Management’s relation to their office staff can often make or break a company. Employees are often engaged with a company not because of salary or love for a given industry. They are more likely there because they share a common vision, goals and values of the company they work for.
However, mismanaging employees can lead to several awkward situations. In order to avoid those, managers, team leaders, and HR should be aware of common employee engagement practices which are bound for failure. Let’s take a look at several examples and how you can avoid them and build stronger employee relations.
- Failure to communicate
The employees you work with are part of a bigger picture, just like you are as their manager. Communicating your briefings, thoughts, feedback, and criticism effectively is an important part of your everyday interaction. Chris Mercer, CEO of Citatior spoke about his writers’ team recently: “I like to think of my team as an extension of my family. We share Skype meals, help each other out of short deadlines and back each other up when a tough client comes by. This has led to a much more comfortable working environment as I make sure that everyone gets along.”
Don’t avoid your team members and office staff just because they are lower on the office hierarchy. Instead, offer them a friendly smile and ask them how their day went. A small consideration can go a long way in ensuring your employees are content and ask you for your personal and professional opinion from time to time.
- No role-models
Whether you are a part of upper management or a project manager, your employees are likely to look up to you from a distance. While you are most likely not the ideal professional they imagined, you should make sure that they see you that way.
Role models are a huge part of office culture and people frequently use these individuals to set their own professional goals. Be an example people can use to develop their own skills and grow in the organization. Help a member of your staff or an intern in front of everyone to inspire your colleagues. Failing to act like a professional can result in poor corporate culture and a lack of trust and teamwork.
Project managers are responsible for work delegation and project management. However, this doesn’t constitute micromanagement in the traditional sense. Micromanaging someone else’s work can be a double-edged sword. The project might go the way you planned personally, but you will lose a lot of respect and credibility with your employees.
Worse yet, they might be demoralized by your micromanagement if you communicate they are not doing their jobs right. James Daily, a project manager at FlashEssay was recently quoted about his experience as a team leader: “I had a hard time finding a balance between micromanagement and team autonomy. Once I realized my coworkers are just as capable as I am, I decided that the best course of action for a leader is to act as support.”
Trust your employees know what they are doing and encourage them to come to you for any help they need. Be available and offer a help but never place your actions and opinions on others. You will build a much healthier, development-driven office culture.
- Little to no coaching
Coaching plays a pivotal role in employee development and overall satisfaction. No employee will stay loyal to a company if they are not growing their professional and personal skills. In order to boost your office’s retention rate, provide supportive coaching to your employees.
Make time for one-on-one conversations about their employment satisfaction, set goals for the next quarter and check in with them from time to time. If employees notice you care about their development, they will be more satisfied with what they are doing and motivate others to work just as hard.
Whether you are in charge of junior staff members or experienced employees, recognition is important. As a project manager or a shift supervisor, you are in charge of ensuring projects are completed on time and on budget. This does not mean taking credit for all the work being done.
Natalie Andersen, HR manager at GetGoodGrade spoke about her experience with employee recognition: “Sending order after order without a “thank you” in between rarely works long-term. Employees deserve to be recognized for the work they do at the company, even if it amounts to verbal gratitude.”
Make sure to put in a good word for your coworkers and celebrate small successes as they happen. Recognition can really make someone’s day when they work hard to finish a project on time. Failing to do so will result in a severe drop in morale and productivity, not to mention the subsequent retention rates which will undoubtedly take a hit.
Ongoing engagement (Conclusion)
Being on good terms with your employees is an ongoing commitment. It’s not enough to do one good deed a month and check the employee engagement box. Build a support system for your employees to motivate them. Don’t treat coworkers as cheap labor and opt for a more professional approach. Once you establish a new office culture, you will be surprised at the results of healthy work relations.