Leaders sometimes have a hard time understanding why their employees aren’t as responsive as they’d like. Instead of dealing with eager workers who jump into action when expected, team members may seem reluctant or unmotivated.
If this sounds a little too familiar, it could be time to take action. And rather than just laying down the law, so to speak, you might want to start by doing an honest assessment of whether your team members have reason to feel valued and respected.
Simply put, an employee who doesn’t feel respected is going to be more inclined to fall into bad habits. On the other hand, employees who know their manager is looking out for them and appreciates them are more likely to go the extra mile.
With that in mind, we’re presenting some great tips, not just for boosting productivity but also for helping your employees feel more appreciated.
Offer Flexible Scheduling
When you allow employees to adjust their schedules for a work/life balance, they’ll feel more valued and respected. Where possible, give them the option to take comp days for overtime they’ve worked, or come in late if they stayed late the night before. If it’s feasible, why not allow the occasional work-from-home day? The specifics depend on the nature of your work but generally, offering flexibility reassures them that you understand they have lives outside of work. They’ll know you value them as individuals, not just employees.
As a bonus, according to Forbes Los Angeles Business Council’s Mona Andrews, it’s also a great way to attract top talent to your business.
Give Them A Break
Do you notice how much your employees are working? Using that awareness, encourage opportunities to take breaks and recharge. Marketing Manager Taylor Fasulas of Verizon Connect Australia suggests that taking a break during the day is essential for employees in all lines of work – not just Verizon Connect’s fleet management audience. While encouraging too many breaks may seem frivolous at first, it’s fairly well proven that productivity can go up when workers take adequate break time. It helps them to feel taken care of and refreshes them so that they can get back to work with full energy.
Help Them Envision A Future
An employee who feels more like they have a job rather than than a budding career won’t necessarily feel appreciated. To put it another way, if employees only feel valued for their current skills, not what they may offer in the future, it’s hard for them to feel genuinely valued. Fortunately, addressing this is simple. Try to help your employees envision a future within your organisation and a path toward progress or promotion. As much as possible, give them a reason to believe they’ll be sticking around. It doesn’t mean you have to make guarantees or extend contracts. But by providing clarity regarding future opportunities to grow within the company, you’re taking a major step toward helping an employee feel like part of the team, rather than just a hired worker.
On a similar note, consider training programs and learning opportunities so your employees can see you’re working with them for future career growth.
Make An Effort to be Kind
As leaders, managers often have so much on their minds that basic courtesy and respect can fall by the wayside, even in subtle ways. Now, this is not to suggest that managers should go entirely the other way and make too much of an effort to be ‘nice’. Writing for HuffPost Canada, Marcia Sirota made a clear case that too much ‘niceness’ can harm productivity and erode the necessary barriers between leaders and employees. However, basic kindness is vital if employees are to feel respected and appreciated. This means moment-to-moment courtesy and taking an interest in employees, as well as respecting everyone in the workplace well enough to set clear expectations, impose consequences when necessary, and generally practice fairness while establishing a structure within which all employees feel valued.
Ultimately, keeping employees happy and productive involves daily effort. It’s a process – not a goal you can accomplish at any one time. That said, the above should go a long way toward establishing good practices and may just result in a more productive workplace.
Written for Hargraves by Aja Brookes