“Are my employees adhering to the high standard I have so tirelessly worked to create and maintain?” If you asked yourself this question and the answer is “no,” it may be time to analyze the forces at work in harboring negative morale among your employees. Often, while sifting through possible suspects looking for a place to point the finger, I wind up pointing at the man in the mirror, realizing that I can do more. And when it comes down to training employees to represent my business in the most positive way, I make every effort to succeed. The following are four practices I have adopted that helped me to become a better boss and maintain a more positive workforce.
- Show Them the Money: Well, okay, not all the money. In fact, I never share confidential financial information with employees, nor should you. I do, however, meet with them often to set achievable goals and report milestones as well as general financial set-backs. As a group, we analyze sales data and discuss circumstances that led to our performance. We then brainstorm to overcome obstacles and set new stretch goals. I find that this unified gathering accomplishes a number of things: Employees become important benefactors to our management strategy. We walk away with uniform goals and a well-crafted plan to achieve them. Last but not least, we enjoy fun and camaraderie.
- Provoke Powerful Thought: I am a dry-erase board maniac. I hang them everywhere, and they all serve different purposes, but one very special board dubbed “The Whiteboard of Wisdom” hangs in a common area and always displays some anecdote, cliché remark or inspirational and moving passage. My intent is to send my employees out each morning with a positive thought in mind and to provoke positive thinking. Dare them to do something amazing every day and just maybe they will.
- Offer Frequent Feedback: I understand that not every business can operate in this manner, but I dispatch employees with a prepared list of projects, a to-do list of sorts, each day. I generate every list myself and employees return them to me nightly notating their achievements and what portion of their work is complete and billable to the customer. Later, I personally inspect the physical work performed and provide one-on-one feedback to each employee. As I cannot inspect all aspects of every job, most reviews are random but employees typically appreciate constructive criticism and the advice toward improvement. Besides, when they know you’re watching, they’re working!
- Provide Training Opportunities: Whenever possible, I select courses relevant to an employee’s career path and offer that opportunity at no cost to the employee. Courses are typically inexpensive and provided locally. So at a nominal expense, you can nurture employees, hone their skill set and make them feel that you are serious about developing him or her personally and professionally. In turn, they will invest themselves into you and your business.