How to get the best out of your employees

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Strong leaders do more than just give executive style direction to their employees: they nurture talent and enable their staff to flourish individually. They understand their staff and play to their strengths to get the best out of them. While no two individuals or teams will work in exactly the same way, the following attributes go a long way to helping employers get the best out of their employees.

Prioritise progression

Across all levels, your staff should feel confident and motivated to progress beyond their current role should they aspire to do so. To enable this, it’s important that employers offer a variety of professional and personal training and development opportunities to support their employees to upskill. Encourage them to attend relevant seminars and webinars if they are offered by your organisation, but to also take the opportunity to source their own content to continue to build their knowledge within their field. There are many cost-effective resources available for those who seek them. Sometimes all you need to provide is reasonable time and space in order for them to access and benefit from this learning. Encouraging this self-development demonstrates your commitment to make their progression a priority.

Be positive and accessible

Your staff can’t thrive in a negative environment, so making sure you run a positive team is essential to get the best out of your employees. Remember that your attitude will reflect on those you work with, so your first step should be making yourself into a purposefully positive leader. Make time to seek out and invite constructive opinions and conversationm, but also talk at a personal level as well as about business matters.  Even small gestures like asking how someone's weekend, holiday or birthday was will help to create a positive, relaxed environment for your employees to work well in.

Maintain a sense of balance

An overworked team can’t sustain their motivation for a long time, and the quality of their work may be impacted as a result. Although your staff may have to work harder in times of high pressure, it’s important to give them a sense of balance. If possible, let them have overtime back or recognise key personal moments through formal or informal flexible working practices. These gestures balance out the long hours and stressful times and help maintain a sense of perspective, keeping your employees motivated and productive.

Recognise achievements

Recognising your employees' individual and collective achievements will ensure they keep striving to be their best. After all, people like to receive credit where it’s due. While recognition of good work might of course be as significant as a financial bonus, the scope for recognition can be much wider. It might take the form of an exciting new responsibility, a team lunch to celebrate success or just a few words of congratulations on a one-to-one or wider town hall basis. Recognition doesn’t have to be a huge gesture, as sometimes little things make the biggest impact.

Go beyond basic inclusivity

At a minimum, you should be transparent with your employees about your business objectives, successes and challenges. But getting more out of your staff means sharing more when it comes to including them in the wider context and purpose of the business. Try to get regular suggestions and feedback through diverse and inclusive team meetings and discussions, creating opportunities for your employees to openly speak up and share their contributions. If your employees feel their voice is being heard, they’ll take greater pride in their work and development.

Putting the above points into practise will benefit your team by enabling them to develop and be the best they can be at work. Getting the most out of your team also reflects positively on your ability and skills as a leader and of course ultimately benefits your wider organisation.

About Yvonne Smyth

Yvonne Smyth

Yvonne Smyth, Director of Hays Human Resources

Yvonne is the national specialism director for Hays Human Resources, the largest HR specialist recruiter in the UK. She is responsible for the HR national strategy within this high growth and pivotal specialism consisting of over 70 consultants across 45 locations.

Yvonne is also the Group Head of Diversity & Inclusion for Hays plc. She works closely with organisations and Hays specialist consultant teams to create and implement diverse recruitment strategies that effectively support and increase the representation of more diverse staff profiles and inclusive workplace cultures within their businesses.

In addition, Yvonne chairs Hays Leading Women, a fast growing and highly regarded membership group for experienced professional women from across the world of work and is a longstanding Board Member of British American Business, the leading transatlantic business organisation and chairs the UK operations of BAB’s Diversity and Inclusion Forum, The Stir.

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