Your role as a workplace leader has undoubtedly expanded over the past several years. Not only do you need to make sure the heating works and spaces are being used efficiently, you’re also in charge of ensuring your workforce has what they need to be productive. And while having meaningful conversations with your employees is one slice of the management pie, a bigger vision for stronger employee connections should be baking in the oven.
Why is creating strong connections important? The short answer is good relationships keep employees engaged with your company. In a 2015 survey from Virgin Pulse, almost 60 percent of the more than 1,000 full-time employees said their relationship with their employer positively impacts their focus or productivity at work, proving the manager/employee relationship is key.
How can you develop a bond with your workforce? We have four ideas that should be the main ingredients in every workplace leader’s management strategy.
Encourage Individual Strengths
In the millennial age of employment, individual expression is everything. But encouraging individuality is more than a lax dress code or letting employees sit on an exercise ball at their desk; it’s about embracing the spectrum of employees’ strengths.
Gallup research has shown employees were more engaged when supervisors took a strengths-based approach to management. Their data also demonstrated “simply learning their strengths makes employees 7.8 percent more productive and teams that focus on strengths every day have 12.5 percent greater productivity.”
Pro Tip: Check out Forbes’ ABCDs of strength-based leadership for ways to adapt this management style.
Give Employees a Purpose
Believing your employees are simply working for a paycheck is a common mindset that can jeopardize a company’s survival. Instead of a job, give your employees a purpose.
When workplace leaders take time to explain how an employee’s role fits into the greater company goals, it allows team members to see they aren’t just a cog in the wheel. Roberta Matuson, author of Talent Magnetism, advocates for implementing a sense of purpose starting from the job description:
“[There are]...many benefits of exchanging job descriptions for results descriptions...By describing what the person in a particular role is expected to accomplish (results), you provide them with the outcome you expect. They then have the freedom to achieve the results as they see fit. They also have a better sense of purpose.”
Being authentic and transparent shows who you truly are as a person and is part of quality leadership. As Glenn Llopis writes in Forbes, “Being authentic is about consistently representing who you are and what you stand for -- in everything you do and how you do it.” That doesn’t sound dissimilar to the expectations you would have for your employees.
However, “Authenticity is not a license to be excessively focused on the self,” as Brooke Vuckovic states in Kellogg Insight. “It’s about being aligned with your character and values in order to lead effectively.” Representing your true self through leadership will not only prove you can walk the walk—it will inspire your employees to walk with you.
Create a Visible Future
Get employees to think beyond the day-to-day by showing them a vision for the future. When employees see the potential results of their efforts, they become more motivated to ensure the success of the company.
The glass manufacturer Corning Inc. did this through an innovative series of videos called, “A Day Made of Glass” which used mini narratives to show how Corning’s employees played in a direct part on the lives of their customers and the success of the company.
Even if you can’t produce a high-quality video series, making your company’s prospects visible gives your employees a future to aim for.
What makes these ideas even more powerful is taking your own personal approach to applying them. Develop strong relationships with your employees and you’ll create connections that last.
To create an empowered workforce, you must look beyond employee satisfaction and employee engagement to the employee experience. Discover how to improve prove your commitment to your employees with our free eBook, Elevating the Employee Experience: 7 Challenges Every Company Must Tackle.