Any good business leader knows that your enterprise is as strong as your workforce. Companies that employ excellent employees perform better, have happier customers and are more profitable. This is especially true in a world where we seem to produce fewer physical products, and the business centers around a service you offer your clients. This is why it’s so important to find and attract great people or, even better, grow, and nurture excellent employees.
And that’s easier said than done. Traditional companies would look at people as a resource (hence the word Human Resource), which reduces people to a set of numbers (hours available and cost).
And expressing the value of people as a formula of benefit and cost won’t get you the best out of people. Here are a few ways which do get the most out of people.
Allow people you work with to set their own path. Although we would like to think that the employer is the most important thing in an employee’s life, it’s simply not. Sure, people can be committed, but their life has many very important aspects (and rightfully so) outside of work. If work fits around that, great! If not, then there will be this dissonance that will come at loggerheads at one point.
You, as an employer, are just a part of the journey of your employee and not the whole journey itself. Respecting that and engaging employees in a transparent and honest conversation about where they want to go will help both parties.
A major motivational factor for employees is being empowered in their job. Too many times, you will hear anecdotal evidence that employees have great ideas, but hierarchy and red tape prevents them from bringing these ideas to the fore and acting upon it. There is plenty of theory around how to stimulate communication from bottom to top, but in reality, it stays theory mostly. The best way to get innovation from every corner of the company is to empower people.
This could be simply empowerment to make day to day decisions or allow people to control petty cash and decisions therein. If you have representatives traveling the globe, it helps to get them virtual payment cards they can use without being out of pocket themselves.
Failure Is An Option
And the most important factor in nurturing your workforce is to grow a culture of positive growth. Too often, we end up in a company culture where it’s always expected to go right all the time, and we focus on when we don’t win new business or people make mistakes. Whole HR processes are built around how we deal with employees that don’t perform 100%. This creates a culture where people are afraid of making mistakes, which will encourage people not to try something new or improve things.
Only in a culture where people feel safe to make mistakes will you find true innovations.
The key is to learn from mistakes, take time to celebrate innovation and reassure people that the road to success isn’t a straight line. It’s an eventful journey you want to take alongside your employees, and you will be there regardless of failure or success.