Teams that operate without confidence operate from a place of fear – fear to try new technologies, fear to report problems, fear to share ideas or observations.
This leads to a culture of stagnation, blame, exclusion “need-to-know mentality,” and lost productivity, among other negatives. Quality and quantity of output almost always suffer.
By contrast, teams that operate with confidence are characterized by a variety of positive traits, which may vary depending on the culture and context and business needs – high rate of innovation, smooth change management, reduced error rates, collaborative and supportive environments, calculated risk-taking, and swift response to unforeseen circumstances.
Confident teams are agile, friendly and provide great customer service.
Put in simple terms, the way a person feels about his or her work determines how engaged or disengaged they are – and being confident about one’s performance on the job is a key indicator of overall employee satisfaction.
Below are some reasons that employees in general – especially high-performing employees on which companies heavily rely – either stay highly engaged and motivated, or completely disengage.
The Importance of Strong, Positive Leadership
It is easy to forget sometimes that employees are human beings, often trying to do their best to balance the commitments of their lives. Employees disengage at high rates when they do not feel like the work they do is important, especially in the younger generations. This may be a result of any of a number of core issues; most often related to issues with process and management.
They may be micromanaged. Their core values may not be aligned with the company mission. The cumbersome processes they navigate on a daily basis may make a saint curse. They may not realize how their contributions support others. They may be in the wrong position for their talents. They may not be the right person for the job. They may not have the training they need to operate at optimal performance. They may have something else on their mind.
In general, an employee will re-engage if he or she receives recognition and praise at least twice a month for what they bring to the team – better if more often, best if related to specific achievements and given publicly.
How Tech Tools Can Help
One way to keep employees motivated is to clear all the small-minded administrivia off their plates.
Employees want to function at a high level and think creatively. Freeing them up motivates them. One way to do this is to implement automation tools to make their lives easier and eat up a lot of the busy work.
Automated management software can take over a lot of these tasks, like scheduling and reporting. Other tools are more specific. Some focus on marketing outreach, others focus on invoicing, some focus on data backup, and on and on.
Software can make it easy for managers to track employee advances and contributions for recognition. Teams can use it to improve outdated business processes and update vital information systems.
Attainment of goals and department contributions can be visually shared on a weekly basis. Latent talents can be uncovered. Employees that are the wrong fit can be identified early on and transferred. Employee training can be managed. Management problems can be identified. These are all positives.
Let Employees Know You Value Them
Getting high-performing individual employees and teams to remain engaged and fully support the company objectives involves showing them that their contributions are valued.
Take time to recognize them in the company newsletter for going above and beyond. Provide incentives. Provide the recognition listed above. However, most importantly, take the time to arrange their workload so that almost every day they get the chance to work on what they do best – and reduce the amount of non-value-added tasks they have to perform.
Consider the employee’s education level, training, and ability. Are you making a highly skilled employee spend more than 50% of their time on tasks that a high school student could do? If so, you are both woefully losing out.
If you are asking a person with a master’s degree in economics to scrub floors and spend all of time on data entry, do not expect them to wait long before looking for another job. The work that your employees do should reflect the real potential that they bring to the corporation.
One of the biggest hurdles to reaching the magic “80%” mark – where 80% of the time, an employee is confidently working in his or her area of added-value. Streamlining your business processes, and automating and updating your processes and systems, can free up valuable time where a good employee can better be contributing his analysis, her business acumen, their overhaul of your customer service program.
Instead of spending two hours a day on reports, they can spend two hours a day brainstorming next year’s product line. A great way to build more efficiency into your company and processes is to optimize the use of good business process management software platforms, which simplify complex interactions and reduce duplication of effort.
They can also handle things like electronic signatures, simultaneous review, and system upgrades. Clear expectations and goals and targets are also easy to create and communicate with the platforms offered by a number of software firms.
Think About What They Need
The number one reason that employees disengage is that they not understand, clearly what is required of them. Only slightly behind is not having the tools they need to effectively, efficiently, and/ or responsibly do the work that is asked. The best employee in the world cannot do a job that requires a database if he or she does not have a well-designed, responsive database that creates the type of report they need to provide.
The best thing you can do for your employees in this regard is understand the work they do, and respond adequately to their stated needs. Improve workflow processes and systems, and teach employees how to optimize their use. You can incorporate the use of software packages to proactively anticipate demand, examine inefficiencies, and test the performance of proposed solutions.
Include employee feedback in the design, implementation, testing, and operational feedback of systems and processes- and use software to track and analyze this feedback.
Understand Who They Are
Many employers mistakenly think that pay and benefits are all that employees care about. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. You need to create the type of environment where the type of employee you want, actually wants to work.
Think about the needs of your employees as individuals. Know who is an introvert. Know who is best motivated by teamwork. Know what intrinsically motivates your employees – pleasure, pleasantness, and sense of security? Power, importance and influence? Being an outstanding contributor? Opportunities to learn and grow? Specific guidance on every task, or do need to figure it out themselves? Do they a 9-5 schedule, or will they be best suited by a flexible schedule?
Apart the above-mentioned focusing them on their best field of work expertise, also know what motivations and conditions encourage them do their best work. Try to work those things into their work to the extent possible, and also use your software platforms to encourage collaboration of complementary work styles and strengths.
Focus on Personal Growth, Relationships and Collaboration
Employees often feel isolated and insecure when they are not encouraged to create professional friendships at work. To build confidence in your team, encourage professional networking, collaboration and friendship building within your team.
Encourage team-building, not just once a year, but at regular intervals. Let employees train each other. Celebrate each month’s birthdays. Provide safe spaces for employees to voice concerns and ideas. Provide platforms for anonymous feedback. provide platforms for employees to recognize each other. provide the types of workspaces that aid both employees who need to focus on a task at hand, and those who want to collaborate.
Provide cloud sharing and virtual meeting spaces for employees who work remotely. Remember to include and recognize the contributions of your remote employees as well, and invite them to company functions. Keep a “who to call” database of employee strengths for resolving challenges.