Three Pillars of Building a Successful Team
Employee motivation and employee engagement are terms used liberally in HR and team building sales pitches- but do they really affect your bottom line? Are there real benefits for your business or is this just another marketing gimmick? Ovidiu-Iliuta Dobre (2013) writes that “there is a positive relationship between employee motivation and organisational effectiveness, reflected in numerous studies.” Employee satisfaction, motivation, and engagement are directly linked to how effective and efficient your business is. And a more effective and efficient business means a more successful business. Below we will take a look at 3 techniques to foster motivation in your team and set the foundation for a successful team.
Investing in your employees is critical to their sense of self-worth, as well as their technical skills. Investing in your team takes two forms. Firstly it is the technical aspect of the job, where additional mentorship or formal training can be a real benefit for their productivity. Helping employees to upskill, not only makes them better technicians at their roles but also gives them a sense of the company giving back to them and investing in them in ways other than their monthly salary.
The second aspect of employee investment is managerial mentorship and guidance. It is managers’ responsibility as leaders to guide their employees through both the ups and downs of their professional growth journeys. This takes the form of being actively engaged and receiving and giving open feedback at meetings as well as on the job.
Telling your employees when they have done good work or made significant improvement has an enormous impact on employee engagement. It is equally important to feedback when the job has had gaps or errors. Giving open, supportive, and constructive feedback to your employees when something has gone wrong is just important to their sense of wellbeing in the workplace. It is important for them to trust that while you won’t let poor performance slide, you will be fair and constructive, and allow them to learn positively from their mistakes. According to neuroscientist Paul Zak, a 10% increase in employee trust in leadership can have the same impact as a 36% increase in salary- the numbers are undeniable!
A lot of business leaders are reluctant to reveal anything to their teams. Managers often shy away from revealing planned changes, business, and market challenges, and even project costs. However, studies have shown that increased transparency often leads to stronger teamwork and focus. Management should commit to being open to responsibly answering questions, even the uncomfortable ones, no matter the seniority of the team member inquiring. When teams understand what is happening and why it is happening, there is a greater level of ownership and respect from them, and this has been shown to directly impact their level of engagement.
Give your Team Autonomy
People very often behave the way you treat them. If a manager micromanages and does not delegate effectively, employees often do not feel respected or trusted- and motivation and engagement fall, along with their output. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. As Ruth Mayhew writes “with constant oversight comes disengagement from the job itself; the employee’s job is no longer challenging or fulfilling. Employee disengagement manifests itself in a number of ways, including poor performance, reduced productivity, and low employee morale.”
When the scope is clearly defined and management is actively supportive, delegating can empower employees at all levels. Allowing employees to run their own projects, and to monitor and only step in to correct errors, or to add direction when the employee’s trajectory may cause material damage to the project, enables employees to feel ownership, learn from their mistakes, and empowers them. This sense of autonomy is shown to add to job satisfaction which in turn leads to a better outcome for your business.
Building employee engagement and motivation is about much more than bringing in cake on your birthday and funding a wild year-end office party. It is something that must be part of the company and management culture, a way of doing business, and not 3 isolated events in the year. Building a team that feels valued and respected requires work each and every day. And in turn, the payoff will be staff engagement and enthusiasm that will result in day to day increased output and quality performance. You get out what you put in, and people and employees are no different. Getting the ideal performance out of your staff is about much more than a fair salary, and the studies and literature support this premise completely. When people are genuinely respected, they want to contribute and want to be part of leading their company to success.