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Trust and Respect Your Employees



Patrick Ropella on some steps to take to improve your management skills.



By Patrick Ropella, Ropella & Associates



Published January 19, 2012
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As Wayne Outlaw, author of Smart Staffing, rightly points out, “You can demand obedience because of your rank, but you have to earn trust and respect.” And the only way to accomplish that is to show trust and respect to your employees. Many bosses fail in this effort because of their need to micromanage. In particular, managers who are used to keeping tight reign on their projects, sometimes find it difficult to give their staff the freedom to succeed.


In one instance, a manager working for a major chemical company needed such a ridiculous level of control over his staff, that it caused a major disruption to the departmental workflow. This particular manager insisted that all of his engineers check in with him every hour so he could remain in constant contact with them. This boss would frequently interrupt his employees, demanding that they drop everything when he called them. Not surprisingly, turnover in his department was high.

Provide your employees with necessary information and support, but trust them to do their jobs successfully; no competent employee likes to be micromanaged when it’s not necessary. By being a guide rather than a dictator, your chances of retaining staff greatly increase.

Good Managers Mentor Their Employees
Your obvious duty as a mentor is to take an active interest in the professional development of your staff. Encourage them to take training classes, introduce them to potential allies in the company or chemical industry, and help them map out their own career paths. The easier you make it for employees to advance professionally, the more likely they’ll stay with your department or organization.

On a more general level, mentoring means putting the best interests of your employees above everything else—even if you have to question company policy occasionally. One manager asked for and received permission to give each member of his team a raise above the stated maximum because they had completed a critical project successfully. Such shows of support can dramatically increase your staff’s loyalty and retention rate.<

Good Managers Care About Their Employees

If you view employees merely as workplace resources, you’ll always battle retention problems. It’s essential to support and value your staff as people, especially during times of personal crisis. The work/life balance is difficult under the best circumstances, but when an employee is dealing with situations like illness, death, or divorce, he or she needs to know you are an ally.


You may worry that people will use personal misfortunes as an excuse to take advantage of the company. But good employees have no desire to ruin their work reputations. The following story serves as a good example. Shortly after beginning a new job, one man learned that his mother was admitted to intensive care with a serious illness. His boss was completely sympathetic, encouraging the employee to come and go so he could see his mother during the short visiting hours. The employee never forgot this act of kindness, and 10 years later, he is still with the same boss. By giving employees sufficient latitude during troubled times, you can earn their commitment for the long-term.


Good Managers Motivate Their Employees


Everyone can be motivated, just not in the same way. One employee works hard to be promoted, another for bigger bonuses, and yet another for the sense of accomplishment. You can provide perks ranging from recognition awards to achievement bonuses. Yet if these “benefits” are not valued by your staff, they’re worthless. Your challenge is to find out what motivates each individual, and then help him or her to attain that objective.


Communicate with your staff on a regular basis to find out what they want. One manager hands out index cards to team members at each quarterly review meeting. Employees then write down the workplace benefits they desire, as well as any issues that might cause them to leave. By collecting this information, he finds it easier to keep his staff content and productive.



Excerpted from Patrick Ropella’s white paper, “Improve Retention by Being a Better Manager,” available at http://www.Ropella.com under the “Toolbox” tab.


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