Building Employees' Involvement
Every employer's dream is to have employees who care as deeply for the
success of the business as they would if the business were their own. While you
may never get employees to care that much, you can build a sense that
what's good for the business is good for them. Here are some steps to building
that type of commitment and involvement:
- Identify any problems that might stand in the way. Again, the types
of problems that lead to absenteeism,
and generally low morale will be barriers to developing the type of
commitment to the business that you're seeking.
- Share your vision and the mission of the business. As the leader,
you need to have some goals for the business. If your goal is to have the
best reputation for customer service, for example, employees know what to
strive for and have a goal. Getting them involved creates ownership of the
business's vision. If employees understand why the goal is important, they
will feel personally responsible for making it a success.
- Give some power to employees. If you want employees to care, you
have to give them some responsibility and some decision-making latitude.
Employees have to believe that the decisions they make and the work they
perform has a direct impact on the product or service you provide. This may
be easier to achieve and demonstrate in a small business than it would be in
a larger one.
- Encourage risk-taking. Let employees experiment and try to find new
ways to help the business reach its goals. Don't create a culture where
employees are afraid to try anything new because if they fail they will be
punished. Allow a certain amount of failure, and reward people for trying.
- Use reward systems. When your employees do well, reward them.
Tailor your reward
systems to specific accomplishments. If you have one employee who sells
25 percent more than everyone else, but everyone gets the same bonus, your
star sales rep. isn't going to be particularly motivated to excel in the
- Plan social and athletic activities. These types of activities
allow people to interact with each other on a level that can build stronger
professional bonds. If your business is small, perhaps just an annual dinner
or picnic somewhere is enough. If you have several employees with a similar
hobby or athletic interest, maybe your business can sponsor a team in a
Be sure to protect yourself from workers
compensation liability by making the event completely
voluntary. Also arrange for the event to take place on non-work
hours. If you have questions about whether a particular event
will expose your business to liability, consult an attorney.