Here at Mòr, we have a great working relationship with one another and a good vibe in the office. We’ve tried to pinpoint the things we enjoy about working here to share the good feelings and help you get more out of your workforce. In no particular order (because they’re equally important), here are some of the things we do to Encourage, Empower and Engage our staff.
Move away from managing:
Trust that your staff know what they’re doing and let them do it. You’ve hired them for a reason, so stay out of their way and let them crack on. Obviously, if they’re an apprentice or an intern, they’ll need more direction, but even then, SOME autonomy is good. The more time people spend telling you what they’re working on, or explaining what they do with their day, the less time they have to actually get their work done and deliver on their projects.
We have a daily “stand-up” in the office (we Skype in if we’re working remotely). Standing up means we have more enthusiasm in the meeting but also means that we’re keen to wrap up quickly. We spend five minutes each talking about what we’ve got going on (and throwing ideas/suggestions around if we have them). Then we go about our days, independently and energetically. Check out 5 Ways We Keep Mòr Innovative for more on stand-ups if you’re interested. Once a week, we’ll have a more in-depth meeting but generally we all know what’s going on.
We’ve all had the boss that lives by the “Do as I say, not as I do” rule. They rock up late to the office every day, swan off home early, seem to spend most of their time “taking clients out” and generally never seem to do any work. Of course, the ONE time you need to leave early, it had better be because you’ve got a life-or-death appointment at the hospital that you DID try to schedule to take place in your private time. And woe betide you if you’re late back off your lunch hour. Remember how being in that situation made you feel? Why were you breaking your neck working flat out for someone who didn’t appreciate it and didn’t do the same?
Here at Mòr, it is recognised that we have private lives, we have appointments, we have families, we have other commitments. We promote remote working or flexi-hours to avoid rush-hour traffic or accommodate childcare arrangements. If I need to work from home, I work from home. If I need to come in late or leave early, I do so. When I’m feeling stale in the office, I go and work from a nearby cafe or restaurant (or bar, sometimes!)
The key thing is that I communicate what I’m up to with my boss. I’m allowed to use Mòr’s time to do what I need to do. And in return, I willingly work in my “free time” to make sure that I get done what I need to get done. This give-and-take demonstrates trust in the team and builds a relationship where everyone seems to work harder than ever but it’s effortless, because it’s convenient.
New people may feel like they don’t know the processes/systems/”right way to do things”. Existing staff members may feel like they could do their job with their eyes closed, and they don’t need to think about what they’re doing. Training your workers (formally, informally, online, in-house, sending them on courses, whatever!) is a fantastic way to keep them mentally alert and engaged with what they’re doing. They may learn something new or maybe discover a new way of doing something old. They could meet other people who do similar roles, or be exposed to different perspectives/ways of thinking. Invest in your people, and it WILL be repaid to you.
When someone has hit a target, or produced something they’re particularly proud of, let them know that you’ve noticed. Rewarding these things goes down well (whether they’ve won an extra day’s holiday, or a round of applause, or a pint at the pub) but it’s often JUST as important to just acknowledge the fact they’ve done a good job. Obviously, some people are private and don’t like having attention drawn to them, and for those people, a pat on the shoulder and a quiet word of thanks will do the trick. Take the time to get to know your team and treat them appropriately but DO let them know when they’ve done something right.
We’ve said that people don’t need to be managed in order to get them to do their job. But when they’re uncertain of how best to proceed with something, it’s vital that they know their manager is there to support and guide them. They could need someone to bounce ideas off, or help coming up with an actual solution – either way, be there for them and offer advice whilst allowing them the freedom to carry out resulting activities in their own way.
This is where our team meetings come in handy. Someone will say “I’ve got this going on, but I’m not sure about X” and even if no solutions are forthcoming from the team immediately, someone is bound to to think of something and mention it to the person in need of help. And if we don’t want to bring it up in a meeting or nothing suitable comes out of saying it there, we can raise it with our manager privately, knowing they’ve got our back.
Information flows both ways and workers will feel more engaged if they feel listened to. Ask for ideas/advice/support with projects, products, office atmosphere. Give them a chance to have an opinion and then take what they say on board.
Your staff know what they’re doing and more than likely know what they need in order to improve things. If you’re allowing them to be the experts in their field, you should be prepared to consult them as experts. At Mòr we feel confident to voice our thoughts at the daily or weekly meetings, as well as taking suggestions privately to individuals or management.
Have fun and balance life:
We want laughter in the office (when we’re in the office). We want team building activities, whether that’s lunch together, nights out, boardgames at a desk or being encouraged to go for a walk in pairs/groups in the afternoon to refresh ourselves. But we also want our own lives – it’s highly motivating to allow people to do things that are important to them. Whether that’s a member of staff who wants to go back to their home country for a week or two (of course, they can work from there if they choose), or someone who gets involved in charity work being allowed to have a day off to do that, without losing pay or holiday.
There are many ways to motivate your team to buy into your business and we’ve definitely not included the full list here. But we’ve picked out some of the main things that encourage, empower and engage us and keep us moving forward at work. Long story short, support your staff and you may be surprised to learn that they’ll go the extra mile(s) for you, in return.
What does your team do to keep people bouncing and motivated? Share your ideas and thoughts in the comments section below, and let’s get this party started!