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Employee Development - How to Build a Team of High Performers

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So you think you’ve got a pretty good team around you. Well, what if they had hidden potential that you’re just not tapping into? Are they cruising - and could they be soaring?

A great way to stimulate your employees and improve everyone’s productivity, is to tap into hidden capabilities - the leadership skills they might be keeping under wraps, out of modesty or lack of opportunity.

You’re the boss! Create that opportunity! Because you’d be mad not to.

Turning staff into leaders doesn’t happen overnight, and it’s important to get cracking. Whether you’re managing a small team or a substantial department, here’s five ways to go about it.

 

1. SHARE THE VISION - AND THE PASSION

What is your company’s vision? And how is it reflected in your company’s culture? You can have the best strategic direction in the world, but if it doesn’t filter down to the people putting it in place, you’re going nowhere. Share what you’re trying to do. Include them in decisions and give them influence. It gives them a reason to step things up and take on responsibility.

 

2. LET THEM LEAD!

The perfect way to turn employees into leaders is to give them the floor. Know someone who’s got lots to say? Let them run a meeting! They’ll need to write an agenda, present their ideas, coordinate everyone else’s input. Remind them it’s not all about them - they need to let others have their say too. Whether it’s face-to-face or video conferencing, leading a meeting boosts your employees’ confidence and gives them a sense of control.

 

3. BE OPEN TO IDEAS

There are no ‘bad’ ideas. There’s brainstorming, there’s thinking out loud, there’s talking things through. Encourage everyone to have their say. Keep an open mind - no matter how mad the idea sounds, welcome it! You might not run with it, but nobody should ever be made to feel foolish for speaking up. Make it clear that making a contribution is valued. Your employees will feel confident that their opinion will at least be listened to - even if management doesn’t always agree with them.

 

4. SPICE IT UP AND MAKE IT FUN

Ever get those days when you’d just love to be out of the office? You can bet your team does too. So hold a meeting in the park! We spend a lot of our time at work - variety can add spice, ideas and initiative.

Set up a social club and ask them to come up with events - contests, office sweepstakes quizzes and competitions all add to the excitement, and prizes are appreciated.

Does your logo need revitalising? Could your branding be more zesty? Is there a newsletter or product that needs a new name? A bit of healthy competition gets people working together and involved in the company vision - with a sense of ownership when their ideas are adopted. The more engaged your team is, the more leadership qualities they grow.

 

5. GIVE CONSTRUCTIVE FEEDBACK

The best ideas don’t always come from the boss. Once you’ve encouraged your employees to bring their ideas to the party, make sure they’re valued. Talk their ideas through. Give them constructive feedback - how will their idea work, and what aspects need more thought? Take the time to consider all angles, give them praise and make it clear you’re taking their thoughts on board. If they know how serious you are about improving their work, they’ll be more ambitious, more innovative, and more productive.

That’s five ways to tap into potential, nurture their talents, create opportunity and hear them roar!

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Why Your Next Hire Should Be An Office Dog

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It’s official – having a dog around the office is good for you. Studies show it can improve your work life balance, boost productivity and morale, make employees more trusting of one another, inspire creativity, and even lower stress levels.

So far so easy. When it comes to choosing a canine friend, that needs more thought.

Here’s the rundown on what breeds are best suited to office life, how to manage them around the desk and the photocopier, and three reasons why your next team member should have four legs.

 

DOGS LOWER STRESS LEVELS

The presence of a dog is now proven scientifically as one of the ways to manage stress in the workplace! Researchers from the University of Buffalo measured the stress levels of 48 stockbrokers in New York City. Half were being treated with a hypertension drug, and half were given a dog. Those with the four legged friends were found to have more stable blood pressure and lower heart rates. Waggy tails all round.  

DOGS RAISE MORALE

A major dog food manufacturer’s report Pets at Work revealed that employees who brought their dog to the office considered it a better perk than coffee or a parking spot. Eight out of ten of those surveyed said it made them feel happier, more relaxed and more social.

Which brings us to our next point...


OFFICE DOGS ENCOURAGE TEAM BONDING

Teamwork is a crucial foundation for a thriving, sustainable business. The benefit of a dog in the office is that they are naturally social creatures who are happy to bond with new human friends – and help the humans form bonds too. Team members who may not usually speak to one another have the opportunity to break the ice over their mutual affection for the office pooch.

Taking a dog out for lunchtime walks or a game in the park goes a long way towards building camaraderie, and it’s a great way to integrate new team members into the company culture.

 

THE 5 BEST OFFICE DOGS

Some dogs are suited to the office better than others. Picking the right one usually comes down to the type of working environment you’re in, and the dog’s personality.

  1. Beagle

Charming, social, smart and affectionate, the qualities that make beagles a family favourite also make them a top choice as an office dog. With a preference for human contact over wide-open spaces, beagles thrive in an office environment. As curious as they are social, they will follow their nose throughout the entire space, making it easy for everyone to interact with them during the day. Quick tip – keep your trash cans out of reach, or make sure they have sturdy lids.

