As a small-business owner, you're sometimes tempted to control every detail of every project. Not only is that impossible, it makes for unhappy workers who feel second-guessed and stifled. In the end, you're unlikely to succeed without an environment of trust and a team of engaged employees. Here are four strategies for trust and employee engagement.
1. Make Goals and Processes Transparent
Let people know what's happening. And how. And why. If your employees are unclear about the status of a job, how their work is perceived, or what the future holds, their uneasiness will show in their job performance. Here are a few tactics you can use to share information and be more transparent.
- Share both positive and negative feedback.
- Show a growth chart and projections.
- Post the work schedule of subcontractors so employees can plan and prepare.
- Post project and task-completion date estimations.
2. Build in Some Predictability
As a contractor, there's not much uniformity to your days. Each job and each day are different from the next. Creating a sense of predictability will help your employees feel more secure and stable in their jobs. Here's what you can do to make a changeful calendar feel more comfortable for workers.
- Create a schedule with a set start and end time to each day.
- Begin each morning by reviewing the previous day's work and identifying what needs to be accomplished that day to stay on schedule.
- Have clear written policies for dealing with particular on-the-job issues.
- Work with the staff to develop and post a company philosophy.
3. Be Accountable
Accountability is tough to mandate. One way to encourage your employees to be accountable is to lead by example. Always act ethically — on and off the job. This will help your employees see you as a responsible co-worker and not just as "the boss." Other ways to demonstrate accountability are to always keep your word, follow through on promises, speak thoughtfully and provide clear assignments with achievable goals.
4. Give up Some Control
Delegation is essential to leadership, so resist the urge to micromanage. When assigning tasks to employees, provide clear goals, proper training and enough resources for them to succeed. Most importantly, give them the kind of autonomy that makes them feel invested in the project. Personal responsibility for outcomes boosts job satisfaction, confidence and commitment to the company.
When you model respect, empower your workers, and share decision-making, expect big results. By building trust and employee engagement, your business will profit.
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