Two Dozen Ideas to Help You Develop Your Team

I originally wrote this list a very long time ago. I was speaking to a group of top managers at large manufacturing companies during an economic upswing, and they were all very concerned about how they would get the work done. They knew they played a huge part and they were asking for help. How could I resist? I gave them two dozen ideas, which I’ve now updated, this being a whole new economic environment. Here they are:

  1. Know your employees – talk to them and, even more important, listen to them. They won’t all respond to the same ideas.
  2. Encourage collaboration between employees and departments. It’s a good way to make one and one add up to more than two.
  3. Promote the benefits of professional and personal development to everyone in your organization. Set a good example by talking about what you learn every day.
  4. If you are running a family business, minimize the traditional barriers that non-family employees face in hiring and promotion decisions.
  5. Be a good corporate neighbor and seek a positive reputation in your community.
  6. Acknowledge the importance of your employees’ home lives and help them integrate work and home priorities. Be known as a family-friendly company, and please consider that not all families are the traditional husband, wife, and 2.4 children.
  7. Offer a wide range of benefits, both employer and employee paid, that meet employees’ expressed and unexpressed needs.
  8. Offer flexible work time arrangements if at all possible – job sharing, part time, and temporary employment will expand your pool of possible hires, as will working from home.
  9. Reward your senior managers for living your vision, setting a good example, and communicating openly, frequently, and well to the people they manage.
  10. Educate yourself and your managers about the high cost of undesired turnover and reward them for their successes in minimizing it.
  11. Educate yourself and your managers about how to deal with desired turnover – that is, how to let someone know they would be happier in another job. Learn how to love them out and you’ll reduce the undesired turnover that happens when you scare people with the loss of their job, even though you didn’t mean to.
  12. Publicly recognize people when they do a good job. A smile, a thank you, and a handshake from you in the presence of an employee’s peers is a strong motivator for most people (other than the very, very shy).
  13. Create a physical setting conducive to productivity. Seek employee input on this!
  14. Remind your workers – and yourself – about the importance of your customers and treat your employees at least as well as your customers.
  15. Help your employees prepare for career opportunities within your company. Offer training, coaching, mentoring – and your personal commitment.
  16. Conduct exit interviews with all terminating employees and value their input.
  17. If you talk the talk, be prepared to walk the walk. Every. Single. Day.
  18. Don’t badmouth the competition in front of employees – you might make them curious.
  19. Being open about succession planning helps people feel secure that the company will go on.
  20. Keep rumors under control by sharing information, positive and negative, before they start.
  21. Don’t make promises you can’t – or won’t – keep.
  22. Don’t rationalize not giving salary raises by saying the company’s in trouble and then drive to work in a new luxury car.
  23. Treat your older workers with respect. Tell them you value their experience and ask them to share it by mentoring a new employee.
  24. Treat your younger workers by challenging them to develop initiative – and when they do, try not to micromanage them.
  25. When all else fails, break the tension with workplace-appropriate humor.

That one extra? That’s just because it’s holiday time. However you celebrate – or don’t – may you get more than you expect in 2022! 

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