Great techniques for bringing out the best in your employees

When you’re an employer, you want to get the most out of the people who work for you. If you only want to get your employees to complete the requisite amount of work that constitutes their job description, then management is a simple task – lay down clear goals, make sure that your employees have schedules for that task and that they have enough information and skills available to them to complete their tasks, and then set them to work.

But putting a basic limit on a person’s creative capacity is a waste of their energies. Nothing fosters discontent and resentment more than being trapped in menial, seemingly meaningless productive activity. Insisting on a restrictive, uncreative environment can cause your employees to shirk from sharing their insights. A company that cannot listen to those closest to it will be condemned to failure.

Bringing out the best in your employees means encouraging them to make your company a better entity. A better entity is one that is more stable, a nicer environment in which to spend time, more efficient at producing its goods or services, a positive contributor to society-at-large.

Thankfully, there are a few things that you can do that help to bring out the best in people:

  1. Pay your employees better

Salaried South Africans have had to suffer the real value of their wages falling, as inflation has increased more than their salaries. In December 2016, South Africans earned 1.5% less than the year before, on average after adjustments for inflation. Less real income means that life is made more difficult – a month feels like an eternity when your funds run out halfway through.

A huge amount of academic literature has developed suggesting that increased wages are better for a company. Health is improved in a workforce that feels valued. Productivity and innovation gains are more significant when workers don’t have the pressures of monetary shortfalls to deal with. Staff turnover, one of the greatest impediments to a business’s continued growth and good functioning, is sharply reduced when employees are paid what they feel is a fair wage.

There is more than one dimension to this technique. Increasing the base rate of pay across the board can work to the ideal of company solidarity.

You can also consider using open wage structures. This means that wages are knowable by anyone in the company. The principle of equal pay for equal work is guiding here. You can incentivise workers to hit performance targets better when the reward structure is open to interrogation from any within the company. This transparency encourages lower paid workers by providing them with a clear understanding of what they have to achieve and work towards in order to become a higher paid member of staff.

Another way to bring out the best in your employees and keeping your best workers on board is to create an employee share scheme. This has the benefit of discouraging workers from slacking, as there is a direct link between their performance and the company’s success, and allows your company to retain its best talent for a number of years.