“Train people well enough so they can leave. Treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” -Sir Richard Branson, CEO, Virgin Group
When employees are treated well, trusted, and provided with opportunities to grow and learn through the business, they tend to become valuable assets for the company.
Each employee plays an important role in the company’s success. In addition, a company’s reputation lies in the hands of its employees because they will share their experiences with their peers. When an employee says good things about their company, a comparison is drawn between that company and its competitors.
“Everyone talks about building a relationship with your customer. I think you build one with your employees first.” -Angela Ahrendts, former Senior Vice President, Apple
Management and company leaders are responsible for bringing out the best in every employee and training them to work toward the company’s well-being.
Neither goodness nor loyalty can be forced. As a business owner, if you expect your employees to be loyal, you must take the first step. Earn employee support and loyalty by clearly expressing your objectives and goals to them. By communicating clearly and tracking their performance, you can identify their pain points and establish objectives to improve operational aspects.
You must build a valuable relationship with your employees to build a valuable company.
Believe in, Trust Your Employees
Employee empowerment is not pitting employees against each other in the name of competition or goading them into doing each other favors. On the contrary, when your employees feel they have control over their work and decisions, they feel empowered and trusted. Each individual has a process, and it is your responsibility as a leader to identify and acknowledge it.
Micromanagement eventually results in the loss of trust between the owner and employees. Employees no longer perceive the owner as a leader but a bad boss who doesn’t trust them. This savage conduct shatters trust between employees and managers and results in two outcomes: production suffers, and employees leave.
Autonomy in the workplace fosters an environment that benefits the owner. As Daniel H. Pink, an American author, famously said, “The three things that motivate creative people—autonomy, mastery, purpose!”
Trusting your employees with their work is the least you can do to allow them to foster a productive environment for themselves. As an owner, you might have doubts about your employees wasting the company’s time and resources. Now is the time to trust your training. Create departments for different tasks and build a well-trained team who know their work. When you are aware of their quality, you will be comfortable giving them the autonomy to do it.
Share your resources and break down annual goals into quarterly goals. Then, when your employees know what you expect, they’ll build their frameworks and map out their tasks according to those goals. It is the best way to let them accomplish their objectives and determine their long-term goals.
Forgive Employees’ Mistakes, Help Them Learn
It is difficult for owners to allow their employees to make mistakes because mistakes risk losing time and resources. The history of businesses reveals that great leaders allow their employees to make mistakes. Mistakes enable employees to learn and grow. Employees repeatedly making the same mistakes is a clear sign that they need training. Your job is to train them well and allow them time to learn the essential skills to do their jobs effectively.
An excellent way to allow your employees to take risks without serious consequences for the company is to figure out safe zones. These safe zones are areas or departments that do not directly affect clients. Where there is little possibility of significant damage, allow your employees to experiment and learn.
Perhaps establish a policy where an honest mistake is allowed only once. For example, when a mistake is made the first time, the whole team works to fix it as a collaborative exercise. If the same mistake is made again and negatively impacts the business, the responsibility of fixing it falls onto that employee. This forces employees to act carefully and work with an attentive mind.
“If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything.” – John Wooden
Consider mistakes as stepping stones to move out of one’s comfort zone and try something new. Allowing mistakes may help your team learn, own, and fix their errors, which will eventually help your company grow into a valuable community.
Praise Your Employees
Unforgiving management and harsh feedback cause good employees to quit. An employee who doesn’t feel appreciated for their work loses interest in doing it. As a leader who has successfully built a company, you must understand the value of appreciation.
According to the Global Workforce Study conducted by consultant Willis Towers Watson, praise and appreciation are the foundation for building trust. More than 40 percent of participants cited they did not feel appreciated or trusted by their managers, resulting in a reciprocal lack of appreciation and trust. The same study showed a 60 percent increase in employee engagement appreciated and recognized by their managers.
Scientifically speaking, praise generates a happy feeling—the chemical reaction resulting from dopamine release. A neurotransmitter, dopamine, is linked to happy feelings such as satisfaction and pride.
There are different ways in which you can praise your employees:
- Announce a project hero
- Ask for feedback
- Talk to low performers
- Incentives and bonuses for creative ideas.
The happier your employees are, the more productive they’ll be. Reward your employees for the extra effort to bring out the best in them. Give credit where it is due, and you’ll see the results in their higher productivity.
Preach a “Value Creation Mindset” to Your Company
An alignment of thoughts between the company owner and the employees is necessary when you want to create a value creation mindset. For a company to consistently please its customers, its employees must deliver exceptional service. Without your employees, you cannot complete all your tasks successfully.
First, make sure you choose the right candidate to do the job. When an employee is qualified to do the work, they provide quality work. Secondly, make the process of setting goals a collaborative activity. This way, you can ensure that all your employees are on the same page and working toward the same organizational goal.
To create a value creation mindset, convey your goals and expectations. Your employees will stay committed to you with a clear understanding of the growth strategy, vision, and short- and long-term goals. The catch here is that when employees’ individual goals are met, the work atmosphere becomes positive and healthy. Then they collaborate toward fulfilling the organization’s goal—a win-win for all.
What Have We Learned?
- When an employee works towards creating value, it benefits both the individual and the company. Therefore, a value creation mindset is a great asset to a company.
- A value creation mindset strengthens relations between employers and employees. This helps develop a positive work atmosphere and builds trust between management and labor.
- When employees are given autonomy to choose their work patterns and make decisions, they are quicker and more productive. This results in faster completion of projects and no rush during deadlines.
- Allowing mistakes enables employees to challenge themselves and reach their maximum potential without pressure.