When employees really care about what they’re doing, managing them becomes a pleasure. No supervisor, manager or business owner wants to have to ‘crack the whip’ to keep things moving along. Encouraging your employees to take ownership of their work -and their future with the company- is an excellent way to boost morale, increase productivity, and create a more positive company culture. We look at some simple ways to achieve it.
Always acknowledge great work, and give praise where it’s due
Let’s be honest – the main reason your staff show up for work is because they need the paycheck! Getting employees to perform beyond the minimum that’s required to keep their job is where the personal touch comes into play – and the easiest way to do that is simply to acknowledge a job well done. If your workers don’t feel their efforts are appreciated, there’s little incentive for them to try harder.
Always make a point of praising good work, and thanking individuals for making an extra effort. Don’t forget to mention your appreciation for employees who quietly keep things running in the background.
Align your objectives as a company with your employees’ personal goals
Get to know what drives your employees, and what their aspirations are. Some may simply be hoping to become better providers for their families, while others may have big dreams for their future careers. If you can get your goals as a company in alignment with theirs – carving out a path for promotions for those seeking better income, or coming to an arrangement to help ambitious staff further their education – then both sides are motivated to help the other succeed.
Let employees choose the tools that work for them
If you’re asking your employees to spend hours at a stretch working on a device, piece of software, tool or equipment, then giving them some options, if possible, is always a nice gesture. A classic example in an office setting is users who prefer Microsoft Windows, and those you prefer Apple operating systems and devices. Graphic designers and other creatives, for example, might find it extremely frustrating to be forced to work on an unfamiliar system.
There are several ways you can give your employees greater freedom of choice. Remain open to suggestions, such as alternative software, apps and programs. Consider a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) system, or look into the costs of Apple Mac rental, or other hardware hire services.
Start a company wellness program
When they’re feeling run-down, stressed, or lacking in energy, it’s hard for your employees to perform at their best. Even if it’s a very basic initiative, start a company-wide program to promote fitness, stress management and a healthy lifestyle. Let your staff make it their own by nominating a wellness champion for each department or team, and asking for suggestions from staff across the board. Aside from boosting productivity, simply showing your concern for the health and wellbeing of your workers can make a big difference.
Allow more employees to work remotely
If you find it difficult to avoid the temptation to micromanage, sometimes the best solution is simply not to be in the same physical space as a worker – especially if they need to focus on the task at hand uninterrupted! Given the opportunity to work from home, employees frequently become significantly more productive, purely because they don’t want to lose the privilege. When the ball is firmly in their court, most workers will rise to the challenge and really take ownership.
Be open to new ways of doing things
One of the key benefits of employees who take ownership of their work is the valuable input and suggestions they can bring to the table. When you want to deliver the best possible product, it’s in your interest to be on the lookout for new technologies, methodologies or innovations that can help you succeed. Always make it clear that you value the opinions of all your staff, and encourage them to be your eyes and ears outside of the office.
Have a little faith
Finally, realize that getting your employees to take greater ownership of their projects and tasks means you’re going to have to give them the benefit of the doubt. Once you’ve made it clear you approve of workers taking the initiative to get the job done, make sure you give them the space to actually do so. You may well run into a few hurdles along the way, but you’ll also be rewarded with employees who feel valued, and ready to tackle new challenges with confidence!