Whether you are an employer or an employee, nothing feels worse than getting to the end of the day with nothing to show for the hours spent in the office. Satisfaction comes from not ending the day feeling tired but having accomplished everything on your list.
Unfortunately, sometimes it feels like you are only dishing checks at the end of the week or month, with little or no progress on the projects that you have at hand. What can you do to
#1. Lead from the top
Your employees will respond to what you show them. If they present a problem to you and it takes a while before you get back to them with the solution, they will relax in the same way. You are expected to lead by example so that the team knows it cannot slack on deliverables.
#2. Communicate roles effectively
From the point of hiring, make the job description of the new employee clear. Let them know what you expect of them each day. Are there reports to be generated and sent out each day? Then make it clear so that they know that failure to do so amounts to sleeping on the job.
One of the most effective ways to get the employees to understand their roles is by having it in writing. Naturally, things may come up during the day that would call for an individual to stop what they are working on and focus on something more urgent, but they should have their roles clearly indicated. That way, they know what they did not accomplish for the day, and they will make up for it the following day.
#3. Focus on their strengths
These days, people go to school to study and get an education, without focusing on their strengths and talents. If you hire someone for their academic qualifications but then notice that they fair better in an area different from what you hired them for, it would be in your organization’s best interest to revise their job description.
Employees thrive better in a place where they are strongest, even if it has nothing to do with their formal training. If the receptionist in your design firm has fresh ideas relating to designing, encourage them to take part in projects and even entice them to go to design schools to formalize their passion.
#4. Appraisals work
On a monthly basis, you could conduct evaluations. If monthly becomes predictable, then do it randomly just to keep your team on their toes. A simple appraisal procedure would include having a clear understanding of each employee’s deliverables and seeking to know whether they achieved them.
This will call for you to be a hands-on leader, fully aware of what every member of the team is working on, and also aware of how far they have gone with it. If you are going to achieve anything from these appraisals, you will accept no excuses for targets not reached.
#5. Award greatness
You know that the best way to keep a team motivated is by rewarding a good job, and especially with cash. Just acknowledging the team and all the effort they put into their work is a good place to start. After that, you can take it a notch higher by rewarding the best act either in cash or kind. A cash bonus, salary increment, or easy access to smart credit for a job well done, works well for anyone, and so do fully paid holidays.
While you reward greatness, you may want to put out a stern warning about mediocrity. If a member of the team has been underperforming consistently, you could assign them a mentor to hold their hand. If that utterly fails, you may have no other choice but to fire them, harsh as that may be. Who knows, you may be doing them a favor by leading them to the path where they will do better.
#6. Note subtle changes
A change in attitude or level of productivity could be due to unspoken changes within the organization. An employee will open up to an empathetic boss better than they would their colleagues. Let them know that they can talk to you without judgment or victimization. An open door policy helps you read the mood; find out when there is a change in attitude, and when one of the members needs a break.
#7. Set realistic goals
Several months ago, Wells Fargo was all over the news for abusing confidential information to open fictitious accounts. What followed was an analysis that left no doubt that the management demanded too much of the employees. They set unrealistic targets.
Unrealistic demands will result in two things: employees will find it too much to handle and resign, or they will do whatever they can to hit their targets. In doing so, they will either break the rules — the law even if it comes to that — or burn themselves out. Either way, the organization loses. Realistic targets don’t have to be mediocre. They are just enough to keep the workforce on their toes and the company profitable.
#8. Show interest in employees’ goals
Do you take the time to ask members of your team what their long and short-term goals are? You may want to get that information in and steer them in that direction whenever you can. If a member of your communication team wants to get closer to management and you think they have the potential, you could assign them responsibilities that steer them in the path of growth.
#9. Make conducive environment for them
Google Inc has not been every employee’s workplace dream for nothing. The company makes it easy for employees to work there by bringing work to the office. Granted, not every company can copy Google’s infrastructure, but you can allow your employees to work from home or wherever they wish — if they do not have to be on site. If they remain productive while working off site, then maybe you could save the rent by getting smaller offices equipped with better office chairs and table for comfort.
These days, technology is keeping everyone on their toes. Apps such as Accompany are becoming every executive’s best friend. While you are keeping an eye on everyone else, you will need ‘someone’ (read app) to keep you on your toes.