Today's employees are far more than just cogs in a wheel. They're unique individuals with personal hopes, dreams, and plans as well as unique personality traits, and they want their managers to recognise their individuality. Changing out a 'one size fits all' approach to leadership and replacing it with a more targeted approach, means that managers can more effectively engage with their employees, learn about their unique skills, attributes and strengths and ultimately leverage these to the benefit of the employee and the organisation. Here are some tips on how to do that.
Strategy #1: Work With Employees to Set Goals
Recognise that your employees have different professional and personal goals and a unique approach to achieving them. Their timetable may differ, depending on what else is happening in their lives. As a manager, it's important that you not only communicate the organisational goals to your team, but that you also understand what is important for individuals - you are then in a position to support them to achieve these and hold them accountable when you need to.
Strategy #2: Allow Flexibility
Key talent today get to decide how, where and when they work, and when they don't find what they need, they vote with their feet. By allowing employees flexibility around work design options, whether it is working different hours, from a different location or being able to work across teams, smart managers understand the value of allowing their employees the flexibility to create schedules that work for them.
Strategy #3: Invest in Employee Development
Employees want the ability to learn, grow and acquire skills which will improve their ability to do their job as well as advance their future career opportunities. Savvy managers look for ways to invest in employee development: supporting continuing education ongoing opportunities for professional development.
Strategy #4: Ask for Feedback
How do you tap into your employees views? What makes your team unique in the way it operates? Using employee surveys to deepen your understanding of what your employees really need, means that you can easily adapt to the needs of your workforce, and stay on top of their needs before they become major issues. On a more positive note, it also means that you stay closer to customer feedback, which is essential to the future direction and growth of your business.
Strategy #5: Change up Rewards
Some employees are extrinsically motivated (external recognition, money etc.) - Others are more intrinsically motivated (knowing that they've made a difference). Take time to understand what motivates your employees and create a range of rewards that will be meaningful to the individuals in your team. Sometimes, all it takes is an e-mail letting them know they've done a great job and for others, they prefer that you keep the praise, and demonstrate your gratitude in hard dollars and cents.
Today's managers need to recognise that with the increasing diversity in the workforce, it is more important than ever to keep connected with their teams, in order to provide them with everything they need to succeed. By following these strategies, you can develop a one-size-fits-one approach to management which will ensure that you truly connect and engage with the individuals in your team and create a win win proposition for them and for your organisation.