With company growth, people expect opportunity. In addition to opportunity, people crave recognition. Recognition often comes in the form of a promotion, or a Starbucks gift card 🙄. Not everyone is ready for a promotion, and the company org chart can’t always change because someone is.
But what do growing employees really want? They want to be seen and heard. Recognize hard work and dedication by investing in their development and leadership skills.
Here are five ways to keep employees feeling appreciated, engaged, and powerful:
- Job crafting - a theory dating back to the 70s, gives people the autonomy to craft certain aspects of their jobs to be more in line with the work that matters most to them. In Adam Grant’s Give and Take, he suggests giving employees the freedom to discover small opportunities for change that add creativity, meaning, and purpose to their roles. For example, if a Project Manager really loves being involved in the budgeting process and wants more CEO face time, encourage him to create and present the weekly budget reports.
- Uncover a greater purpose. Sure we all have roles, responsibilities and titles (and now the ability to craft certain aspects of our job), but why does this all matter? How is any of this relevant if we don’t understand how our role fits into the big picture? The “Purpose Canvas” can help us. Run a session with your team to help them uncover their own unique purpose. Not just what their role’s purpose is, but what they as individuals can contribute to the company.
- Help them understand each other. When it comes to management and leadership skills you have to start somewhere. Step one: Manage yourself. Step two: Manage your relationships. The key to good, productive collaboration is open communication and trust. One way to foster both is understanding the social styles of your coworkers. Just because you prefer telling an expressive 30 minute picturesque narrative as to why your company should ditch annual performance reviews, doesn't mean your analytically minded boss does. She's probably looking for three main bullet points on why, how, and how much. Learning to adapt to the social styles of your coworkers is imperative to making your ideas a reality and gaining trust and confidence.
- Show them how they contribute (OKRs). As soon as your company or team has some measurable targets (even ones subject to major changes) get them in the form of OKRs. Adapting 20 or 30 people to the OKR process early on will save so many future headaches (not to mention the resistance that comes with). This will make it a baked-in process everyone’s used to, and you won't need to waste time on a change management strategy down the line. Not sure where to start? Christina Wodtke has an incredibly useful and practical guide on introducing OKRs to any company.
- Give people the power to make decisions. Leaving decision making only for management is a quick way to 1. Not make the best decisions and 2. Actively disengage your workforce. Not everyone has equal power, but everyone should feel powerful. Try out the advice process from Frederick Laloux. Empower your employees to make decisions and seek advice from key players who will be influenced by that decision. Remember: consent over consensus. As long as no one says "No way!" give your employee the freedom and autonomy to follow through with their decision. Let them learn from the experience. Not only does this alleviate a bottleneck from management, but it tells employees their ideas are valued and gives them the opportunity to be involved in company decisions.