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A happy, engaged employee is a productive employee. While good salaries and benefit packages are great motivators, adequate compensation alone isn’t enough if you want to get the most out of your hires. In the hierarchy of human needs, physiological needs – food and shelter — are at the very bottom of the pyramid. To tap the full potential of your employees, your company culture must meet employees’ psychological needs as well.

 
Know The Needs Of Your Employees

What are these needs? Ryan and Deci’s seminal work on human motivation points to three innate psychological needs: Competence, autonomy and relatedness. People need to believe they are capable, have control over their lives, and feel they are a part of something greater than themselves. Employees assigned tasks they believe are beyond their skills, employees who are micro-managed, or employees who feel they are not part of the company will suffer diminished motivation and lack a sense of well-being.

 
Ensure Employees Have The Tools To Succeed

Each employee brings a unique set of skills to the job. Assign tasks based on individual strengths and ensure that employees have the necessary resources to complete these tasks. Set realistic goals and reasonable timeframes. Nothing will undermine an employee’s self-confidence more than consistently failing to reach goals.  Conversely, underutilizing an employee’s skills can lead to a bored and resentful worker. Know your staff, their strengths and weaknesses, and plan accordingly.

 
Trust Employees’ Insight

The employees out in the field — the ones who deal directly with customers and the ones on the manufacturing floor — can provide valuable insight into your operations. While you oversee the forest, they are the ones among the trees and can tell you when something is beginning to rot. Regularly seek feedback from your employees and act on it. It’s frustrating for employees who see a problem, know the solution, and yet feel helpless to affect change because management turns a deaf ear to their suggestions. Task your team with problem-solving, and you will create a better work environment and a more engaged workforce.

 
Define The Mission And Each Employee’s Part

Every employee should understand the company’s purpose and the role he or she plays to further that mission. This is tightly woven into branding and company culture. Clearly define expectations and goals for your business and each employee.

Good managers recognize that autocratic rule is a poison in the work environment, yet it can be difficult to hand over control to positions lower on the organizational chart. Unless every member of your team is onboard with the company’s mission, employees may proceed with their own personal agendas. An astute manager will recognize these personal agendas represent unmet needs and work to correct the problem to build a strong and engaged workforce.

 
Looking to streamline your small business’s workflow? Visit usa.canon.com/maxify.

For more tips and inspiration for small business owners, visit Small Business Pulse SF Bay Area.
 

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