may wish to pay everyone that works overtime or choose only those that you feel require it, but make sure that whatever your choice, it is abiding by the law.
Empower staff to make decisions
It’s hard to not be a control freak when you’re a boss, but sometimes being too controlling – or micromanaging – can demotivate staff by eliminating any creative outlet and showing a lack of trust. Give employees the power to make their own decisions. Allow your team to vote on big changes within the company, allow them to follow personal project ideas that could benefit the business and allow them to handle responsibilities. In most cases, if someone doesn’t feel comfortable making a decision, they’ll tell you. You may find that by loosening up on the reigns, you relieve some of the stress and have more time to get on with your own work. By feeling more empowered, people may also feel that the fate of the business has more of a personal effect on them, and so they may try to suggest and make improvements that you yourself may not have thought of.
Be hands on, but not too hands on
Similar to the last point but with a few small differences, you should give people space to work and make their own decisions, but shouldn’t take a complete backseat. Get involved occasionally in the gritty jobs to inspire your staff and help them out when the workload is heavy. This will make your team feel less distanced from you. They may be more willing to share information and concerns with you and be more inclined to support you and your business.
Hold regular meetings so that everyone is on the same page
Part of keeping a workforce productive is keeping everyone aware of each other’s tasks. Holding regular meetings can ensure – either at the beginning of the week or start of each day – can help to inform everyone of who is doing which task so that roles don’t overlap, as well as notifying everyone of the level of progress. Action can then be made to address any problems and make a record of any improvements.
Try not to criticise people in meetings who are not meeting their goals. This will only make people afraid to openly admit their issues and mistakes. Someone is more likely to tell you that they’re not keeping up with the workload or that they’re confused if they know that you will try and help them.
You should praise people during meetings, but try not to keep praising them from week to week and not praising others, otherwise others may develop jealousy and become demotivated. Taking people aside to praise them can sometimes be more effective as it can feel more personal.