Igniting Innovation: Tips, Sparks and Ideas for Acting on Innovation

4 Easy Steps to Get the Most Out of Your Employees

Posted by Brad Hall on Aug 23, 2016 10:20:47 AM

We all have great people that work for us but sometimes it can be hard to get their full potential out of them.  These four steps are easy things to do that can help get the most out of the people you have working for you.

1. Set a mission and some boundaries:
No matter what it is every task from the smallest day to day thing to drasticMissionandBoundaries.jpg changes in your company should have a mission and some boundaries to it.  How detailed these things are change depending on what it is of course.  For making a part in a factory the mission can be as simple as produce x number of parts per hour; while the boundaries could be the tolerances the part has to be within.  On the other end of the spectrum is your companies strategic planning for the year where the mission is where you want the company to head and your boundaries are the things you want to avoid or how much resources you can devote to it.  In the end everything that happens within our companies has a mission and boundaries and you should take the time to consider them even if it’s just in an informal way.

2. Communicate the mission and boundaries to the workers they affect:
Once you know what the mission and boundaries are you need to communicate those things to the people they affect in some way be it formal or informal.  No one likes working on something for days only to find out that they wasted all that time because they were going in a complete wrong direction or outside of the boundaries you set.  You need to inform them of the direction they should be going so they can give it their all and not waste any of their time.  You wouldn’t run a fast-food restaurant without letting your workers know your expectations for customer service and if it’s important enough for that isn’t important enough for everything your employees do?

3. Correct workers when they start to get off track:
It Happens to everyone, we get started working and start to get excited and even with our best efforts we start to go off track.  It’s your job then to catch them, when you can, and help steer them back to the mission before they go too far off the deep end.  I don’t mean you have to hold their hands through the whole process but when you see them going off don’t just let it be.  Confronting it and getting them back on track will end up better for both of you in the long run.

4. Inform your workers when you change the mission or boundaries:
It happens, no one can see the future and perfectly predict what things should be.  There are times you’re going to have to change things, maybe it happens because of the work someone brings you or maybe you just come to the realization in the shower one morning.  Whatever the case when it does happen be honest with the people it affects.  Yes, it is awful to have things change on you halfway through a project but better to learn halfway through than make it all the way to the end and have the whole thing scrapped because the mission or boundaries changed.  They will understand you’re human just like them and while they might grumble about it at first in the long run they’ll be happier than if you had let them finish instead.

There you have it, four easy steps that can help keep your employees motivated and working their hardest on the tasks their given.  What I challenge you to do in the next week is take some time to sit down and think about your past.  When was a time you had the rug yanked out from under you on a project and how did that affect your future work for that person/company?

Topics: Leading Innovation, strategy, alignment

Brad Hall

Written by Brad Hall

Brad is Brand Manager at Eureka! Ranch with a true passion for education. As an Innovation Engineering educator, he is not only an executive education instructor, but has also taught Innovation Engineering for more then a few years at a university level while getting his undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering and while working on his Masters in Education. Brad is infamous in the Innovation Engineering community for being tough on all his students, no matter their age or job title. He routinely provides diversity and a critical eye to teams creating and improving ideas for innovative products, services, and systems Brad is an avid gamer who lives in the heart of Cincinnati, Ohio.

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