8 Ways to Engage People Better

Great people management comes through experience. Courses will teach you all of the theory, but there is no substitute for day ­to­ day managing staff within your business.

Giving yourself a head start with a common­ sense approach and a healthy respect for everyone you come into contact with can help to develop a happy and productive workforce.

We were fortunate enough as a practice to be part of a 2,000 + crowd at Xerocon 2017 in London recently, where amongst the many amazing keynote speakers, one session that stood out for us was by Tim Lebrecht a published author, consultant, entrepreneur and TED speaker.

Tim’s keynote focused on that in the age of technology, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning with uncertainty and scepticism around how ‘bots’ and machine learning will transform the workplace in the coming years; humans have a more important role – that of connection and emotion with each other.

During his keynote address, Tim compared the top 10 essential skills for employees to have in 2015, compared to the estimation for 2020, and the results were surprising, with skills such as critical thinking, creativity and emotional intelligence ranking higher in desirability. We see this ourselves in our practice and in our recruitment plans. Are technical skills a given in today’s age, the minimum table stake if you like. What are the skills that you look for in employees and how do they compare to those in the image below?

This got us thinking about how we can better connect and engage with staff, empower them more and help them reach their true potential – these are just some of the ideas we came up with here at Valued.

1. Don’t micro­manage! You hired your employees because they could do the job, so let them do it. Give clear instructions, recourse to ask for advice when it’s needed, and praise for the work they do.

2. Take time to get to know your staff. Understand they have lives outside work and that personal and domestic issues can’t always be left at the workplace doors.

“Create intimacy and embrace the other” – Tim Leberecht

3. Don’t ask staff to undertake tasks you wouldn’t do yourself, or to take risks you wouldn’t take.

4. Listen to suggestions. Ideas often come from people undertaking tasks on a daily basis. Give these ideas careful consideration, and reward staff when their ideas generate business, save money or increase productivity. Sing their praises at every opportunity.

5. Put the right teams together. A good team is more than the sum of its parts. Keep an eye open for signs of tension and disagreement in teams, especially if one team member looks constantly unhappy.

6. Cultivate an atmosphere of openness, not fear. If staff feel they can come to you, they are more likely to broach issues early, rather than covering them up and hoping for the best.

“Emotion is the number-one factor in determining loyalty- far more important than the ease of effectiveness of interactions” – Forrester

7. Give your staff chances to develop and progress. Your retention levels will be better if staff feel they are learning and growing in a job with good prospects of career development. Did you know data suggests that only 13% of employees are fully engaged at work?

8. Be approachable, but stay professional. You are a manager, not a friend. Be clear where the lines are drawn.

A good manager can make or break a business. Review and hone your people skills as an ongoing process. Don’t expect miracles from your employees or yourself. They are only human ­and so are you.

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” – Maya Angelou

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