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Treating employees well in the workplace pays off

Treating employees well and respectfully leads to higher productivity. It makes them want to come to work and not dread it. It inspires and motivates them to work harder, produce more and one of the best results is they treat customers like they should be treated. What are some of the things you can do as a manager or employer to manage employees well toward success for them and the company? Some ideas are listed below.

1. Develop relationships with employees — Manager/employee relationships take work just like any other relationship. Knowing their names and calling them by name when interacting with them is important. I have known managers with small staffs who didn’t even know the names of their employees. Big mistake. Take an interest in their well-being and know what is going on in the workplace. Have an open door policy. Acknowledge anniversaries of service and birthdays. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just a recognition is often all that is needed.

2. Be genuine and consistent — ensure you are an authentic representation of your company’s principles and culture. Be truthful and honest in all your dealings. Ensure you are consistent in your communications and reinforce expectations and objectives.

3. Promote an entrepreneurial spirit — Let employees know their ideas and opinions count. Ensure you listen and learn from employees. They are the closest to the operation and delivery of products and services and can tell you more than you will ever discover by staying in your office. Make employees feel like partners and that their opinions count. Empower your employees by giving them more responsibility and encourage them to make decisions on their own. Use mistakes as learning opportunities. Entrepreneurship is also known as intrepreneurship when developed within a business by employees who are not owners.

4. Lead by example — Be a mentor to employees.  Take risks and show that even failures are ok and that learning results from those experiences. Make sure mistakes only happen once and are used as improvement and training for the future. Set the example for employees and become a mentor as you interact with vendors, customers and other associates.

5. Provide rewards, recognition and incentives — When employees are proactive, go the extra mile and make an impact on the company in a positive way, reward them. It can include pay raises, bonuses and other kinds of rewards. Monetary rewards are always good but merchandise awards, trips, discounts on products or services, stock options are all effective ways of rewarding employees for exceptional service. Paid time off is one of the most desired benefits of employees and can be very cost effective for the business. Don’t forget to utilize one of the most effective ways, that is recognition.

There are many testimonials of successful businesses where treating employees well pays off, in both large and small businesses. There is no one single practice to guarantee success in this arena. Building a culture of entrepreneurship often requires various practices to be inclusive of all your staff. Apple, 3M, Google, Intel are some examples of large companies who have allowed employees to spread their wings and embrace the entrepreneurial spirit among their staffs.

An example I am familiar with of a small enterprise in Brookhaven who epitomized excellent treatment of employees that resulted in huge success was a businesswoman named Fannie Lewis. She was a BeautiControl consultant who from a very humble beginning rose to the rank of national executive director in this very successful business. “Miss Fannie” as she was lovingly known by her consultants, customers and friends died in February 2013. During her career with BeautiControl which began in 1972, she always took an interest in her consultants who she recruited and in her customers. She was often giving rewards and making recognitions of her ladies selling BeautiControl cosmetics. She took care of her customers very well and it paid off big time. She was awarded automobiles, trips, etc. for her long-term success. In a bio printed by BeautiControl, Miss Fannie is quoted.

“I have been blessed with a deep and committed team of consultants. I hold much respect for them and want them to be even more successful than myself.”

It is this kind of caring of people and then putting true support in action that results in overall success for a business and its employees.

Treating employees with respect and providing support will lead to higher productivity and success in any business, large or small. Employees who feel respected by their leaders are more likely to stick with their company than those who don’t. They will be more engaged, which translates into better and more efficient output. Being treated with respect is valued more than other opportunities in the business. It will have a giant effect on your employees and your business. Culture is a hot buzzword, but it is so crucial to success. Creating a culture of respect and appreciation doesn’t happen overnight. However, shaping your company’s culture should be a top priority. It speaks to how you get things done and how your business operates from inside out. The successful cultural implementation results in a “win – win” situation.

Becky Vaughn-Furlow retired from Trustmark Bank as executive vice president and human resources director. She can be contacted by emailing bvaughnfurlow@gmail.com.