The following is a guest post by Eva Wislow from Careers Booster.
You hired them because their resumes and character looked promising. You want each and every employee to contribute towards the growth of your organization, no matter how simple or complex their tasks are. How can you tell if they are motivated enough to give you more than average? How can you unlock their full potential?
Business owners face a common problem regarding the performance of their employees: they choose a team of people who seem perfect, but they cannot extract the maximum level of talent. Some of them try to solve the issue in the good old way—demanding better work. But that’s not the right solution. You have to be smarter than that. You need to find a way to motivate your employees to give their best not because you force them to, but because they want to.
According to the Gallup report from January 2017, only 32% of employees are engaged in the U.S. On a worldwide level, the percentage is devastating: 13%. Engagement in this report is defined as the worker’s involvement, enthusiasm and commitment to their work and workplace.
Most managers are implementing different techniques to measure employee engagement in their organizations, but that is not enough. We need to understand the factors that led to a lack of engagement and find ways to turn that around. Let’s get deeper into that issue, shall we?
7 Tips to Unlock Employee Potential
1. Start with you
When a leader’s team members aren’t investing the maximum effort, they should start by asking themselves: “What am I doing wrong?” You’re responsible for offering guidance and support to each person working for you. If necessary, take an online leadership course. Yes, you feel like you know all that stuff, but sometimes we forget even the things we know. Such a course can be a trigger that will improve your leadership skills.
If you’re a business owner and you’re not entirely confident in your leadership skills, you can hire team leaders and managers who will motivate the workers towards better performance.
2. Understand engagement. Measure it!
Engagement is not just a feeling you have when you think your workers aren’t performing at their best. It’s something you can measure according to few criteria:
- The balance between work expectations and performance
- The way your workers complete mandatory tasks
- The willingness to accept extra tasks
- The contributions the employees make towards the growth of your organization
- The office environment
- Frequent discussions about accountability and responsibilities
You absolutely need a system. Measure the performance of your team in a non-abstract manner. That way, you’ll know whether or not your efforts lead to improvements.
3. Personalize the motivation
There is one universal motivator that never fails: bonuses. However, you can’t always give out bonuses, because you don’t want your employees to stop valuing the regular pay, and you don’t want extreme strain on your budget. Money is a universal motivator, but it’s not the only one.
Some workers need a push. They want you to be very specific with the instructions and explain every expectation you have. Others value flexibility. They prefer general guidelines and they like being left to explore their creative potential. The entire team will appreciate a coffee and cookies in the morning.
Try to analyze each team member’s personality and you’ll realize the best motivating factors for them. The key is to make them feel good coming to work every morning.
4. Give them the training they need
Training can be a highly motivating aspect of any job. When you gain new skills, you feel like the job is worthy of the effort. It prepares you for higher achievements. That’s the kind of attitude your employees should have.
If you notice that some of your managers are performing really well, provide leadership coaching for them. When you believe that a member of your team deserves a promotion, provide proper training for the new position and see how they progress. Always make sure your employees are gaining new skills and learning more in the positions they have.
5. Organize team building events
Team building events may sound silly. You get together and you play games that are fun, but may seem unrelated to the project you’re currently working on. Yet, that isn’t the point, and making time for things like this is not useless.
The point of team building is to develop a strong connection between the workers. They will translate that connection in effective collaboration at the workplace. You don’t want cold and gloomy faces at work. You need a friendly environment that inspires people do give their best. Incorporating team building events and activities will make a huge difference in cultivating an inspirational and supportive environment.
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6. Give feedback often
“How am I doing?” That’s a question every employee has on their mind. They crave your feedback, and it helps them know where they can improve, and also what strengths they bring to the team. Whenever someone gives you a report or performs a task, give them your feedback. You don’t have to elaborate it in writing—a simple “good job” is enough in many cases.
If you notice the employee hasn’t reached their full potential with this task, ask them to improve it: “Could you please make some revisions? It’s going well, it’s just not there yet.” Of course, you’ll also give precise instructions on what exactly you want them to work on. When they make the improvement, they’ll deserve that “good job!” they are waiting for.
7. Practice gender equality in the workplace
Women are especially vulnerable at work. There are fewer women in top positions—it’s a fact. The HR managers of over 80% of the 60 corporations that participated in a survey said that gender diversity was a business imperative. Do you know what “great” looks like in gender diversity? A company where a woman has at least 85% of a man’s chances to get a promotion. Why 85%?
Remember this golden rule of business: hire and promote the best worker for the particular position. The gender does not make a difference. It’s the skills, brains, and engagement you should be worried about. When you give everyone equal treatment, they will be willing to unlock their full potential. They will see the chance for personal and professional growth.
Over to You
Do you remember what your goal was when you were starting this company or looking for this job? You wanted to give your creative ideas a chance. You wanted to face new challenges and explore the opportunities for growth. That’s exactly what your employees want, too. They will give you their utmost potential only if they get something in return. That something is more than a salary they can earn with average performance.