How to Empower Your Employees to Do Their Best Work

This article comes from Entrepreneur.

How to Empower Your Employees to Do Their Best Work

Implement these ideas to show employees that their work has value and meaning:

1. Hire wisely.

Kevin O’Neill, managing partner, and co-founder at executive search firm Acertitude sees hiring as a chance to nourish the core of a business. “Find people aligned with your mission,” he asserts. “This will make you and your team members more successful. There is a clear link between purpose and positive change.” His points are supported by a Harvard Business Review report showing that 84 percent of executives believe organizational transformation begins with purpose. Employees who get the purpose will do the work wholeheartedly.

Circling back to Patagonia, the company makes no bones about building teams made up of individuals who live its lifestyle. An NPR interview with founder Yvon Chouinard revealed the businessman’s philosophy: “When the surf comes up, you drop work and you go surfing.” Patagonia’s workers understand and tend to share, the passion of their leaders.

2. Outline expectations.

After finding the right people, explain what you expect. Ideally, you should give them freedom within communicated parameters to increase their likelihood of hitting targets. Regular check-ins should be scheduled upfront to avoid either confusion or a feeling of being micromanaged.

Ask employees what they need from you; it shows empathy and character. Research published in Harvard Business Review found that delegation can be perceived as empowering, but only if an employee trusts that a boss isn’t trying to avoid his or her own work. It’s especially important that the person believes these assignments aren’t merely busywork. Employees have to know your expectations, and you theirs, to really identify whether they’re doing work that’s valuable to the company.

3. Conduct internal PR.

Your employees are internal stakeholders who deserve to know why what they do matters. Go on a PR campaign to help them see how their day-to-day efforts affect other stakeholders. For instance, gather customer stories to share through video or written content. You may even want to bring thrilled clients in for Q&A meetings.

Another way to underscore the connection is by asking employees to go on sales visits or customer field trips. Being able to see their part within the whole can inspire workers to visualize their impact. Plus, they’ll probably share what they learned with colleagues. When employees believe their work has meaning, they’re inspired to do their best.

4. Give employees microphones.

Empower your people to say what’s on their mind. A Salesforce report revealed that employees who are given the opportunity to speak up are 4.6 times more apt to work at their A-game level.

Never presume that you’re already providing avenues for all workers to be heard. As diversity and inclusion specialists agree, some hires from underrepresented groups may be reluctant to express their thoughts until they feel safe. Create a culture where opinions matter and are taken seriously. Kara Goldin, founder and CEO of Hint, suggests that purpose and participation have a reciprocal relationship: “When people genuinely care about what they do, they’ll find a way to be heard.”

5. Unearth hidden talents.

Every employee brings unique skills to the table. The sooner you identify your team members’ strong points, the more valuable and confident they’ll feel. Gallup research found that 61 percent of employees who are encouraged to work within their strengths felt engaged.

Don’t simply assume that new hires know what they’re best suited to do. Many have never taken a formal strengths evaluation such as a CliftonStrengths assessment or TotalSDI (Strengths Deployment Inventory). As part of onboarding, consider having employees undergo such testing. Then, provide them with resources and responsibilities to build capabilities around their natural affinities. Make it your mission to help employees connect with their work. Your organization will hum at higher levels when everyone hits his or her own stride.

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