Creating relationships with employees at all levels, not just peers or your direct reports is important and encourages an openness to your company. Being able to show your employees that you are approachable and that you listen will encourage them to stay with your company. While there are a variety of ways this can be done, the most important thing to remember is that everyone is human and can create value for you and your company.
Ways to Connect With Your Employees:
- Create a fun environment.
Rather than having a round table, have a company potluck or BBQ to kick off the summer. Mix and mingle with employees at all levels.
- Take advantage of social media and technology.
Create a LinkedIn profile and engage with your team members. Don’t just share company posts, celebrate when a team member gets a promotion or does something extraordinary. This will show you are approachable.
- Implement a “Town Council” or “Town Hall”.
Having a diverse (department, position, etc.) set of representatives would allow for more informed decisions and long-term company planning and success.
- Know how your company works.
Spend time on the “floor” and understand the specifics behind your company. Whether that’s spending a day on the factory floor packing boxes, or learning how to code, this will show that you encourage knowledge sharing.
- Invest in small gestures.
This could be as simple as keeping your door open, having “office hours” for your employees to come and talk to you, or having a random raffle or giveaway.
Mistakes to Avoid:
- Focusing on the numbers.
While focusing on the numbers and the bottom line of your company is vital for success, communication with employees to understand why numbers aren’t being met is the most important. There are many reasons why these may not be met, like faulty equipment, that are not related to the employee.
- Lacking leadership recognition.
Appreciate employees individually. Recognize good workers and their work will be repeated.
- Not encouraging employee voices.
If your HR department has surveys about employee happiness, take the time to read the results and address the issues directly with the employees to form a solution.
- Generic employee rewards.
Rewards systems are often overlooked as each employee has different preferences. Rather than giving out a t-shirt or a backpack to every employee, let them fill out a survey to select the item they most want.
- Overlooking the health and wellness of employees.
Encouraging your employees to take care of themselves and providing resources to avoid burnout is vital for your team.
For more insight into best leadership practices and building innovative, productive teams, check out our other blogs and the Innovation Junkies Podcast!