Although our economy is growing, many companies are still not replacing vacant staff positions. These actions result in companies trying to do the same amount of work, or more work, with the same or fewer numbers of people.
Whatever the scenario, employees begin asking themselves key questions:
• What is happening?
• Should I start looking for another job?
• How am I ever going to do my job plus take on additional responsibilities, for either the people that have left or additional work that needs to be done?
Needless to say, this can cause anxiety and fear. It can drain the positive energy and motivation from your employees.
The question then arises, ‘What can leaders and managers do to re-energise their workforce and maintain high levels of productivity?’
Here are 4 strategies to help you accomplish this goal.
Strategy 1. Communicate
It is more important than ever to over communicate with employees in your organisation. The types of things that should be communicated include:
• A clear articulation of the present and future vision of the organisation.
• An outline of how the company plans to reach this new strategic direction, particularly if the direction has changed.
• A clear distinction of how each employee’s role and responsibilities add to the overall success of the company.
Employees appreciate being ‘in the know,’ and want to contribute to improvements and future success. Once they understand why the company is doing the things they are doing, anxieties are channeled into increased productivity and creativity.
Strategy 2. Train
Training is critical to ensure that employees are productive and effective, particularly if they have new assignments or work. Individuals will need product training, operational training and skills training. Leaders and managers often forget that one of the biggest motivators for individuals is continuous learning and development. Training builds commitment to the organisation and increases productivity. When companies invest in their employees, employees have the opportunity to learn and develop and become increasingly loyal and committed to the organisation.
Leadership Management Training is also very important for supervisors and managers in the organisation. They need guidance, direction and back to basics management skills on how to coach, motivate, recognise effort and reward the results of their employees. With business pressures escalating every day, leaders and managers need to be reminded of good management techniques.
Strategy 3. Ask and listen
Employees want to see their organisation succeed, and many of them have excellent ideas on how to save money, enhance various operations, streamline processes, etc. This is a time when it is especially important to ask employees the following:
• What are the strengths of the organisation?
• What are the areas of potential development for the organisation?
• What do you as individuals personally need to improve your efficiency and productivity?
Asking and listening to employee input helps staff feel valued, and can develop innovative and creative ideas that may not have been previously thought of by management. It is great to ask and listen. At the same time action must be taken.
Strategy 4. Recognise employee contribution
During unsettled times, employees take on additional responsibilities and in many cases go the extra mile. It is particularly important at these times for managers to recognise effort and be sure praise is overflowing. A simple, “Thank You,” “Great Job,” or “I really appreciate your extra efforts,” are meaningful things that people want to hear. This will build incredible loyalty and commitment, and encourage people to work even harder.
Employees want to be assured that management is in control of the situation. They want to be sure that management is looking for alternative solutions. At the same time it is important for every employee to understand the reasons behind decisions made, and this brings us back to communications.
Leaders and managers need to be very clear on what the future direction is for the organisation and how the company plans to reach this new strategic direction.
Ensuring that every employee knows how they personally contribute to the overall success of the organisation will increase motivation significantly. Motivated employees are efficient and creative, thereby increasing overall profitability and bottom-line results.
Finally, do not be afraid to train people, recognise them, and praise them. Managers need to utilise the two most under utilised words in the English language, ‘Thank You.’
When said with sincerity, there are fewer words that have more meaning.