Management Success Tip #128: Answer the Millennial Challenge: Allow Innovation and Give Feedback!

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Millennials are a challenge for many managers – even if you’re just one generation ahead of them. Much more so, often, if you’re a Boomer. Then we’re talking employees who seem to have come from different planets, not just different cohorts.

Which means you’re often hesitant to allow your Millennials much leeway. You’re more comfortable keeping them on a relatively short leash, doing just what you’ve asked them too, hopefully without too much complaining.

Ryan Currie, guest-posting at ThinDifference.com suggests your reluctance  may prevent you from benefiting from this generation as much as you could: “You’ll be shocked just how innovative and outside the box they can get if you give them room to take risks – reward your millennials for being outlandish, for having ‘big’ ideas, and for taking chances and they’ll impress you.”

Currie follows this up by stressing how very important feedback is to Millennials: “They don’t want you to micromanage and they don’t want to speak to you only at their biannual evaluation. They want you to take them to lunch and openly and honestly talk to them about their mistakes, their upcoming challenges, and what they’re doing right. They’re difficult to insult, those millennials, and that’s a good thing.”

There’s the answer: give your Millennials leeway to be innovative, and then talk to them, openly and honestly, about how that leeway is panning out. Your Millennial employees will feel empowered, and you won’t feel like you’re risking your company.

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Management Success Tip #127: Flow Isn’t Just for Athletes: Your Employees Benefit Too!

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In his book Drive, Daniel Pink talks about how intrinsically motivating it is for people to reach the “flow” state—when they’re “in the zone” and completely absorbed by a task.

When you’re completely absorbed, you bring the very best of yourself to the task: you don’t doubt, you don’t question, you don’t get distracted. You’re present, in every sense of the term, and you are exponentially more efficient at whatever you’re doing. In a word, you excel.

Kevin Eikenberry, in a recent “Remarkable Learning, Leadership Tip” states:  “Flow is its own reward; it just feels good. As a supervisor, you can’t put your employees in the flow state, but you can take them out of it. If you’re constantly distracting your team members by checking in on them, forcing them to go to worthless meetings or—worst of all— micromanaging their every assignment, you’re keeping them from reaching flow and decreasing their motivation.”

Get out of your employees’ way. When you see they are working with purpose and intent, unless an employee is going about a task all wrong, step aside. Allow them to excel.

Management Success Tip #126: Want Employees to be Engaged? Answer These Three Questions

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The results of Gallup Organization’s recent meta-analysis of employee engagement are well known. In summary, highly engaged organizations have double the rate of success of lower engaged organizations. Why? Many reasons, but for starters, highly engaged organizations, those in the top-quartile, have lower absenteeism and turnover – 65% lower turnover, which in and of itself has enormous consequences for a company.

What constitutes employee engagement? John Baldoni has a plain and simple definition: “People want to come to work, understand their jobs, and know how their work contributes to the success of the organization.”

Three great questions to ask yourself:

“How do I make work a place my employees want to come to? Not just in the grand scheme of things, but every day?”

“What do I do to make sure my employees understand their jobs? Not just by giving them instructions at the beginning of a project or task, but by asking questions, soliciting their opinion?”

“How do I let my employees know specifically the ways in which their work contributes to the success of our company? Not just at time of hire, to lure them in, but regularly, throughout the days and months we work together?”

You want engaged employees? Answering those three questions, honestly and directly, is a great way to start.

Management Success Tip #125: ROWE and the Small Business: Amazing Real-World Results!

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Nothing speaks louder than real-world results.

Study after study has shown that a results-only work environment (ROWE) works amazingly well, both in terms of employee satisfaction and company success.

But many smaller businesses shy away from implementing ROWE, thinking that allowing employees to work when and where they please will just lead to lazy, sloppy work, diminished performance and rotten productivity. Or, if convinced of the worthiness of ROWE, will decide that the inevitable variety in hours and locations will take too much technology to integrate all of it and be financially sound.

Neither is true.

JA Counter & Associates, an investment and insurance agency base in Richmond, WI has 14 employees who have been in a ROWE since 2008. Since then, their expenses are down 23%, and net income has increased 94%! Not only that, before implementing ROWE, the agency was 15% behind the industry average. Since adopting ROWE, they are 4% and more ahead of the industry average.

Employees have control over their time, which facilitates a healthy work-life balance. Meetings are purposeful and planned, with those who prefer to attend remotely calling in. Even the agency’s receptionist has control over her hours, working them out with back-up personnel. No new technology was required.

ROWE and other such flexible employee arrangements are not just for major corporations. As JA Counter demonstrates, any size business can benefit from a results-oriented flexible approach.