What really drives your team

One of the constant challenges every employer has revolves around keeping their team engaged and on task. It’s a delicate balancing act that plays out alongside the everyday realities of business. Pushing harder will not necessarily make the machine work better or faster. But if there is one truth, it is that when employees are happy – then productivity trends up. So that’s the outcome we all hunt.

How do we keep people fizzing about what they do?

There are no absolute solutions around building a culture of engagement with the team. Most likely, many little things need to be gelling at the same time. Strong leaders can sense when areas of their business are off-kilter. Sniffing out things like declining productivity can stem from a multitude of factors. The trick is being able to identify these factors, and to raise and deal with them – in a positive way.

Here are a couple of ways to make the team happy

It’s not always about the bangers and mash! We like Michael Bush’s insights on what makes employees happy. According to Bush, there are three main themes that emerge as front runners in the area of employee satisfaction.

1.  Trust and respect
Reduce the road blocks and empower employees to make decisions. Then trust them to have the business’ best interest at heart. Give them a mandate and make it ownable.

2.  Fairness
Treat all employees the same, regardless of their age, experience or gender. Trying to avoid the development of cliques and splinter groups is important.

3.  Listen
Employees sense whether you’re actively listening or not. Listening is about searching for the best result. If you listen to a team member regularly and build better communications, you reduce distance and bring them along for the ride. Bruce Cotterill called his recent book ‘The Best Leaders Don’t Shout’. In fact, they listen and then they activate with the team. 

Although great things to ponder and implement as part of the overall strategy, there are some low hanging fruit that your leadership team can implement right away that will help you on your way to happier employees.

Although perks might get some employees through the door, keeping employees happy in the long term is not about the on-site gym, free lunches or impressive, self-help coffee machines. Companies with happy employees typically have three times the revenue and half the employee turnover rate. Any NZ business that could get a ROI with these kinds of measures would jump at it.

It’s true that an employee who finds their place in an organisation that is supportive and fair will more likely be successful. The more challenging part to this is to ensure that the leadership has the capability and soft skills to deliver in these areas.

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