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Employees - not just cogs in the machine

25th Jan 2019
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With the new year already well underway, you should already have a good idea of your plans for the year for your workforce. If you don’t, I highly recommend that you make a start.

But, what makes a successful workforce?

Of course, you’ll have overarching targets, strategies and methods, but, a lot of the time these are considered, by your employees, to be part of the day-to-day grind. They don’t stand out.

While this could be considered truth, there are some simple ways in which you can stand out amongst other companies in your sector or field, and, more importantly, to your employees.

Below we’ll look at a few methods that you can create a successful employee strategy, and get the very best out of your workforce.

Share company goals with them

A mentioned above, you’ll likely have all the standard procedures and methods in place already, such as regular performance reviews, HR update emails etc. And this is all great – you need to be implementing and actioning these things.

But, as we’ve already alluded to, these can often feel like just another part of corporate strategy. These practices are by-the-book practices that only take place because they are part of the book. And your workers feel like, as the title says, just another cog in the machine. They don’t feel any better off because of them.

However, if you shared the company goals and targets with them, they might feel more included. If you bring your workforce into the loop on things like short and long term goals; corporate strategy; or anything that is part of what makes the company tick, they will become a part of it.

Through inclusion, your employees will feel more wanted and more needed. Their desire to help the company achieve its goals will improve, as well as their own targets and goals.

Provide creative incentives

Most, or at least some companies, will again be following the standard blueprint for employee incentives. Yearly wage rises; more holiday days the longer you are an employee etc. And, again, this is fantastic, these are true incentives. But, like what we’ve already talked about, they can, unfortunately, fall under the ‘standard’ banner and will not get the appreciation they probably deserve.

So, how do you stand out and be counted when it comes to incentives?

One of the best methods to go down is the ‘social’ aspect. You will be forgiven if you forget that your employees are likely friends outside of work, too. But, this is a good thing and something to use for your incentives.

Things like theme parties in your office, or even just weekly drinks on a Friday as a reward for a good week. Day trips and team building experiences are also a lot of fun, and can also be rewarding to both the employee and the employer. Office pets are another ‘out-of-the-box’ idea that many companies have adopted, figuratively and literally.

Whichever way you choose to reward your employees, and keep them incentivised is up to you. Always remember that creative perks improve morale and retention, which is certainly something that should be high up on your list.

Talk to them

We’ve already discussed having regular performance review meetings, or one-to-ones, which are a pivotal part of any HR strategy. But, a pivotal part of an HR strategy that is often underutilised or misused.

Many HR managers, line managers, supervisors etc. will use this time to check in on targets, to make sure that their employees are meeting their goals and hitting the numbers. These actions are fine. But, it’s not the sole activity that should take place in these meetings.

You need to talk to your employees. Even if they are hitting their targets with ease, this doesn’t mean that they are doing well.

In the UK, it’s thought that as many as one in eight workers are suffering from stress in the workplace, and it is affecting their health. And even if they are suffering, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re going to show it.

The new year and winter time are especially prone to people suffering from seasonal affective disorder, and it’s also something that might be prominent unless you actually talk about it with your employees.

So, that is the key here. You need to make these standard one-to-one times count. It doesn’t mean that you have to force a confession out of them, not by a long shot. But, just by letting your employees know that you can have these kinds of conversations might help them open up more. And, if there are any underlying issues, then it will be easier to help them.

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