Nothing Soft About Cold, Hard Cash

To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace.
— Doug Conant, CEO of Campbell's Soup

For companies looking for ways to boost their financial health, studies suggest that focusing on employee happiness, often referred to as employee engagement, is essential. Although the idea of employee “happiness” may be seen in the corporate world as fluffy or soft, you cannot argue the connection studies have found between employee engagement and a company’s profit margin.  Here are 8 tips to get you started:

  1. Paint a vision of the future that excites employees and connects to what’s important to them.

  2. Tell employees how they are making a difference and adding value for your customers, community, culture, company and team.

  3. Each person is motivated differently. Take the time to understand what inspires them and how they are driven.   

  4. Help employees create goals towards their career development plans. Then meet with them regularly to discuss their progress and help eliminate any hurdles they are experiencing.

  5. Appreciate and recognize employees in big and small ways throughout the year that aligns to what’s important to them.

  6. Practice flexibility in your approach and communication style to best meet the needs of their employee.

  7. Provide opportunities for employees to learn and challenge themselves in a way that is exciting to them (ex. participate in a cross functional team, pioneer a new project, lead a meeting, attend specialized training, be a mentor/coach)

  8. Engage in activities that focus on building team trust and unity such as communicating candidly about problems. Be flexible in your communication style to meet the needs of the employee.

Employee engagement is not something that companies can afford to ignore, since so many studies back up the idea that engaged employees result in profits. Companies today need to learn the drivers of employee engagement and happiness in order to enjoy increased profit margins. There is nothing soft about cold, hard cash. 

Employees which believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person - not just an employee - are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability
— Anne M Mulcahy, American Business Woman

7 Tips for the Newly Promoted

If you change your thinking you will change your life.
— Annette Matthies

In my work as a consultant, I have found numerous companies who have promoted their best and brightest. The problem is that those high potentials, while once capable individual contributors, do not possess basic managerial skillsets to lead and mentor teams into the future.  They become disengaging to their teams and struggle to achieve team goals. Here are 7 tips for newly promoted managers to become more effective at leading:

  1. Figure out your management style-Become self-aware of your strengths and opportunities for growth and put a development plan in place for yourself.

  2. Learn to delegate-Giving up control of a project may feel scary.  When you learn to delegate effectively you will foster a sense of ownership and trust which will results in higher employee engagement.

  3. Relationships and results matter. Becoming a manager means that you now need to accomplish your goals through others.  Don’t trade relationships for results.  Focusing on your team and maintaining strong relationships will help forge a path for better results.

  4. Understand your expectations- Many leaders have a set idea of what they are looking for with their team results.  If you have expectations be sure to clearly communicate this up front to help avoid frustration and disengagement.  

  5. Focus on what not how-When you assign goals, be sure to look at what the outcome needs to look and feel like and avoid telling how the work needs to be done. 

  6. Find a mentor- Someone who has walked the walk before you and can help you avoid the potholes and guide you to the easy path.

  7. Get some training-Over and over I have found that newly promoted managers do not come into the role with any managerial training.  They have been good individual contributors that have been promoted.  Get some training on basic skills like:  how to have a difficult conversation, giving feedback, holding others accountable, developing your direct reports, managing through change, effective coaching skills, etc