A disengaged employee is less likely to perform at her peak potential and is more likely to be unhappy— dangerously so. Low morale is a slow poison, and its effects are especially pronounced in customer hyper-focused niches like SasS and specialty retail. So how can you take that indifference and turn it into innovation?
The good news is that indifference is correctable. The solution is to strengthen your company culture.
Define the people ops manifesto
A solid set of goals will make it infinitely easier to set guidelines and innovate accordingly. A common saying heard among the entrepreneurial set is to start with the end in mind. The same thing applies in leadership— define your goal, and with your team, work toward that.
Invest in 1-on-1 time
Find out what your team really thinks! Brainstorming in a group setting is great, but there’s no replacement for honest 1-on-1 time with each member of your team. Chances are, they’re brimming with ideas, and they want to be heard. Yup— even the quiet ones. If you don’t already put regular individual check-ins on the calendar, it’s time to start.
Support your team in their pursuits for personal and professional growth. Exposure to fresh ideas and new experiences leads to increased intellectual savvy. You’ll also benefit from a more empathetic, and thus engaged, team. Encourage conference and meetup attendance in employees’ areas of expertise, and consider offering reimbursement for courses and other training opportunities.
Evaluate work-life policies and benefits
What perks can you extend that support your team that are in line with company culture? What do you currently offer, and how are those things valuable to your employees? Would a ping-pong table or unlimited beer on tap (after hours only, of course) do it for your team? Would an office upgrade perk do the trick? Flex time? A cleaning service allowance? Think about what you can do that will lead to a positive happiness ROI. I guarantee you that the return will be measurable via employee performance.
Improvement is innovation.
The clearest path to success starts with always doing better. Strive to be the leader that you would want to work under. Respect the skills and talents your employees bring to the table, nurture their best work, and you’ll find that you’re not just improving— you’re always innovating.