1. Help everyone find purpose — theirs and the company’s.
When a business has a well-defined purpose, its team members can more easily figure out how they fit into the bigger picture. “The most important thing about having a purpose isn’t the difference it makes to consumers or brand power, but the binding effect it has on employees,” says Kerry Stover, COO at consulting firm Pariveda Solutions. “Companies with a clear, evergreen purpose motivate employee loyalty.”
Encourage managers to focus on their personal “why,” the driving force behind what makes them want to be a part of the larger company purpose. They should also encourage those they mentor and supervise to identify drivers that align with the organization’s overall mission. Maybe it’s helping customers overcome problems or enabling colleagues to innovate more easily. Whatever their reason for coming to the office, the more they connect with the company’s purpose in their day-to-day work, the happier they’ll be on the job.
2. Promote a culture of feedback.
Research has shown that 87% of employees crave opportunities for growth, but less than 40% said they’d learned something new in the past 30 days. Feedback plays a key part in employee professional development, meaning managers must provide it regularly to team members. Are you afraid to be too honest and feeling the pressure to just say nice things? Don’t be — your employees want honesty.
Teach all the managers at your company how to be direct while showing they genuinely care for the people they supervise. Share techniques such as focusing on the behavior, not the person, and giving equal amounts of praise and criticism. Allow employees to design feedback processes around their individual needs, and encourage them to initiate feedback. For example, employees of BP Lower 48 determine when performance discussions occur and are responsible for driving the agenda during those conversations. Put this practice in place, and arm your employees with the tools and techniques they need to act on the feedback they receive.
3. Help your colleagues balance goals and personal obligations.
Most people have personal goals they rarely communicate to their boss. An employee may want to work toward an advanced degree, for example, or learn to play a musical instrument. These personal goals may not be directly related to the employee’s daily tasks, but when working toward them, he or she is likely to be happier. Urge supervisors to get to know their colleagues and to find out how the company can support both their professional and personal goals. Implement a companywide individual development plan in which employees create and track progress toward four personal and four professional goals for the year.
In addition, acknowledge that employees may have personal obligations that occasionally impact the workday, such as a parent-teacher conference or a scheduled home appliance repair. Make things easier for your employees by adopting flexible work hours that allow them to balance their personal commitments with their workload. “A flexible schedule creates an environment for better management of life’s demands,” notes FlexJobs’ Jessica Howington. “When they don’t have to juggle all of life’s demands all at once, employees have less stress and more positive feelings about their job.”
Your people mean everything to your organization. If you want everyone to work at high capacity, be sure to set up all personnel to feel their happiest. Boosting your team’s overall sense of well-being at work and at home can lead to a quantum leap in productivity.