Every business depends on fresh ideas and innovation to grow. Where does innovation come from, if not a team of dedicated, trusted employees? But trust and dedication aren’t built into the workplace. These qualities must be earned by every employer, and that’s only possible by building authentic relationships with the people who comprise your team.
To spur innovation, a business must foster a healthy, positive culture. In such cultures employees thrive, which in turn enables a business to thrive.
Here are steps you can take to build authentic employee relationships, and benefit from their unique insights and perspectives.
Be a leader who’s fair, honest and “present.”
Fairness is an essential element of a trusting relationship. Employees need to know that, regardless of your personal feelings about any given individual, you always strive to treat everyone fairly and equally.
Honesty is another key factor in authentic relationships. When you make a decision or commit to an action, be clear in explaining why such actions are needed. Follow through on every promise you make. Establish a reputation of walking the walk and talking the talk.
Also, in every interaction, be present. When you’re in a conversation with an employee, don’t scroll through your email or allow yourself to be distracted. Nothing is more important than communication, and that’s possible only if you’re actively engaged with the other person in the room — or addressing a roomful of employees.
Offer feedback and invite feedback from your team.
People want to contribute, but they may not always know how to go about it. Focused, constructive feedback gives employees the tools they need to become better at their jobs. It also establishes a relationship in which they feel free to offer ideas that can lead to innovations in product research and development.
At the same time, invite the team to provide feedback on how the business is run. In many cases, employees with first-hand customer experience may be positioned to offer unexpected suggestions on improving customer service, which translates into greater customer loyalty to your products or services.
Ask employees what they need to become better at what they do.
All too often employees feel challenged by aspects of their jobs, but don’t have anyone to call for help. They don’t want to draw negative attention to themselves, even when they’re stymied by a bureaucratic obstacle or some other challenge.
Only by continuously asking employees how you can support their efforts can these obstacles be overcome. Take time to have one-on-one interactions with team members. Seek opportunities for substantial group discussions, revolving around a particular operational issue or opportunity.
When employees understand you’ve got their back, there’s really no limit on how much they can contribute to the business.
How Whitman Associates Can Help
Whitman Associates offers a wide range of permanent, temporary and temp-to-hire office support personnel. With staffing options designed to fit each business’s specialized needs, we can “fast-track” your personnel needs and provide individuals — on a temporary or permanent basis — who are eager and ready to start work today. These individuals possess the talent and experience you need to create a thriving, innovative work environment.