My Opinion: A Connected Staff Is A More Productive One
June 6, 2016
As business owners, we know how how essential it is to feel connected to our staff, but in the hustle and bustle of this ever-moving business, it can be easy forget how important it is for our staff to feel connected to us and one another. There is research from the Harvard Business Review to support that happy, valued employees show a return of 31% more productivity, 37% higher sales and ate three times more creative. Today, I want to share a few tips for reconnecting and motivating your team ensuring a productive and positive season.
Don’t Just Catch Up, Check In.
Morning meetings can feel like running down a checklist of never ending to-do’s which can leave most of your team feeling like robots spouting off what they are working on, what they have completed and what’s next. While this is important information, taking a few moments to say hello, ask “how are you?” and showing an interest in the human who performs the task will go a long way to build bonds and humanize the person sitting in the chair (which not only builds loyalty to you, but amongst your staff).
You do this by opening a discussion as opposed to simply dictating or asking closed-ended (yes or no) questions. The more you make your staff members feel heard, appreciated and understood, the more information you will gain to advance your business. Think about it: If your team feels as though they are only there to go through a list of action items, there’s little incentive to share that big great idea they have or fill a new project with added enthusiasm. You don’t need to allot more than 3-5 minutes per person, but them a moment to share their thoughts and offer feedback connects them to the project and gives often essential back information that can help to avoid misunderstandings.
We all need to get things done in order to have a successful business, but it’s important to remember these are folks who choose to come into the office and give you 100% every day. The best way to keep them productive is to let them know they are a valued part of the process and progress in different ways. When a staff member stays late, goes the extra mile or does a stellar job, let them know you see it and appreciate it and reward them on occasion. They’ll be more likely to do it again.
Keeping the air clean is as easy as keeping your staff aware of what you’re thinking and feeling about things. Staying silent for too long can lead to assumptions and misunderstandings which can be downright toxic for a business, especially when there is a sense of imbalance or fear. I try and give feedback as often as possible and keep an open door policy where questions can be asked and information shared in a free exchange. This way if I don’t like something, there’s a chance to fix it and move on quickly and if something is going well, there’s no question as to whether or not to continue.
Do something fun as a team every so often.
My staff has been known to throw potlucks where we have lunch together or we will spend a few moments laughing around a table. Whether it’s going to lunch together or taking a team outing, volunteering together or hosting a seasonal party for staff and loved ones, taking the time to have a little downtime together can really boost productivity when it’s time to get back to work.
What do you do to connect with your team and create a supportive and productive office culture?