Every company wants employees who earn their paychecks by cranking out work while focusing on satisfying customers. If that's not a daily reality in your office, your culture may be to blame. Take some tips from Carol Altieri, co-owner and COO of online pre-owned Rolex Exchange Bob's Watches. Here are several ways she says you can build an ethos of empowerment so your team members are primed to do their best work every day.
1. Make sure employees have the resources they need.
Do they have the technology and training necessary to do their best work? You can't expect to profit from employee efforts without investing in them first.
2. Give employees permission to make decisions on the spot.
Expecting employees to get permission from management for every little thing is a waste of precious time. You hired each of your team members for a reason. Trust them to do the right things. If you can't, you need to ask why they're working for your company.
3. Make sure people know what they need to know.
At Bob's Watches, Altieri arrives at work before employees to review what needs to be done for the day. Once employees walk in the door, she gives each of them notes including the information they need to work with particular customers. "It's a lot of work," she says, "but it keeps me--as an owner and manager--in touch with the customer as well as creating efficient, effective and knowledgeable employees."
4. Ask for employee opinions when making decisions.
This is the way to create an authentic team. "Nine times out of ten they will have it right if you--as manager--have provided them with the proper training," she says.
5. Find each employee's strengths and passions.
When you give people the opportunity to work on things they're good at, or particularly enjoy, they'll be engaged. These are the employees who are true assets in your organization. "I have one employee that loves ladies' cocktail watches, so when we get inquiries for ladies' cocktails--a model that was pretty dormant--this one employee is the point person," she says. "We have since created a strong market for ladies' cocktails."
6. Create a pleasurable environment.
It means hiring employees who mesh well with your current staff, and holding fun events, such as birthday celebrations or a bottle of wine at lunch. "[It can also be] something as simple as debating over office music," she says. "[You want] a positive environment and a comfortable workplace."
7. Let staff conduct new hire interviews.
They're best suited to gauge if a candidate will fit in, because not all personalities are right for every environment. Think about it--your staff can't possibly be productive if people are constantly bumping up against someone whose temperament or habits don't fit in with the rest of your organization. "We are a small, but rapidly growing office of 15 and work closely together," she says. "We want everyone to feel like a part of our team."