I once heard the quote, “The one way to lose a good employee is to tolerate a bad one.” As a manager, you know that you won’t be perfect, but there are specific ways to ensure that your team will be loyal to you and, most importantly, motivated at your company. The goal is to help your company keep good employees around for the long term. You also want those employees to care about your company and its objectives.
So what are some of the best ways to do that? Let’s look at the different avenues you can take to keep your team thriving and happy while working for your business. These are some simple yet meaningful ways to bring your employees together and mold them into the best employees you could ask for at your company.
1. Be transparent
There is nothing more important than trust between you and your team. It takes a long time to build trust, but only one instant to destroy it. Building trust takes openness and transparency of your expectations, critical feedback, and being upfront in what the position entails from the start. No one likes to be told one thing about the responsibilities of their role to find out later that it is something completely different. If trust is shakey from the start and not on a solid foundation, it is even more difficult for employees to want to go above and beyond for your company.
It is essential to show transparency in your role and what is expected of them from the start. Some good employees may begin to become apathetic if they feel like there is poor communication in the workplace. Not only will this avoid future distrust issues that could arise, but it can also save you from losing out on a good employee because they couldn’t trust your word.
2. Being understanding of the work/life balance
Life happens to all of us. There was a time when one parent handled the household while the other worked. This isn’t the reality that we face anymore. This is significantly more true now that the balance between someone’s home-life and work-life is a priority now more than ever.
Kids get sick, a family emergency takes place, or someone on your team gets ill. Those things are part of life, and when you don’t accommodate these issues, the likelihood that your team members will find another company more understanding of their circumstances increases.
3. Honor those who go above and beyond
Different initiatives such as “Employee of the Month,” service awards, or honoring an “Employee of the Year” can be unique ways to highlight your employees throughout the year. In a small business, you can give all the employees an extra monetary bonus for their dedication and hard work through the years.
Lack of recognition can cause good employees to stop caring about their jobs. Acknowledging your employees ensures that everyone is equal in your company’s success and plays a role in keeping it thriving.
4. Be open to constructive criticism from your team
Transparency needs to be an unlocked door from both sides. Many famous entrepreneurs like to hear constructive criticism from their teams because it offers some of the best insights into improving their companies. Shows like “Undercover Boss” are a great example of this. On the show, CEOs went undercover to learn from their employees how the company could improve upon what it does and be better for everyone.
Asking for constructive feedback can help you improve in ways you don’t always see because you bogged down with every department’s day-to-day activities. This will also let your employees know that you value their opinion and strive to be better because of their feedback and recommendations.
5. Give your team a worthwhile goal or project
Millennials especially like to be a part of the overall mission and betterment of a company. Giving a team project or setting up attainable bonus goals for your team is a strong incentive to entice your employees to deliver results. Bonus goals can be a great way to get your employees motivated to start and finish a project within a specific time.
The most important aspect to remember is to make them measurable and reachable based on the individuals and their roles. You also want to ensure that it’s not more accessible for some to accomplish and harder for others to finish. Fairness is essential here.
6. A positive attitude is contagious
Abraham Lincoln once said, “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” When you carry a positive approach to work, along with being light-hearted and fun, that attitude can rub off on your employees. I often hear people say that they couldn’t stand to work in their ‘toxic’ office or job and had to get out. Having a positive attitude can help prevent or alleviate a ‘toxic’ environment in your workplace. One person’s bad mood at work impacts the every one.
7. Remember the little things about your team
When you have large teams, this may be difficult; however, doing so with those who report to you directly can inspire them to do the same thing to those under their supervision. Taking time to have lunch brought in for their birthday (in a safe manner, of course) or having the team sign a birthday card for them can go a long way motivate them in a manner they will remember. Even asking about their families’ well-being and their lives outside of work are meaningful yet straightforward gestures that show how much you care about them as an employee and person.
8. Build a Work Family
It is much easier to build a business and a career when you are surrounded by people you care about. While the people you work with can never replace or be a substitute for a real family, building a work family can keep a team involved and engaged. A family shares responsibilities but also share good times.
Try to find ways to have fun and interesting work events that can help build camaraderie. Hosting a ZOOM or Google Meets conference call fun, non-work related activities to bring people together can be used by companies temporarily working remotely or those that have gone entirely to remote workers.
9. Share some valuable insight from time-to-time
One thing that my manager did was share his favorite quotes with us. He would save them over time, compile the list and email them to his team to reflect on and choose our favorite. We would all share which one we liked and why we liked it. You got to learn more about your coworkers, how they thought and what matters to them in the workplace and in life. It’s a great practice and one that will always stick with me.
This article was first published in April 2021 but has been updated and expanded