As a company with many employees on its payroll, it can be difficult to keep those employees from feeling like one conglomerated entity. However, that is not the most effective way to treat your employees. Your employees are individuals, and they need to be treated as such. When they can learn how to think independently and do work outside of what is specifically asked of them, they can truly become valuable workers. Here are ten ways you can incentivize your employees to become more self-reliant so they can do better work than ever before.
The most basic, but also usually the most impractical, way to get your employees to do better work is by increasing their salaries. Money is the ultimate incentive, and being more financially secure has been linked to higher rates of happiness. Happy employees will be more motivated to work hard because of the extra spending money. For instance, the time they spend consulting with pool loan companies, which is a great incentive for employee families, on their increased salaries will only create a more successful work environment in the future. You can also give merit or department-based raises depending on which people you think can help you increase profits the most.
If you cannot find the money in your budget to raise salaries, the next-best thing you can do is provide other material incentives. These incentives can be nearly anything you can think of. The most important factor to consider when coming up with these rewards is your budget and how expensive you want the rewards to be. Try to get a sense of the interests that people in your office have, and get incentive prices based off of the information you gather. You can also try to write off your incentive gifts as tax write-offs as long as you do everything legally.
Everyone makes mistakes, and while this cannot be excused to an egregious extent, you need to be willing to display some level of forgiveness to the mistakes people make. Small mistakes here and there that do not affect the company in any significant way or are caught early cannot be avoided, and they should be treated as such. When someone makes a mistake, make it clear that while this behavior will not be tolerated consistently, you are not upset. This creates an environment of safety and positive reinforcement.
Setting goals is one of the best ways to promote growth in an employee. There are several ways you can go about helping your workers set goals. Firstly, you can give them complete freedom and simply encourage them to set goals that they think will help them the most. Alternatively, you can set goals for them that fit what you think that particular employee should be working on, or you can set one goal or type of goal company-wide that best exemplifies your company's values. In other words, you can make goals as official or unofficial as you deem appropriate.
Professional relationships are almost always useful and informative for employees at all levels of experience. However, they are often most useful for new hires at a company and young people in general. Young people often thrive when they work under mentors who have more experience than them. These mentors can be long-term or for a few weeks at the start of a job, but either way, they teach essential skills when starting at a new company. The world of business is all about the connections you make, and that rule extends to those you work with as well.
One of the most discouraging things that an employee has to deal with is extensive paperwork that has to be done by hand. People can be excited for and invested in the work they do but then slow down once they hit the boring paperwork. One way to combat the monotony of paperwork is by automating it as much as possible. There are several companies that you can work with that will help you automate as much as you need. With less need to focus on paperwork, your employees will have more energy available to complete other tasks.
There is already enough negative stigma around the idea of micromanaging that you already know that it can be a bad idea, but it never hurts to reiterate commonly known points. For one, micromanaging is annoying for your employees to deal with. No one likes an overbearing boss who does not allow for any individuality. For another, micromanaging is the antithesis of employee self-reliance. Your employees will be too hesitant to do anything individually if they are under the threat of their boss ridiculing or discrediting them instead of accepting the work they do.
Sometimes, the best way to learn is not through success, but through failure. Success is great, but it does not usually promote growth. Instead, it promotes stagnation because you are more likely to not try to improve your methods. Failure, on the other hand, makes you contemplate strategies that will help you in the future. Of course, you should not necessarily encourage failure, but you should try your best to accept it if it happens to occur. As long as the failures are not excessive and do not jeopardize the company, there is little harm in failing on occasion.
Asking the right questions at the right times can open the door to opportunities that you might never have uncovered otherwise. Think of the questions you ask as a way to coach or lead your employees down paths that explore new areas. The best question you can ask is a simple, "What more could you do?" or "What could you have done better?" Simple, open-ended questions are the most likely to elicit thoughtful responses. Make sure not to ask questions that could be perceived as too easy or condescending. Ask insightful questions that will provide useful answers.
Improving communication can fix, or at least improve, almost any problem that a business has. Communication is often cited as the most important aspect in an office setting, and it is just as important when helping employees to become more self-reliant. Try implementing as much two-way communication as possible. If your employees have ideas for how to improve the office, do not disregard them. Instead, listen to them, and address their concerns as often as possible. It can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking your ideas are infallible, but you have to remember that you are just as prone to mistakes as anyone else.
Employees who can think for themselves and act independently of too much direction are some of the most valuable employees you will ever find. It is not always easy to find employees who have these critical thinking skills that make them so valuable, but you can try your best to train those in whom you see the potential for greatness. Hopefully, the above tips have given you the inspiration to manage your office more efficiently and in a way that allows for independence for you and everyone who works for you.
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