  1. Labrador

According to recent statistics from the RSPCA, Labradors are the third most claimed breed in Australia. It’s no wonder why, considering this breed has buckets of charisma and charm to spare. Friendly, happy and loyal to a fault, they’re never more content than when they’re by our side. That said, they’re also comfortable entertaining themselves or lounging nearby while you do your work. Due to their intelligence and obedience, they’re very easy to train, which makes them great little helpers around the office.

  1. Pug

An obvious choice for wining over the entire office, these wrinkly-faced creatures might come in a small package, but they’re big on personality. As loving and energetic as they are, they can also be a quiet presence. They won’t bark at every sound, which makes getting work done much easier, and they love nothing more than a little TLC.

  1. Boxer

Boxers might look intimidating from afar, but when you get up close and personal they’re one of the most loving and playful breeds around. Naturally high-spirited, a boxer’s personality will make it the life of the office – and a great distraction from mind-numbing or stressful tasks. Better suited to a bigger workplace, boxers love being part of the pack - the bigger the office is, the more enjoyment they will get.

  1. Mixed breed

Re-homing a dog from the local pound or the RSPCA is a philanthropic and humane undertaking – and can pay you dividends in love and loyalty. A reputable organisation such as the RSPCA has dogs checked by a vet, de-sexed and brought up to date on vaccinations. Staff who care for it will tell you about its character. Give a dog-in-need a safe, caring and welcoming home – or office – and you’ll have the most devoted recruit you’re ever likely to make.

 

HOW TO DOG-PROOF THE OFFICE

Once you’ve decided to bring a dog into the office, you’ll need to make the space suitable. Some dogs love chewing things, so make sure any loose electrical wires are taped down and personal belongings are out of reach. Consider getting closed waste containers, as dogs love nothing more than following their noses and rummaging for treats. For your dog’s safety, make sure there is nothing harmful or toxic in the office – including certain plants or food items, office cleaners, highlighters and pens. If you don’t want the dog wandering into areas such as meeting rooms, simply make sure you’ve blocked them off properly.

 

READY TO HIRE YOUR NEW EMPLOYEE?

Having a dog around the office can make for a better working culture. Even just petting them will make you happy and reduce stress. The type of dog you pick will depend on where you work and the kind of space you have. But just know that the breeds mentioned above are adaptable to most office situations – as long as there are people around willing to interact with them. So do your research, dog-proof the office, and put a furry new face on the payroll.

 

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Upskilling Your Team: How to Future-Proof Your Workplace

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Upskilling your team is a win-win. You get a more productive and loyal workplace, while your employees gain valuable skills and take on more responsibility. Put simply, it’s an easy and effective way to future-proof your business. But if you don’t know where to start, here are some areas to focus on.

HEALTH AND SAFETY

Training your staff in workplace health and safety is more than about ticking regulatory boxes. It’s about demonstrating how committed you are to their development and safety, as well as providing them with essential life skills. When your team is aware of risks and dangers in the workplace, they’re in a much better position to prevent accidents from happening, and react appropriately in emergency situations.

The great thing is, investing in training works both ways. Your employees feel safer, healthier, and more empowered. This makes them more productive, and less likely to run into trouble (which can cost you greatly). It doesn’t matter if you’re running a construction company, or a startup in a small office, there are risks in every workplace. And the more your team are aware of these, the safer your business will be – now and in the future.

BECOMING ACCOUNTABLE FOR INTEREST SECURITY 

Securing your business from cybersecurity threats often starts with employee education. The sad truth is, there are scammers and hackers determined to access your sensitive data and use it against you. And while having a strong firewall system in place goes a long way in protecting your business, training your staff in Internet security is equally as important.

But the thing is, unless your team understands the range of threats out there and how these can affect them – not just the business – they are less likely to care about data security, privacy policies, intellectual property, and data breaches.

To get started, make sure cybersecurity training is regular and mandatory. Your team should know how to identity basic threats such as phishing emails, and understand that passwords should never be shared. They should also be well versed on all the latest security threats, and be aware of the fact that many breaches are caused by human error. If they understand that scammers and ransomware don’t only target bosses, but employees too, they’ll be more inclined to pay attention.

Giving your team a healthy dose of cybersecurity education not only benefits the safety of your workplace, it arms them with actionable information to use in the office – and at home.  

LEARNING HOW TO NETWORK EFFICIENTLY 

While giving your team the tools and opportunities to network will expand their career prospects, it also helps your business connect with potential clients, learn new insights about the industry, and even gain new employees.

In an increasingly digital world, networking is often achieved online. To make the most of this, invest in training workshops in how to use online platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter. Train them in how to write industry articles that attract attention, why it’s important to share their accomplishments, and how to connect with influencers and peers. With the right motivation and guidance, even the shyest of employers can learn how to network effectively.

You should also think about sending your team to conferences. This gives them a chance to get out of the office, meet new people, get excited and energetic about the industry, and even find new business. Not only does this inspire purpose and responsibility, it gives them valuable professional skills too. And the truth is, the more connected your employees are, the more connected your business is.

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