How to Nurture Your Team

It’s no secret that motivated employees perform at and above expectations.  And we all want that, right? Motivated employees have a direct effect on your bottom line:  fewer mistakes, more creative problem solving, better customer service, etc. And less turnover means lower training costs.

So, why are some employees engaged and others just showing up?  As you can imagine, this subject has been studied extensively. The bottom line is that engagement and/or motivation is directly correlated to appreciation.  The more an employee feels appreciated, the better they perform.

What can you do to show your employees you appreciate them?

Nurture your teamReward them.  Have you heard of, or better yet, read The Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace by Gary Chapman and Paul White?  It turns out that we feel appreciated in one of five ways:

  1. Words of affirmation
  2. Quality time
  3. Acts of service
  4. Tangible gifts
  5. Physical touch

I highly recommend this book!  It will give you a link that you can give to your employees so they can take a short assessment that will determine which of the 5 languages resonates most with them.  Then you can show your appreciation accordingly. I recently worked with a small business owner who was consistently praising someone with words of affirmation by public recognition at staff meetings and was surprised to learn that what that person wanted most was one Friday afternoon off a month (quality time) so he could pick his daughter up from school.

Engage them.  Do you encourage your employees to participate in planning or marketing meetings?  How about your annual strategic planning meeting? The more someone feels that they are a part of a team the more they will contribute to that team.  On the front desk at my doctor’s office is a name plate that says “Director of First Impressions”. I recently asked the front desk employee if she liked working there.  Her response was a very enthusiastic yes! When I asked her why she said “we each have an important role to play in this office and Dr. ___ makes sure that we all know that everyone is as important as she is”.  Wow!

Live your company culture.  Here is an interesting article on Zappo’s hiring practice.  I hope it gives you some ideas and insight.  Of particular note is that employees are offered $3,000 to leave the company 1 week into their training!  Why? Because Zappos doesn’t want anyone who can’t commit to their values and culture.

Ask for help!  Just because you are the boss doesn’t mean you have all the answers.  Interestingly, one of the biggest challenges that women business owners face is learning how to delegate.  I see this time and time again. “It will take me longer to show/train this person than to do it myself” is a very common and a very wrong refrain. It’s wrong because it is often interpreted as a lack of trust.  And no one wants to be with/work with/work for someone they don’t trust…

How do you nurture your team? Got any books/articles to recommend?  Please comment here.

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Nancy Allen