The first principle of my blog is Creating Ecosystems of Success, and two key focuses are Financial Literacy/Money and Business/Entrepreneurship. Whichever kind of organization you’re running, taking care of your employees is key. If you do that, they’ll continue to give maximum effort. The following contributed post is thus entitled, More That a Cog: Show Your Employees That You Care.
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These days, employees want more than a paycheck from their employers; they want to feel like they’re part of something more important, to believe that they’re not just slogging away at a job so that a salary ends up in their bank account each month. Of course, money is a factor – a big factor – but there are others, such as knowing that their boss sees them as more than a cog in their machine. Showing a more caring approach doesn’t just affect your employees, either – it’ll be good for you, too, and the culture of the company. Below, we take a look at a number of ways you can become a more caring boss.
Beyond Business Chat
You’ve hired your employee to do a job for you, but that doesn’t mean that all of your interactions have to be solely about business. If they are, then you can’t have any complaints if they think you just see them as an expendable employee. Get to know your staff on a deeper level. No, that doesn’t mean you should spend every Friday night bar-hopping; it just means getting to know what makes them tick, what they want to achieve in life, what their dreams are, things like that. Their chief aim in life isn’t to work for you — but maybe you can help them along on their journey to wherever they want to go.
There are some bosses who really shouldn’t have hired any employees at all, since all they want their employees to do is whatever they’re told to do. They’re micromanaged to death, and when that happens, there’s no amount of personal chit-chat that can make up for what is painfully obvious — that the professional side of the employee’s life is of no importance. As such, one of the best ways to foster a deeper relationship is to give the employee the opportunity to do the job they were hired to do, without looking over their shoulder. It’ll be a big step along their professional journey, and you’ll have been responsible.
In the cold-hearted corporate world, you’re told to park your personal problems at the door when you arrive at work. This might work if the human switched to robot mode once they entered the workplace, but it’s not realistic if that’s not an option. If you’ve got a huge personal problem in your life, then there’s not much you can do about the influence it has on your life, nor should you need to. No-one likes a boss who puts the company’s profits above an employee’s personal problems. Show some sympathy, and do what you can to alleviate any problems that they may have, such as giving them extra time off from work.
Look After Their Health
Employees are working longer hours than ever before, and it’s beginning to take its toll. There’s been a sharp rise in work-related health conditions, especially those connected to mental illness and prolonged periods of sitting. This, of course, does nobody any good — not the employee nor the company. So put making sure your employees are fit and healthy at the heart of your employee wellness programs. If someone’s feeling the mental strain from work, give them a few paid days off. You can also initiate a telemedicine system at the office, so your employees can get their health virtually assessed by a professional. These types of workplace initiatives will, primarily, show that you care about your staff’s wellbeing, but also boost morale and reduce sick days, too.
Take Their Side
If you’re in business for long enough, eventually you’re going to have to deal with a rude or hostile client. Or, to put it another way, your staff may have to deal with such a client. Now, in business, it’s generally recommended to make believe that the customer is always right, but to do this, this may sometimes mean throwing your employee under the bus. Once you side with a client who was rude and in the wrong, you’ll have lost the trust, and most likely respect, of your employee. You do not have to take the side of a customer who is rude and insulting towards your staff — side with your employee, and tell the client that their business is no longer welcome.
You are, of course, paying your employees a salary, which is hopefully relatively generous in the first place. But just think about how much money they’re making for you; it likely greatly exceeds their salary. While your staff will know that this is part of the deal of a job, a few employee perks that go beyond their pay are always appreciated. Even small things, like buying a few drinks at Friday happy hour, will be a good start. Treat them well, and they’ll treat you well — it’s the same in business as it is in life.
Tell The Truth
An employee will always be skeptical of a boss who says nothing but good things. And why wouldn’t they be? There are problems in every aspect of life, including business. If the boss isn’t mentioning anything contrary at all, then what’s the deal? Get into the habit of telling it to your employees straight. This could be about the health of the company, your expectations for their work, or any mistakes the employee has made. It’ll make the praise all the more believable. And talking of which….
Let’s never forget that employees are human, and, like all humans, like praise! So if one of your workers does something praise-worthy, then tell them. And don’t just say “good job” and punch them on the shoulder; tell them specifically what they’re being praised for, including what it was about their work that impressed you.
All In It Together
Finally, work hard to avoid any divisions between you and your employees. You do not exist on a higher plane to your “regular” workers, you’re just the leader of the team. Emphasize that you’re all in it together!