As an entrepreneur, the responsibility for the success of your organization falls on your shoulders--but the burden is not yours alone. You hired highly skilled employees. They are your most essential assets and are fundamental to the profitability and viability of your company. You need to enlist their help to succeed.
Accordingly, one of the crucial questions to ask yourself, especially during these times of significant economic distress, is: "How can I maximize employees' contributions to the achievement of our company goals?"
In addition to undertaking an annual--or better yet, a semi-annual--review of their progress and performance, meet with your employees and encourage them to discuss the next year's resolutions. The goal of this process is to encourage employees to reflect upon their performance and find ways to integrate themselves more fully into the success of the business, which then generally evolves into their success, too.
So here they are: 10 employee management resolutions and discussion topics--suggestions you can offer your staff to guide them toward a higher level of productivity:
- I will work smarter. Can you identify three things you can do to be more efficient and effective in your current job? Is your staff spending too much time on e-mail, for example? Too much time returning phone calls? Does it interrupt their work too frequently? Sometimes, those job inefficiencies are not very obvious. However, if they can specifically identify them, then those inefficiencies can be eliminated and staff can become more productive. This can increase work satisfaction as well.
- I will increase my working network in and out of my immediate area and inside and outside my company. Can you encourage your staff to get to know more people? Can you meet more people not just to say hello, but to find out what they do, how they do it and what skills they use to be productive? Let them know about your traits, abilities and interests, too. Ask yourself if you can you interact with them to mutually benefit both your jobs. Can you include them in your circle of contacts so that you can call on them when you need a favor, a contact, or a reference? The reverse should be true as well.
- I will find three things that I can do to make myself irreplaceable. Why should the company continue to employ you? Why are you good at what you do? Does the company know this? What else should the company know about you? In times of layoffs or terminations, why should the company keep you while dismissing others? If you cannot answer these questions during economic hard times, in particular, your name could easily be included in any "termination group."
- I will find ways to get along better with my boss and colleagues. Manage upward. If your boss is not managing you well enough or to your liking, then find positive, non-complaining ways to change this situation so that you are able to share your views with him or her. Do you need more (or less) direction, supervision, freedom, responsibility or authority? What can colleagues be doing more of, less of or doing differently to create a more positive working environment that meets organizational goals? Speak up and make sure your voice is heard.
- I will join at least one company-wide task force or committee. Do people outside of your immediate group, team or unit know your capabilities, interests and skills? Do you know what is happening in other sectors of our company? Do you know the challenges and opportunities faced by people elsewhere in our organization? By joining committees, you not only gain a broader view of the company's goals and issues, you also challenge your own skills, abilities, and knowledge and increase your networking impact.
- I will join a professional organization in my area. Life and work are about growing and developing yourself. What have you done for yourself lately? Have you met like-minded colleagues who share some of your hopes, dreams, and goals? Do not miss this important opportunity to learn more about your profession while increasing the breadth and depth of your networking circle.
- I will take a job-related self-improvement seminar. Are there new techniques, tools and concepts that you need to know about to constantly make yourself into a more important and irreplaceable employee? When is the last time you stimulated your own thinking and gained new perspectives on your job and future? A seminar may very well be the stimulus you need to re-energize yourself and increase your job satisfaction.
- I will develop four goals to help me grow and develop as a more achievement-oriented employee. Stagnation is the kiss of death in today's corporate economy, where layoffs and downsizing occur daily. So, think seriously about what you can do to be more achievement-oriented in addition to taking a seminar and joining a professional group. Do you want to assume more responsibility in your job? Form or chair a taskforce? Rethink and improve a product, policy, or procedure? Create monthly, open-door meetings with the boss. Be creative.
- I will evaluate my personal contribution to this organization. List three strengths and three limitations to your overall progress. Identify ways to improve on all six, including what you will need from your direct supervisor or other administrators to help move you along the roadway to success.
- I will try to improve my relationship with at least one person with whom I do not get along. Take the initiative; meet with him or her and discuss the issues, whether overt or subtle, that prevent you from having positive interactions. Remember that your goal as an employee is to make the best of your talents, create synergies with colleagues and increase the productivity and effectiveness of the company. A clear deterrent to those tasks are problematic people relations. How can you minimize that obstacle to success?