Opinion: How to get the most out of your employees

Alla Keogh, MYOB's head of people and performance, provides her insights from the 'frontline' on how to maximise your interactions with employees.

Alla Keogh, MYOB's head of people and performance, provides her insights from the 'frontline' on how to maximise your interactions with employees.

We all know the drill. Wake up, go to work, come home, and do it again the next day. It’s easy to get lost in the mundane repetition of the ‘nine to five’ and using work as a filler between leaving home and coming home. But it doesn’t have to be. The work space should attract, engage and inspire your employees; a place to be understood, recognised and valued.
It’s no surprise that the more engaged employees are, the more productive and effective they will be in the workplace. However, for many business owners, time works against them and they are so focused on getting the job done that checking in with their teams often falls down the priority list. But, maintaining an engaged team will mean a more positive workplace, a more productive team, and more effective results.

Culture is king
Creating a strong culture should be at the core of your company values and behaviours. It’s the way your employees will work towards a common goal with a shared experience. You should “feel” culture when you step inside a workplace because it’s often evident in employee enthusiasm, attitudes and the space itself. With people spending more time at work than ever before, the workplace has to be a positive experience that is inspiring and authentic. And, thanks to social workplace websites like Glassdoor and LinkedIn, a company’s culture is now public information so if you don’t have a positive and strong employment brand, people will turn away quickly. Creating a positive and inspiring culture is one of the most important elements in ensuring employee satisfaction and engagement.

Recognise and reward
How to get the most out of your employees? Appreciate, recognise and reward! This seems like a no-brainer but so often gets forgotten about.  Rewarding your employees can be everything from verbal recognition, to employee perks, offering health and wellbeing services, and ongoing incentives. At MYOB, we have a number of inspiring reward and recognition programs, from six monthly whole-of-company recognition for those employees who live and breathe our values, to overseas trips for our sales guns, and peer recognition opportunities; reward and recognition is a core part of who we are. Recognising and rewarding is one of the best ways to make your team feel valued and appreciated.

Understand different personality types
Not every employee will think, feel, act and behave the same way and the sooner you realise that every individual is unique, the better your employee engagement becomes. Instead of thinking of your team as a single workforce, understand that diversity is GREAT, and all your employees have different needs, requirements and experiences. Each employee defines success differently, and wants to be recognised in different ways. Understanding this will help your employees reach their full potential in the workspace and feel valued.

Two-way one on ones
Your employees should feel safe and comfortable approaching management to discuss their ideas and concerns. Individual team meetings shouldn’t be a one-way communication channel, and employees must be open to voicing their opinions. By opening communication and building a culture where everyone is informed and has a voice, you’ll better understand your employees’ needs and worries. If an individual within the team is unhappy or dissatisfied, this may impact the overall team performance so it’s in everyone’s best interests to have a clear two-way communication channel so you can help them through their challenges.
Measure and Listen
Do you know what your employees are thinking? What’s important to them? What motivates and retains them? Do you take the time to ask for their feedback, listen, understand and respond? Let's face it, if you can't measure it you can't manage it, and if you can't manage it then how can you improve it? You don’t need a fancy software to collect feedback. You can use simple online surveys, social communities, focus groups, anecdotal feedback, two-way communication, and much more to spot concerns and trends early, and focuses your actions on the right things that retain and motivate the right people.

Don’t forget that your employees are the heart and soul of your business. They are your brand ambassadors and a living example of your company culture and ultimately your customers’ experience. By implementing a few key strategies into your management approach, your employees and your company's overall productivity can all benefit from a major boost.

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