Strong employees are built by strong leaders who inspire them to achieve personal and professional goals. Ensuring that employees set and meet their goals and see how they are contributing to larger company objectives is not only important for themselves, but it is also a critical part of a manager’s job as their leader. To succeed on their own, employees should take full ownership in projects to experience trial and error. However, managers should also stay involved to provide support and help navigate while giving room to grow on their own.
What is Employee Success?
Employee success is a process that helps employees grow within their role from the start of their hiring to their exit interviews. This process consists of employers working with their staff to identify areas (i.e. skills, experience) they want to advance in and build their professional credibility. Success happens when employers invest in their employees to achieve career goals. Employee success is possible only if employers take the initiative to manage their staff’s growth and development within their job.
At Barometer, employee success is a major focus in our management teams. Karl Finn has been an invaluable team lead for the analytics department in our Ireland office. We asked Finn what employee success means to him, and he says, “[employee] success for me is making sure that we hit all our external deliverables while the team continues to grow and develop as individuals. When I look back on my career, the things that make me most proud are the people that I have helped to grow and develop.”
Why is Employee Success Important?
Employee success is important because employee performance directly reflects the overall performance of a company. Managers play a key role in keeping their teams motivated and interested in the work they do so they can perform effectively and achieve milestones along the way.
Marshall Richards is a team lead in our U.S. office who works with each team member to ensure they are getting the support needed to fulfill their goals. We asked what defines a good manager, and he says, “the best managers care about their employees as people and see it as their responsibility to help them reach their goals even if those lie beyond the organization.”
Steps to Help Your Employees Grow
Employee success heavily relies on the first step, which is leadership. It is recommended that leadership has a solid understanding of company values and the goals of each team member to build a road map of opportunities that drives growth.
Here are a few ways employers can guide their employees to success.
Employee Mentorship Program
Every employee should have easy access to a senior resource who can act as a mentor and guide them through their professional career. A workplace mentorship program enhances professional skills for both the mentor (i.e. senior employee) and mentee (i.e. recent hire). Specifically, mentors would be able to learn management skills throughout the process of teaching. On the other hand, mentees can perform effectively during the learning phase of their career as they have a resource to turn to as problems arise.
As the business environment continues to change, more than 70 percent of Fortune 500 companies have established some type of formal mentorship program according to the Association for Talent Development. It is vital that companies adapt to these changes to ensure employees are getting the best support system and help they need to move forward.”
Continuing education from day 1 is a vital asset to employees that wish to develop and hone their skills. Employers also benefit as their employees learn skills that make them more effective. One cost-friendly method is to schedule monthly department training that allow employees to learn skills directly from their managers.
At Barometer, we hold skillshare meetings to have managers or specialists teach teams how a certain tool works or enhance skills already learned. For example, we recently had the head of our marketing department, Peter Walker, teach the team the foundation of a complex design tool to help the process of design drafts run smoothly. For structure, Walker had all attendees view the same panel and follow along to get hands-on experience.
Another way to offer continuing education is to help pay for employees to back to college to build credentials, develop and sharpen new skills. In return, this can help employees move up the ladder to become leaders themselves and take on more responsibilities. While education can be expensive, knowledge is priceless. Providing the opportunity to hone skills is a positive return on investment for many, though the full tuition cost can be strenuous for companies with smaller finances. Many companies without the resources to cover tuition will help employees by allowing for flexible schedules to accommodate class times.
Open communication between a manager and employee is one of the most important internal factors of a successful company. Allowing open communication ensures the team understands expectations and questions are answered.
Open communication between a manager and employee can be difficult to establish, as it requires building trust. To build trust, managers should consider scheduling one on one routine meetings once a month to discuss an employee’s future goals, new skills they want to learn, and what you can do as their leader to help strive for their dreams. According to The Palmer Group, “routinely talking with your employees about their goals, both personal and professional, will create accountability for both management and employees.” Routine conversations can also help identify an employee’s weakness and provide opportunities to provide opportunities to grow. As a result, employees will rely more on their manager to help overcome obstacles that prevent success, further building trust within the team for open, comfortable dialogue.
Praise Your Team Members
Employees will continue to perform effectively if they are recognized for their achievements by colleagues. However, employees can perform even better if managers give the extra praise for hard work. It is a powerful form of expression that recognizes success, builds trust, and motivates one to work productively towards positive outcomes.
Unfortunately, some managers fail to realize that consistent praise prevents employees from leaving. According to a 10-year study by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton, “managers who consistently praise their employees have a lower turnover rate and ‘79 percent of employees who quit their jobs cited a lack of appreciation as a key reason for leaving.’” Gostick and Elton’s study further supports that praising team members for their achievements is an engagement motivator and can boost performance rates.
Provide Feedback for Improvement
Achievements, big or small, should always be recognized, but another important aspect in helping employees succeed is delivering meaningful feedback and constructive criticism in areas that need additional attention. This can help individuals recognize their weakness, correct performance, and provide opportunities of improvement to succeed in one’s career.
Finn has demonstrated an impacting way to appropriately address insightful feedback for his team. Finn says, “you have to show them how they can do better and positively reinforce the good actions and behaviors. People perform better when they are happy and confident, and it is much easier to get them in that mind state when you focus on positive aspects of their performance.”
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
Employee success is a team effort. It requires both the manager to take leadership in being responsible for their teams’ success, and everyone to be open with their leaders in discussing professional goals they want to achieve. Richards and Finn have great pieces of advice for all leaders,
“Many people don’t know what they want to do, so it’s important to ask questions that help lead them to finding their goals. This can be a difficult process, as sometimes people find that what they want doesn’t align with what they’re doing now and requires a change. Managers can help encourage their employees to chase their dreams and keep them accountable to themselves.” – Marshall Richards, U.S. Team Lead.
“Be selective with what advice you take. There are so many ways to achieve a goal, and we can’t all be Bill Gates. You have to be true to yourself and figure out what works for you and unfortunately that often comes via trial and error.” – Karl Finn, Ireland Team Lead.
Support from leaders keeps performance levels high because they aim to keep their employees happy by helping to pursue their passion. Ultimately, this will reflect your employer brand positively as a company that invests in their teams to strive for success.
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