5 tips to get the best from your staff and have a happy team as an employer
Founder of the Meee movement, Sid Madge, shares his secrets on how to keep your workforce inspired.
It seems the worst of the pandemic is finally over.
And yet, it’s still hard to imagine that our work lives will fully go back to how they were two years ago. Covid has thrown up new issues for every business, together with the ones we are all familiar with: retention, recruitment, resilience and performance.
I’m a great believer in learning how to create ‘micro-moments’ rather than having people attend endless training courses. Fostering the ability to actively take charge of our situation and emotions in the moment means that we can bring more empowerment to the workplace and help people create positive momentum for themselves and their teams. Each micro-moment intervention can be actioned in a minute and I’ve written three books on these micro-moments for work, life, and family.
It’s the little things that will win the day in any strong relationship. To retain you best staff and to have a happy team overall, you need to focus on the micro-moments.
Let’s look at some examples…
Purpose and Values
Corporate mission statements and value statements abound, but is your business actively encouraging employees to understand their own purpose and values? When we feel that our purpose and that of our employer are aligned, when we can see the synergy of how our personal values align with the values of the company we work for, there is more connection and enthusiasm in the workforce and engagement goes up.
This also helps with recruitment, resilience and performance. When recruiting, if you focus on an alignment of values, then retention will be less of an issue. Staff members will be much more resilient when faced with the inevitable ups and downs of work life because they see the bigger, values-based picture. They’ll recognise the importance of their work in the corporate context because that work also fits for them in a wider context of what is important to them personally. Improved performance is a happy by-product of a greater alignment of purpose and values.
Take a few minutes to do the Meee Values exercise and consider how your current role allows you to live those values on a daily basis. If you discover that one of your values is kindness, where are you demonstrating kindness in your role? When does your organisation demonstrate kindness? Join the dots for greater personal alignment and connection to your work and company.
We are all busy and there is always a mountain of stuff to get through, but a heartfelt ‘thank you’ can go a very long way in building relationships, trust and motivation.
Specific appreciation is always more powerful than generic praise because it proves that you are paying attention. When someone goes the extra mile, acknowledge it and make sure your people know you are grateful for their effort. This intervention usually doesn’t even take a minute!
Also valuable is a heartfelt ‘sorry’ when one is needed. Never shy away from an apology, especially when you know you were in the wrong. Showing humility and honesty also helps to build trust.
If you are the boss, the buck inevitably stops with you. Take responsibility and don’t apportion blame – even if it’s warranted. Certainly, never pull people up for any performance issue in front of others. Those conversations need to be one-on-one. Acknowledge the shortfall and work as a team to put it right. No finger pointing.
Conversely, when things go right, don’t take the glory. Make sure those involved are thanked and do that publicly as well as one-on-one. Again, these are quick actions to take but they will bond the team and build trust.
Focus on the most important work
Work with your team so everyone knows what you are striving for and who will benefit. This will increase motivation all round. Empower each person to focus on their most important work first and make sure they have the access, responsibility and resources to make it happen. Encourage everyone to do first things first and only move on to the next priority when they have finished that first thing, or have progressed it as far as possible at that time.
Productivity always dips when employees are unclear of their role, priorities or the scope of their decision-making powers. Taking a few minutes each day to help clarify that can make a huge difference to productivity and efficiency. Even better, encourage your team to create focused time when they can be free of distractions (for example, turn off their emails), which helps us get into a flow and achieve more.
Develop the Beginner’s Mind
‘Shoshin’ is the concept of the ‘beginner’s mind’, practiced in Zen Buddhism. It refers to an attitude of openness, anticipation and lack of assumptions and preconceptions when learning a new subject – even when that learning is at an advanced level. Encourage your people to adopt this mindset. Perfection is not required; effort and openness are far more important. Purposefully take some of the pressure off, especially if you are asking your people to learn something new or use a new system. Aim for curiosity and engagement and give some leeway in the spirit of experimentation.
When learning something new, make sure that everyone has the opportunity to demonstrate the new skill without judgement. Adults learn by doing, not talking about doing. But make it fun. Have prizes for the worst initial effort or the most insightful learning. Mastery is not the initial aim – engagement and just trying something with an open mind is the initial aim.
By taking just a few minutes a day and following these suggestions, you can make sure that each member of staff enjoys the work they do and feels valued and appreciated for it. And that will make for happy teams.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sid Madge is the founder of Meee, which draws on the best creativity and thinking from the worlds of psychology, neuroscience, branding, education and sociology to help people achieve extraordinary lives. To date, Meee has transformed the lives of over 20,000 people, from leaders of SMEs to PLCs, parents, teachers, students, carers, the unemployed and prison inmates.
Sid Madge is also author of the ‘Meee in a Minute’ series of books, which each offer 60 ways to change your life, work or family life in 60 seconds.