Work life is best in a high trusting environment. Okay, let’s not be foolish, reasonable controls for asset protection are needed for the benefit of all.
However, here are six action steps that demonstrate trust and even boost employees to the heightened state of engagement known as entangled:
Number one: Open the financial statements
“Oh my gosh! You mean even let the staff know how much I make?” Well, you don’t have to go that far, although I do. My philosophy is operating the business as a steward rather than a business owner that operates with few personal restraints. If the staff thinks I am pulling too much out of the company for selfish reasons, I probably am. After all, we are all in this together right?
Working for a previous employer that kept financial information close to the breast, was both frustrating and inhibiting creatively speaking for an accountant like myself. This is true for all associates. If you believe as I do that taking care of the staff comes before the yacht the decision for complete open financials comes easier.
Number two: Show high empathy
An important component of the virtual culture model Edoc Service has developed is under scored by quality of life, not just quality of life at work. This means trusting staff during periods of personal conflict or life-challenging curve balls that too often come our way. Sometimes, situations require a step-away for safe harbor requiring other team members to step up. Most of our staff members have suffered a personal crisis of one sort or another and giving them the space and time to heal has allowed them to come back stronger than ever.
Empathy goes beyond tragedy however. It also means focusing on staff strengths rather than weaknesses. Throw out the performance reviews! Yes, you heard me. Performance reviews have run their course. At the very least, eliminate the “areas for improvement” section. Too much time is wasted trying to improve on the non-strength. Focus on individual strength and put him/her in the best position to add value. Team members should be free to do their jobs, not forced to do so.
Number three: Celebrate staff successes
Remember from my last post that when one member of the team wins, we all win? Position each staff member for victories. Start with slight aims first to get a hanger-on off the ground. Bigger wins will then begin to come naturally.
Celebrate the achievements and treat mistakes as learnings.
Number four: Minimize compliance
Don’t get me started on this one! Piling on compliance rules in fear of a rogue employee causing havoc will only demoralize the team. Just because some immense lawsuit occurred in Duluth doesn’t mean your staff is out to get you! Follow the guidelines outlined here and tell your attorney and HR director to pipe down.
Number five: Emphasize staff learning
We emphasize two areas at Edoc for learning, leadership and entrepreneurial skills. Most of us need ongoing leadership training. Only a few natural-born leaders ever existed. Leadership is what drives the business train today versus management skills a couple of decades ago. Find ways to teach leadership to the staff and allow them to lead successes. Teach entrepreneurship and allow the staff to add real value to the company. Who knows, one may even help launch your biggest winning division or service.
Number six: Staff autonomy
The key words here are, “you decide”. No need to require (or even allow) all decision-making to come before your desk. Have the courage to free individual team members to make some key company calls (of course within corporate legal limits) and even make some mistakes.
Well, is your heart not palpitating and can you still breathe? If so, cheer for the future!
READ MORE: If you like this article you will want to read “The Cult of Testing“
Jim Mullaney is President and CEO of Edoc Service, Inc. a “Fast 55” virtual company based in Cincinnati, Ohio.