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Support employees through active management

Rather than waiting for employees to come to them, supervisors can be proactive in creating a supportive work environment.

Value is at the core of the relationship between employees and the companies they work for: Individuals have to measurably contribute to their firm's success, and in turn, managers must recognize the value of that work – and of the employees who carry it out. Reward and recognition programs help ensure that staff members don't feel as though the company is ignoring its end of that relationship. In order to be most effective, however, such initiatives should be part of a larger culture in which workers feel they can easily access their managers for support.

Rather than waiting for employees to come to them, supervisors can be proactive in creating such an environment. In an interview with Forbes, employee engagement expert Peter Hunter spoke about the need for managers to involve themselves more actively in their staff's performance and concerns without smothering or controlling them. One of the key components of such a strategy is to take advantage of employees' natural sources of motivation, trusting that they're ready and willing to succeed.

"People, generally, want to show up for work and do a good job. They want to be proud of what they do. They want to use their education, creativity and imagination to do work they are proud of," Hunter told the news source.

Meanwhile, in a column for Entrepreneur Magazine, Herb Greenberg and Patrick Sweeney – CEO and President, respectively, of talent management consulting firm Caliper – highlighted the importance of having regular, one-on-one conversations with employees about their specific strengths and challenges in their positions.

"This will allow you to carve out individual growth paths for each opposed to 'standardizing' a path for them," Greenberg and Sweeney wrote.

Such an adaptive, involved management style can make other efforts at employee recognition more effective. Workers may prove more receptive to employee incentive programs if these initiatives are part of a supportive overall culture.

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