Your employees support you. They come to work every day to help you grow your business. Since they support you, you should support them, too.
Why Should I Show My Employees I Support Them?
Before we talk about how to support your employees, let’s get a few questions out of the way: Why should you care? Why should you support your employees?
Supporting your employees benefits you and your employees. It’s a win-win. How?
It helps you retain your staff. They’re happier and more confident in their job, so they’re going to want to stick around the company for longer.
Supporting your employees gives them the confidence and resources they need to grow. They’ll have the ability to learn new skills, which will then be used to help you grow your business.
It can help you recruit top talent. Everyone wants to work for a company that supports their ideas and their goals. When you support your employees, they’ll tell their friends and family. So, people will be banging down your door wanting to work for you.
At the beginning of every year, sit down with each of your employees (or, as your company grows, have your managers sit down with their direct reports) and talk about what skills the employee wants to learn in the next year or what skills they want to improve.
But, don’t just talk about it. Together, create a growth plan. How will your employee learn that new skill? Are they going to read some books? Take a class or two? Shadow someone in the office? Write down the plan. Then, next year, bring the plan back out and talk about what worked and what didn’t.
2. Don’t Wait Until Performance Reviews for Feedback
Performance reviews get a bad rap. You don’t like giving them; your employees don’t like receiving them; nobody goes into them super happy.
But, they’re important. Without performance review, your employees won’t know how they’re doing. They won’t know what they can improve on. And, you won’t know what your employees really think about the company.
Instead of making performance reviews this whole “Sword of Damocles” thing hanging over your employees’ heads at the end of the year, hold regular one-on-one meetings with each employee. Holding informal performance reviews throughout the year makes them more useful and less terrifying. No one will be surprised during their formal, annual performance review.
During your informal reviews, talk about your employee’s ongoing projects, any obstacles they’re facing, any big wins they’ve had, and just anything else that’s on their mind. You can ask them what they need from you to do their job more effectively, and they can ask what you’d like them to do to make your life easier.
3. Create a Mentorship Program
Everyone in your company brings different skills and strengths to the table. It’s a big reason why you hired them – because they brought something to the table that was missing. Because your company has such a wide range of skills and strengths, create a mentorship program so your employees can learn from each other.
Don’t just blindly assign mentors, though. Take what you learned in your growth discussion with an employee to handpick their mentor. For example, if someone in your customer service department wants to eventually become a sales person, let a current sales person mentor them. Together, they can create a career path that benefits everyone involved.
4. Actively Promote a Healthy Work-Life Balance
I’m about to say something groundbreaking.Are you ready? Your employees have lives outside of work. I know, I know, how is that even possible?
Encourage them to set boundaries. For example, urge them to only check their work email during work hours. Don’t expect them to answer work calls if they’re not working. Make sure they’re actually taking vacations occasionally.
You should also set these boundaries. If you’re responding to your employees’ emails at 2 in the morning or never going on vacation, your employees are going to think they’re expected to do the same, no matter what you actually say.
If you’re constantly micromanaging your employees, they’re going to feel like you don’t trust them. They’re going to think that they have to do everything your way.
But, if you trust that they know what they’re doing (you hired them for a reason!), then they’ll be happier and more productive. As long as projects get done and deadlines are met, who cares how they happen?
6. Thank Your Employees for Their Hard Work
Yes, you’re giving your employees a paycheck regularly for their hard work, but is that really enough? Your employees work really, really hard. Sure, the paychecks are nice – they pay the bills.
But, people like to know that they are really, truly contributing to your company. So, thank them. I mean, really give them a heartfelt “thank you” sometimes. Tell them they’re doing a great job and to keep up the good work. You can even give them a small gift occasionally.
How do you show your employees that you have their back?