5 ways to get the best from employees, according to business leaders

Estimated read time 6 min read

5 ways to get the best from employees, according to business leaders

Recruiting good people into your team is just the starting point. If you want to achieve great results, you need to make sure that your staff is happy and productive.

So how do you get the most out of your employees? Five business leaders give us their best advice.

Giving meaning to work

Alex Hibbitt, Director of engineering at albelli-Photobox Group, says that obtaining the best results depends on the seniority of the person we are talking to. “I am a senior manager within the organization and I have a set of managers who work for me. I also have collaborators who work for me and who have different needs,” he explains.

Mr Hibbitt gives the example of engineers: less experienced workers will face different challenges than those of senior managers. The key to success is to focus on long-term goals.

“We are trying to understand what motivates people from the point of view of their career, if they want to be individual contributors, if they want to be leaders, or if they are looking to develop beyond this level over a period of several years. Then we try to adapt what they are doing to achieve this goal”.

Mr. Hibbitt adds that it is also important to ensure that your employees value their time in the company.

“Making sure it’s fun is really, really important,” he says. “Our engineering teams are spread all over Europe. If I think about some of my engineers, it is crucial to make sure that the problems they are focusing on are significant for the organization – but also significant for them, that they evolve in their careers and that they work with other high-performing people”.

Getting in touch with people (via workshops)

Cynthia Stoddard, CIO of Adobe, says that you get the best out of people by connecting with them, talking to them, listening to them, and then taking action.

“We’ve been working a lot on culture, and we’ve taken it forward by running workshops during the pandemic to understand how people were feeling and how we could take our organization to the next level,” she says.

According to Ms. Stoddard, these types of initiatives require a lot of effort. However, this investment in time pays off and makes it possible to understand how to help people work to the best of their abilities.

“I spent time in virtual workshops with groups all over the world during the pandemic, listening to people and hearing what they had to say,” she says. “I think it is essential to be open and transparent in this kind of conversation”.

According to Ms. Stoddard, the workshops lead to ideas. Good managers then make sure that their employees feel that their ideas are being heard.

“I am listening to everything. And I think it’s important that, when people speak out, their voice is heard, that they know that you have listened to them and that an action has been taken,” she says. “So that’s what I tried to do, by establishing this link until the action. And we are making changes based on the ideas of contributors, managers and people in the organization from different regions and areas of the world”.

Provide personalized feedback

Carter Cousineau, VP of Data Governance at Thomson Reuters, explains that to get the best out of people, you have to give them good feedback on what they are doing, which is not always easy.

“There are so many different communication styles,” she says. “I could say the same about most of the coaching and mentoring activities that I offer to my team, to my peers, and vice versa, because I also receive coaching lessons.

According to Ms. Cousineau, there are different ways of communicating with people and it is important to be aware of these different styles.

Think about what works for each person and try to take this personalized approach when giving feedback. “For example, I know the frequency of meetings that my team likes, as well as the times of the day when they prefer to meet and the reasons for this preference,” she explains.

“Whether it’s giving feedback twice a week or meeting in one block for an hour, success depends on flexibility.

Give them something to be reliable

Bob Michael, Head of Data at DFS, says you get the best out of your people when they know they can trust your word.

“I try to be honest whenever I can,” he says. “We can’t always be totally open, but I try to be as open as possible”.

Michael adds that openness also extends to the things you ask your staff to do. Don’t make them do things they hate. “I wouldn’t ask someone to do something that I wouldn’t do myself,” he says. “The other aspect that goes hand in hand with this is to trust what they are doing. I don’t want to do micromanagement; I’m not interested in that”.

Purpose, autonomy, mastery

Adam Warne, CIO of River Island, has a shortcut that helps him motivate his employees: he uses a guide from the book by the American author Daniel H. Pink, Drive.

“This book basically says that to get the best out of people, you need three things,” he explains. “First, we have to give them a purpose, which is to tell them why we do what we do. And I think that this largely depends on clear communication”.

Secondly, adds Mr. Warne, you must give autonomy to your employees: “Give them enough freedom and flexibility so that they can do what they have to do”.

Finally, you have to give them control: “You have to help them improve their skills and develop what they know how to do,” adds Mr. Warne.

Mr Warne adds that any manager who covers these three areas ends up with a highly motivated team. He adds that it is essential to congratulate your employees when they achieve great things.

“As a technical team, even though our employees are spread all over Europe, we meet online every Friday for half an hour at lunchtime,” he explains. “We talk about what we have done in the company and we spend ten minutes exchanging thanks, comments and praises. I think it goes a long way to creating a good culture.

Source: “ZDNet.com “

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