3 Things You Can Do to Get the Most Out of Your Workforce

If you own your own business or help manage a company, chances are that you have experience in hiring. If you are successful, chances also are that you know how to hire well-qualified and skilled employees. And if you’ve hired right, they should even be more highly skilled than you in the job that you’ve hired them for.

After all, your success depends on their success. Most people see the hiring process as a huge leap of faith. Either you are going to hire someone who is qualified for the job, dependable and hardworking…or you will hire someone with a lack of drive, skills and work ethic, leaving you scrambling to replace them in a few short months.

Unfortunately, hiring is not that black and white. A lot of their success and productivity, depends on your management techniques. For example, if your management technique is to be a hand holder and you spend too much time monitoring your staff, you are not only hurting their chances at success, you are also losing valuable time on the strategic activities you should be focused on as a manger.

Let’s be clear. This doesn’t mean that you should do the opposite and leave them to fend for themselves. But, instead of constantly getting in their way, help them get the job done. Your role is to provide guidance, direction and establish goals, not sit on their shoulders telling them what to do every step of the way.

Here are a few productivity solutions you can use to get out of your workforce:

1.  Offer a Global View, Not Limited Information

The best foundation that you can give your employees to do their job is to give them all the information that they need. You can do this in several ways.

First, don’t hold back on insight and insider knowledge you may have about your organization. This includes everything from politics and culture to training and technology. Second, give them opportunities to learn more about related departments and services. Let them attend cross-departmental meetings with you. Third, invest in their professional development. This could mean anything from encouraging them to become member of a professional organization, attending a free seminar, paying for them to attend a training class, etc. By showing them that you care about their success, they are much more likely to be successful and productive.

2.  Share Goals and Objectives, Not Instructions

Rather than bark orders at your employees or assign them work by reading off of a to-do list, have a discussion with them about the company’s overall goals and objectives and then have them come up with strategic ways to help achieve them.

Of course there will be parameters they have to work within, which you will have to outline upfront, but by giving them authority and ownership of their work they are much more likely to be satisfied and productive in their job roles. For new employees, you may want to touch base with them more frequently about things they are doing so you can provide guidance and encouragement until they feel more comfortable taking the reins.

3. Provide Support and Facilitation, Not Barriers

As a manager of other employees, it may seem like they’re supposed to be working for you, but they’re actually working for the company to achieve the company’s overall goals and objectives. Your role as a manager is to support and enable them.

Do everything you can to support your employees, whether it’s resources, knowledge, information, funding, and most importantly, advice.

Facilitate issues on their behalf including inter-departmental politics and cross-functional issues to break down the barriers when you can, or give your employees the tools and information they need to overcome those barriers. Work with your employees as part of the team and remember that you are their advocate.

4.  Give Freedom to Act, Not Permission to Act

A new hire may need much more oversight and guidance than a seasoned employee, but they should get to a point where they no longer have to check in with you for every decision they ever make.

If you’ve done your job well and provided them with the necessary knowledge, you should be able to step back and let them get the job done without monitoring their every move. For this to work, you must expand their autonomy as much as possible.

This doesn’t mean that check in’s aren’t important. You should still establish a simple update system, such as a weekly update meeting, where they let you know what they’re doing and what they are planning to do. Then you have a chance to raise the red flag necessary to get them back on track.

The level of detail on the updates should depend on the issues they’re dealing with and their level of knowledge and experience, as well as your comfort level.

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