10 Ways to More Effectively Connect with Your Employees

By: First Union


10 Ways to More Effectively Connect with Your Employees

Understanding your employees' needs and wants could mean the difference between keeping top talent and losing that same talent to greener pastures. For this reason, you must know how to effectively connect with the members of your team. Let them know you're behind them, let them know you're listening, and most importantly, let them know that their voices do matter. Below are ten ways that the world's top business leaders manage to create strong bonds with their personnel.

1. Make sure employees have a voice

We live in a world in which choice is everything. And this is no different when it comes to your employees. Overstock, for instance, has integrated mechanisms that allow its employees to have a say in what the company does. As far as their company philosophy goes, the crowd is at the helm; they make decisions and determine the company's priorities.

2. Take time to listen to employees

You can throw all the benefits you want at someone, but if they don't feel as though you're listening and hearing what they have to say, they will ultimately feel undervalued. It's just smart to open your ears, interact and engage your team members and hear what's going on within your own business. And yes, some of what employees have to say maybe critical, but that will only help make you stronger.

3. Empower your team

And how exactly do you empower your team members—you let them know that they are a priority; that their happiness and success is just as important as your own. Within your company culture, you need to cultivate this dynamic. Root for them, encourage them and make sure they understand that their workplace is a safe space in which they can follow their dreams and pursue their passions. It is also important to ask questions of your employees. They are more than just workers—they are a critical part of what makes your company run, and as such, what they have to say must be valued.

4. Encourage everyone toward their goals

Goal setting is important and not just as in, what are the goals for your company…People need their own goals. Your team members need motivation beyond just that which involves the business's success as a whole. And once they've established their goals, they need to be held accountable to them.

You want your office to represent an environment of encouragement and growth. You might even schedule one on one meetings in which you take the time to review your employee's goals; ask them to further define these objectives, and perhaps even work with them to make those goals even more ambitious, both personally and professionally. Consider yourself a coach—it's your job to get them across that finish line so that they are triumphant. This will help you forge a connection that extends beyond just the office.

5. Train them to quit

Yes, you need your employees to help you with the company's journey toward success. However, keep in mind most people do have their dreams—they have their ambitions, professionally speaking. Some CEOs foster this idea and create a program in which their employees are "trained to quit." They explain that the firm wants its team members to ultimately be able to realize their version of happiness. In this way, by helping employees work to achieving their dreams, the relationships that they do manage to build are among the strongest.

6. Don't lose sight of the day-to-day

One of the worst things you can do as a company owner is to remain aloof, absent from the daily operations of your business. If you stay up in that ivory tower all day, you will have no chance to effectively connect with your team—it's just not happening. Your job is to make employees feel valued; the best way to do this is to show up, be present. And especially if there are employees who exhibit signs of frustration or despair, reach out to them. Take the time to have a meaningful dialogue about what they can do to feel better about their job.

7. Remember, it's all personal

If you maintain your distance from those on your team, then this will be the defining dynamic in your relationship: distance and thus a tenuous connection. The adage that says: it's just business it's not personal, really is a thing of the past. More and more owners are interacting with their employees on a personal level. They open up their homes to employees, visit those who work for them. They create opportunities for easier conversations that then help to make those office-oriented conversations more open and productive.

8. Invest in important assets

And this doesn't just mean money. You as a company owner need to invest time and energy in your people—they, after all, are your biggest asset. So what does this look like…Talk to them, get to know your employees, ask about their families and most importantly, listen to and remember the things that they do tell you. A good leader is one who isn't afraid to roll up their sleeves and get right down in there with the team. This is the foundation for strong relationships and happy employees.

9. Let employees experiment…and sometimes fail

Employees have their ideas about what might work, what might help get your business to that next level. To a degree, you need to trust them to try and enact their plans. And yes, sometimes they may fail—their ideas may not work out according to how they envisioned. This is okay; in fact, if they do fail then this becomes a chance for you to work together to devise a solution and that partnership will result in a significant bonding moment. They have to feel safe enough to want to try and implement their ideas, and they also have to know that you have their backs even if those ideas don't always work out.

10. Lead by example

Perhaps there is no more sound advice than this when it comes to connecting with your employees. They want to know that when it's crunch time, you're there by their side. If they see you act one way, they are more prone to follow suit. This may mean carrying heavy materials or even taking out the garbage. Whatever it takes. If you do what you need to make your company productive, so will they.

If your business is in need of funding for training programs, hiring new staff, or employee retention plans, First Union Lending can help. We offer products from equipment financing to short term loans. We would love to discuss your options!

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