An invaluable lesson every successful leader learns is that a company's workforce can be its most valuable asset. While recruiting the best candidates and offering competitive compensation unquestionably helps, the onus to make sure everyone is performing at 100% falls on leadership. During my time at Dotcom Distribution I have discovered five proven methods to keep employees motivated and engaged. Find them below.
Give Employees a Voice (and Listen)
Part of creating and sustaining a positive workplace involves knowing specifically what your employees seek, so you can better optimize your approach to meet their needs and keep them happy. While facilitating internal dialog between CEOs and employees may have been a challenge in the past, technology, such as employee feedback programs, has emerged to simplify this invaluable process. At Dotcom, we have "feedback lunches" where I met with employees and they have a safe place to air feedback.
Giving a voice to team members and encouraging productive internal thought sharing can encourage them to speak more highly of your company externally, bolstering a more favorable image to potential recruits and consumers alike. In the words of Mike Gaumer, President of Vineyard Vines - a Dotcom Hall of Fame Client - "The team is the most important part of what we do every day. If they're not engaged and excited about where we're going and what we're doing, then there's no way that we're going to be able to convince a customer that what we're doing is exciting and fun."
Recognize and Reward
Similar to how two-way communication engages employees, recognition can prove how much you value their hard work. The prospect of receiving something extra for work well done may further incentivize team members to go above and beyond. At Dotcom, we like to spotlight employees who are displaying our core company values or who have helped us complete company Rocks. This helps demonstrate that performances and personal achievements are noticed. Extending congratulations to an employee who welcomes a baby into his or her family or buys a new home can go a long way in showing that they are truly appreciated, too.
Clearly Articulate The Company Vision
Would you feel comfortable or interested in getting into a car with a driver who had no idea how to get to your destination? Probably not. The same principle applies to employees' perceptions of, and confidence in their employer. Exceptional leaders have a clear direction of where they plan to take their business and communicate to their team how they intend to accomplish this.
For example, James Rhee, CEO of Ashley Stewart - another Dotcom client - believes his job is to ensure the company is seen as its customers' best friend. As such, Rhee, as CEO, must be their number one advocate. Through this, his vision is for people to believe that Ashley Stewart knows its customer better than anybody, making the brand more beloved by their fans than any other in business.
At Dotcom - we try to instill in our team members the company purpose to guide emerging brands.
Set an Example
A good leader sets the example, which means you must be the person you want your employees to be. The specifics will, of course, vary by business, person and position, but certain qualities permeate all industries, such as accountability. A great example of this comes from Lisa Price, CEO of Carol's Daughter, a Dotcom graduate. She acknowledged that one of her biggest obstacles is managing how she reacts to external factors. She found that focusing on fears and concerns were manifesting in negative ways. Price credits her understanding and acceptance of this with her ability to focus on bettering herself to ensure the success of her company. She imparts to others the wisdom that you are in control of your actions and reactions, and it's important to find a healthy balance to harness that. Where the goal is for employees to model their behaviors around their leaders, those leaders need to make sure this behavior reflects their ideal worker.
Help Team Members Grow
It's helpful to remember that your employees are stakeholders in your business; your success depends on theirs. Act as a mentor to provide career support, and establish goals and plans to help them develop their skill sets, so they are armed with more ways to help the company as a whole. Properly delegating tasks gives your team members the opportunities to take on more responsibilities that leverage their skills and interests. As they climb the ladder, your business will improve.
Take a look around--your best investment is the one you make on your team.