Does your organization really help employees succeed?
For employees to reach their full potential, they need managers who remove barriers to their success. The best managers also are coaches who take the time to understand their employees’ personal and career aspirations. They make it easier to get the job done – and they help them achieve their goals, too.
Empowering employees to take full ownership of their work with minimal obstacles gives them a bigger feeling of accomplishment with each completed task. This means they take more initiative, freeing managers to focus on improving team processes and reaching organizational goals.
Research shows only 61% of employees at average organizations responded positively to the idea that “My manager makes it easier to do my job well.” But at Top Workplaces, this jumps above 80%, and in some cases above 90%.
So how can you boost helpfulness in the workplace? Here are some considerations.
- Practice active listening and encourage all managers to do the same.
- Make sure team meetings provide environments where employees feel safe to speak up.
- Encourage managers to ask their employees how they would most like to be helped.
Looking at the big picture, here are some goals to work toward.
- Train managers to seek and remove barriers rather than add them.
- Foster helpfulness in your culture by modeling it and celebrating it.
- Encourage managers to schedule regular 1:1 meetings with each direct report.
Along the way, watch for some warning signs:
- Managers who do not know what help or support their employees need.
- Traditional management styles that create barriers for employees.
- Managers who assume their employees want to be helped the same way they do. Often, this is the opposite of what employees are looking for.
- Hesitating to help for fear of being surpassed by an employee. Instead, celebrate managers for team performance.
What does helpfulness sound like? Here’s an example from one employee: “I’m given the freedom to fail. I’m encouraged to try out new ideas, experiment, test, see what works — what doesn’t — and learn from it instead of being expected to be perfect out of the gate.”
Laura Brinton is content marketing director at Energage, a Philadelphia-based employee survey firm. Energage is The Washington Post’s partner for Top Workplaces. To nominate your company as a Top Workplace, go to washingtonpost.com/nominate.
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