Are you a supervisor, manager, or leader looking to increase employee engagement, morale, growth, and productivity? I think we would like all of our employees to perform at their best but sometimes we just don’t know how to get them there. There are many things you can do to improve productivity and get more out of your employees. You may not get every employee where you want them but if you follow these tips, you will surely see a massive improvement in most of your employees.
Tips to Increase Employee Engagement, Morale, Growth, and Productivity
1. Treat your employees like the individuals they are.
If you begin to treat your employees like they are just numbers or tools to get a job done, they will not work very hard for you. Each one is different with their own strengths and weaknesses. Learn to utilize their strengths and strengthen their weaknesses. Learn what motivates each individual and use that to make them the best version of themselves. Don’t fall into the trap of expecting everybody to be a robot, doing everything you expect. Sometimes they will surprise you for the better if you give them a little freedom
2. Be fair with your employees.
You have your all-stars and you have your underperforming employees. Make sure you are using your time fairly between the employees. Too often much of our time is consumed by our underperforming employees. This can leave us little time to help our better employees grow. On the other side of the coin if you only focus on your best employees, your subpar employees will not get any better either. Make sure you are using your time wisely to help all types of employees improve and grow.
3. Help your employees grow.
Becoming a mentor to your employees and helping them grow professionally and personally pays dividends. Not only does the employee become a more valuable resource to the company but they also build a loyalty toward you. Focus on not only growing your employees within the company but also focus on helping them build in their personal lives. There are many ways to help your employees grow. Books, podcasts, websites, blogs, seminars, videos, and passing on learned tactics and advice are just a few of the great tools that can be used. See my article for more tips on mentoring.
4. Give your employees the freedom to flourish.
If you constantly micromanage your employees or step in whenever they have a problem, they will be limited in their abilities in the future. Micromanaging is a short-term fix. Allowing your employees face their own problems will help them grow to be even better. That doesn’t mean allow your employees to completely fail but give them guidance only when they truly need it. Help guide them to the solution and don’t just give them the answer.
5. Don’t blow up at your employees over every mistake.
Mistakes happen to everybody. I guarantee you make mistakes, don’t expect your employees to be any better than you. As humans we all make errors. Although at the moment you may feel like the mistake is unforgiveable, take a step back and take a moment to relax a little bit before responding to your employee. Almost all mistakes are recoverable. Don’t treat every mistake like it’s the end of the world. Use your energy to find a way to fix the mistake.
6. Be present and find out what your employees need.
Never forget that it’s your employees that can make or break you. You need to get out on the floor and talk to them. The more time you spend talking to and engaging with your employees, the better results you will see out of them. Even if you just ask them how their day is going and see if they need anything, it can make a big difference. Make sure your engagements are positive and not impeding progress. If you start making these encounters about telling employees what they are doing wrong, you may have the opposite effect on production than you intended.
7. Listen to your employees needs and wants.
Your employees may need or want things from time to time to make their job easier. You should always be looking for ways to get your employees what they need. If their wants are something that makes sense for the organization, try your best to fulfill them. Your employees will work a lot harder for you knowing that you are working for them, fulfilling their needs and wants.
8. Give good feedback to your employees.
One of the biggest issues employees face with their supervisors is not knowing what they are doing right and what they are doing bad. Many times, employees think they are doing everything right but in reality, they are not performing as well in certain areas as you would like them to. What may seem obvious to you, may not be obvious to your employees.
Feedback should be constant with a mix of formal and informal sessions. Formal sessions consist of just the two of you sitting down and having an open communication about the employee’s whole body of work. Negative areas, positive areas, and future performance should be discussed. Informal feedback sessions consist of on the spot path corrections or praise. These can be done alone or in front of others. Just make sure not to berate your employees in front of their peers or you will likely not see any long-term changes and other employees’ performance may degrade.
9. Ask your employees for their ideas.
One of your most valuable resources is your employees. You may have a bird’s eye view of what they do but they are living and doing it every day. Just like you see things that they might not, they see and experience things you may not. This hands-on experience can lead to some great ideas that you might not think of. Don’t immediately disregard their ideas. Encourage your employees to formulate and bring you their ideas. If they bring good ideas, try to help get them implemented. One great idea can increase your production or profit exponentially.
10. Recognize and reward good work and correct poor performance.
Many times, we expect all our employees to work hard. This may lead to us to forget to reward them for their hard work. Rewards can be anything from a bonus to a simple good job. Praising in public can be great but make sure you a fair with your rewards.
On the flip side, it is important to deal with poor performing employees as well. This should typically be handled in private. First you need to determine why the employee is performing poorly. Is it a lack of training, poor attitude, or are they just not cut out for that specific job. Once you determine why an employee is performing poorly you can start to correct it.
11. Have a vision for your area and share it with your employees.
Having a vision is very important for a leader. A vision provides a sense of purpose and direction for a work area. Visions should be descriptive painting a picture of where you want your organization and department to be in the future. Use your vision to help inspire your employees and formulate goals. Having a vision will help keep you and your employees on track and not get caught up in the mundane tasks of the job. Having the right vision can be very inspirational to those around you, leading to an increase in productivity.
12. Set goals not only for yourself and department but also your employees.
Like a vision, goals are very important to set a direction for yourself, your department and your employees. Long-term and short-term goals are both very important. Goals should be SMART; specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound. This creates a purpose for doing the things you and your employees do and gives you a way to measure progress. Don’t forget to find out your employee’s personal goals and do your best to help them achieve them. The stronger your employees are, the stronger you are.
See this link for more information on SMART goals.
13. Push your employees without being too pushy.
We all want to push our employees to perform at their best, but if we push too hard or in the wrong way, it will only make them less productive. We want to motivate our employees to want to do their best. Instead of telling them they need to work harder, we can say something like wow you did a great job producing this many widgets today, I bet you can do this many widgets tomorrow. A little self-competition may be a motivator for many but not all. Try to figure out what motivates each employee and use that to get more out of them.
14. Give great training.
Training is the key to increasing productivity. It is a continuous process that doesn’t end when an employee is taught how to do their job. Even when employees are competent in their area, they can be trained in other areas or for the next level higher. Look at areas where employee training is lacking and look for ways to improve that area. Some employees are great at doing but are not so good at training. These employees may need to be trained on how to train others. Always look for those areas where better training can make the team a lot stronger.
15. Hire the best people for the job.
Hiring the best people for the job is the first step in building a strong team. You want to not only find people that will do the job well but will also fit in well with the team and the vision of your team. Don’t just hire people because you like them. Make sure you are not settling for the wrong employee. If you have a gut feeling that somebody is not right for the job, try to figure out why you have that feeling. Sometimes it is better to not hire the position at all if you can’t find the right fit.
Always have a plan going into an interview but don’t get too caught up if it starts to drift away from your intended plan a little. Click this link for great interview questions. Be open and honest about the job you are interviewing for. The person not only needs to be a good fit for the job, but the job needs to be a good fit for the person.
16. Fire when necessary.
Firing employees should almost never be our first option unless an employee’s actions are very egregious. We should try to provide feedback, rehabilitate, or give our employees additional training before firing in most cases. Getting too fire happy can create a negative atmosphere where employees are more worried about losing their job than they are with doing their job. If you don’t fire when needed, these employees can bring down the whole team. When you do have to fire someone, let your team know why you had to let the person go.
Following these tips and always looking for ways to improve your team is great for increasing not only the productivity but also the value of your team. As a leader you are judged by how good your team is. Having a good team can make a bad leader look good. On the other hand, it’s the leader’s job to fix an underperforming team. There is always room for improvement in not only your team but also yourself.
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