If the leadership of a company does not follow these principles, then what is outlined here will be less effective. You must first get management buy-in, acceptance and participation. If they do not care, neither will anybody else.
A great way to network, create partnerships and gain new business is by event participation. By joining local organizations and inviting your staff to participate, you increase your chances of these opportunities. People’s personal time is valuable, so encourage participation
- Create a point system that awards employees for attending community events
- Offer sales incentives to the entire staff (monetary reward for brining on a new client/project)
- Give each employee an annual allowance that can be spent on training opportunities (make sure that they provide some type of report or presentation to the staff upon return)
- Have a theme each month (silly tie, ugliest Christmas sweater, best 80s t-shirt) and encourage participation
- Hold a lunch each month where an employee does a 5 minute presentation (on whatever topic) and gets to pick the lunch that is brought in
Get people to think outside their realm, whether it is clients, management, sales, technology, etc. When someone tries to push their job responsibility boundaries, they educate themselves, challenge their teammates and ultimately grow the business.
- Pose a question each staff meeting that involves a current client, project or situation
- Hold internal sessions where a team member educates the staff on something they’ve created, designed, developed, etc.
- Require managers to spend a certain amount of time coaching/mentoring employees each month
- Require that each employee write a blog post each month
Set Clear Expectations
Not only does an employee desire to have clear expectations about their job and what is expected of them, it is comforting to know the company’s mission, vision and goals as well as a career path.
- Hold a session where the staff reviews the company’s mission & vision (could be an exercise to create one if it’s not already done)
- If an employee takes on a new job responsibility (voluntarily or requested), review expectations with them
- Discuss financial goals, future structure of company, how each individual can grow in their career path
Do the “Feel Good” Stuff
Yes, it cheesy. And, will people may act like they don’t enjoy it – but they do.
- Not only does an employee desire to have clear expectations about their job and what is expected of them, it is comforting to know the company’s mission, vision and goals as well as a career path.Create a monthly staff award (best attitude, most encouraging, top idea-generator) and have the staff vote on the winner, who gets $25 to spend on the office/team in any way they want
- Create an area of the office where staff can physically post jokes, cartoons, print-outs, etc.
- Have events once a month such a movie night, happy hour or dinner
Give people a sense of responsibility. If they are personally invested in a project, client, internal initiative; they will be more inclined to not only participate but invite others to join and want to see success – not just completion.
- Invite an non-typical representative to a brainstorming session
- Ask for a person’s buy-in/sign-off before assigning them a task/project
People want to be heard. Because someone voices their concerns about a co-worker, their job, their boss or the company; they do not necessarily need a resolution. Sometimes, it is just helpful to listen and try to understand the other person’s perspective. There does not always need to be an immediate solution.
- Create a learning opportunity where we test each other’s listening skills
- Encourage employees to challenge each other on whether they should be listening or providing solutions
Ask for Feedback
Encourage each individual to voice their positive interactions. Also, ask your staff for appropriate feedback on ways to improve the company, with the stipulation that they offer solutions alongside their complaints. You can either be a part of the problem or a part of the solution.
- At a person’s ½ year anniversary, have them do a manager/company evaluation
- Encourage managers to not always solve the problem, but ask employees for the solution
Respect Your Peers
Show respect for your peers. Positive reinforcement is proven to obtain better reactions than some type of criticism or punishment.
- Make sure this is a principle that is understood by all staff on all levels (manager-to-employee, peer-to-peer, employee-to-manager)