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Culture and Creativity

Tips for Leaders to Engage Employees

I have always believed that the key to running a successful business is to take care of your employees. Taking care of our employees at GL group means that we make sure they are engaged with what is going on in the company and they frequently hear from leadership about why company decisions are being made, information on new and exciting products, or upcoming changes they can expect to see.

As CEO, I can’t always interact with every single employee on a regular basis. So I try to ensure that all of our leaders have the tools and resources they need to be effective managers in order to take care of our employees.

What I stress most to my leaders is that it is vital they interact and get to know their employees. It doesn’t come naturally to everyone, so there are eight things I do on a regular basis and encourage my leaders to do.

Get up and get out and about

All too often company leaders don’t spend enough time talking and interacting with their employees. They feel like it’s more important that they attend meetings or stay in their offices to make “big” decisions. But I think it’s most important to listen to your workforce. I try to walk around our offices and warehouses regularly, just saying hi and catching up with employees. They know I am accessible and that I care about what they have to say. This also means jumping into meetings whenever I can, asking to be a part of conversations, and just putting yourself out there so you can hear directly from the people doing the work.

Engage people on something you find exciting or interesting yourself

Leaders are regular people. I encourage them to talk to employees about the things they’re passionate about, whether it’s baseball or travel or cooking. Let them get to know you and work on building a relationship.

Say happy birthday

Remembering small things like birthdays, shows employees that they matter. When I am in the office, I make sure to seek out any employees who have a birthday. It’s a small gesture that makes a big impact.

Make sure when things aren’t right that someone says it directly

It’s difficult to talk about hard topics, particularly if you have to talk to an employee about their performance. But it is always better to be honest and direct – employees will appreciate honesty, even if it’s difficult to hear. It shows them they are respected and that we can address a situation head-on.

Give compliments and praise

Employees deserve to hear when they’re doing well. Give employees compliments, write personal emails, and write thank yous. By letting them know you appreciate them, you show them you’re invested in their success and want to see them succeed.

AUTHOR: Gary Jaffe