What is the lifeblood of your business? Some might say clients and others might say employees. I tend to agree with the latter. Every company needs employees that are enthusiastic about their job and care about the company. Additionally, employees need to bring excitement and drive every day they show up to work in order for companies to be competitive. But how can a boss or employer create driven workforce? Simply by connecting with their employees. Let’s take a look at ways to connect with employees so your company can thrive.
Nine Ways to Connect with Employees
- Create Dialogue – The act of conversation in itself is a way to stay connected with employees. Far too often though, bosses find themselves leading conversations and doing most of the talking. As a result, employees are not engaged and the conversation is one-way. This doesn’t have to be the case. Whenever you are engaged in conversation with employees, it’s important to ask open ended questions to encourage employees to express their ideas and opinions.
- Keep Your Ears Open – You have two ears and one mouth for a reason. This might sound cliché, but it’s still a good thought to keep in mind. In reality, many people don’t understand how to listen. A good listener remains patient, absorbs what other people are saying, and ask engaging questions for clarity. More importantly, some people express ideas better than others, but that doesn’t diminish the value of their ideas.
- Give Ownership to Employees – I’m not saying give them actual ownership, although that could be appropriate at times. What I mean is to allow employees to own responsibilities and tasks within the organization. Give them the power to make decisions that truly affect their job and performance.
- Provide a Career Path – Words and actions are two different things. Telling an employee they are doing well and they have a promising career with the company sounds nice, but it lacks an actual roadmap or path to where they are going and how to get there. Instead, find out what the employee’s career goals are and figure out a way to get them there. Put this in writing, and include challenging responsibilities to drive their personal growth. Additionally, include clear milestones that allow the employee to see they are achieving their goals.
- Educate Employees – Education doesn’t stop when you leave school and start a career. Even more, the skills we learned in school might not be exactly applicable to where your career path is going. Any company can train their employees, but how many of you educate your employee beyond their job responsibilities? Spend time educating about soft skills and even topics that help employees grow as a person. Investing in employee education provides a path to connect with your workforce. It also shows you care.
- Provide Guidance to Employees – One of the best learning opportunities for employees come from their boss. Furthermore, bosses provide more than explicit knowledge; they also provide a great deal of tacit knowledge. Here’s the difference. Explicit knowledge is formalized and documented. Whereas, tacit knowledge is more situational based knowledge. This experienced based knowledge is hard to teach, but as a boss, you’re in the perfect place to teach this based on your past experiences by applying this knowledge to current situations. For more about knowledge sharing, check out this whitepaper.
- Be Flexible with Employees – Technology has changed the way we work. The good thing about this is that many professional jobs can be accomplished from nearly anywhere with an internet connection. Additionally, these roles are no longer working from to 8:00 to 5:00, Monday through Friday and some days are longer than others are. Value your employee’s time and recognize the need for positive work to personal life balance. This allows you to connect with employees through trust, and that you know they will manage their responsibilities.
- Honesty is the Best Policy – Honesty is a powerful personal characteristic to exemplify. In fact, honesty is a characteristic that most, if not all leadership guides list as a key characteristic of a good leader. The reason for this is employers that are honest build confidence and trust with employees.
- Always Remain Calm – Keep calm and connect with your employees. In other words, overreacting to stressful situations builds a wall between bosses and employees. By remaining calm and not screaming, employees find bosses more approachable and open minded.
Make It about the Employee
What this all boils down to is that employees want to be seen as people and to know that the company is invested into them. So in order to connect with employees, your goal should be to create a culture that empowers employees and shows you value them. After all, you want them to value the company as well.