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Create a work culture that promotes employee success

Managers know firsthand the truth of the principle that happier employees are more productive - and conversely, a discontented staff will almost inevitably result in workplace management issues, as under-appreciated workers are unlikely to execute their jobs effectively.

Managers know firsthand the truth of the principle that happier employees are more productive – and conversely, a discontented staff will almost inevitably result in workplace management issues, as under-appreciated workers are unlikely to execute their jobs effectively.

As such, it's up to managers to ensure that employees are happy in their positions: Failing to do so may mean setting the company or department up for failure. Employee rewards programs can be highly effective in the effort to increase both happiness and productivity, and there are several strategies that supervisors can implement in the workplace on a day-to-day basis to contribute to employee satisfaction.

Find employees' passions
Managers who discover what kind of work most appeals to each employee under their supervision and tailor workloads accordingly are likely to produce better results. Recent research by the Ken Blanchard Companies found that meaningful work was the most important factor for employees in determining job satisfaction.

"Organizations wanting to create an environment where people have job commitment need to ensure that their creative, talented people see their work as meaningful," the researchers wrote.

As such, firms must entrust their supervisors with the task of making sure that valuable employees feel they're putting their talents to good use.

Set high expectations
Of course, helping employees see what they do as meaningful does not mean lightening their workloads. In fact, new research suggests that employees respond well to being given difficult tasks. A study by the London Business School found that well-regarded managers perform the difficult balancing act of expecting a lot from employees without making them feel as though their workloads are unmanageable.

"She gave me incredibly challenging work, and made me believe I could do it," said one survey respondent regarding a very effective supervisor. Employees who were dissatisfied with their bosses' performances cited factors like unclear expectations and unreasonable timelines for deliverables.

Managers concerned that some workers won't want to aim for such high goals might consider implementing employee incentive programs in order to further encourage excellence and reward exceptional performance.

Foster achievement, not stress
Emphasizing that high expectations are challenging but attainable is key to preventing stress among the workforce. Switch and Shift co-CEO Shawn Murphy noted in a recent official blog post that sales teams, for example, need to feel that great job performance is well within their reach, while failures should become a teaching tool rather than cause for reprimand.

Managers who combine such strategies with sales incentive programs are likely to find their staffs are soon performing with a much higher degree of success.

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