In today’s global market, with its global workforce, your company’s most important asset isn’t data, technology, equipment, or even intellectual property. Your company’s most valuable and important capital is the people — your human capital.
Today’s business landscape is dynamic and continuously changing.
Its knowledge economy and rapid evolutionary pace see businesses come and go, falling by the wayside. Successful businesses today know that their employees provide their business with a competitive advantage.
They are an intangible part of your business, championing your business in today’s competitive global landscape. Yet, in today’s business landscape, this single most important asset is often underused and underdeveloped.
It is often said that “employees are a company’s greatest asset.” We hear this phrase often, and with good reason, yet many businesses fail to foster a company culture that enables their employees to develop into their full potential.
So how do you encourage your workforce to grow towards their full potential? The leading training institute in Dubai suggests five important ways:
1. Focus on creating a growth culture
With today’s business environment as complex, volatile, and competitive as it is, many companies demand much from their employees.
But, this focus on building a performance culture is resulting in overwhelmed employees — employees with compromised capacity and inability to work.
A company built on performance is unsustainable.
Its beginning growth may be exponential, but this desire to quickly fuel results creates a zero-sum game. Employees are categorized as “succeeding” or “failing.” Those with failures and shortcomings are weeded out, resulting in high turnover rates.
Rather than building a performance culture, focus on a culture of growth.
A workplace culture of growth and learning
Results still matter in a growth culture, but that is not the only indicator of success. Employees aren’t categorized as “winners” or “losers.” Success is still rewarded, but those with shortcomings are provided opportunities to learn and improve.
A growth culture invests in both successes and failures. But establishing a growth-oriented culture means support from the top is critical. Leaders and management must serve as role models, emphasizing a focus on continuous learning and feedback.
By fostering a culture of growth, employees are equally challenged and nurtured. This encourages employees to grow within the company, celebrating both successes and failures, enabling employees to feel engaged and motivated.
2. Implement a coaching scheme
To fully realize your employees’ full potential, make coaches available.
Just as any top athlete needs a coach, so do your employees. Coaches will help your team perform at their absolute peak, enhancing their ability to perform.
Embracing both external and internal coaching programs provides your employees with an additional resource to exponentially increase their performance capacity. The benefits of implementing a coaching scheme include:
- Strengthens employee skills
- Upskills knowledge and technical know-how
- Addresses performance problems
- Boosts productivity
- Develops a deep bench of talent
- Makes more effective use of company resources
- Improves employee retention
From an employee’s perspective, a coaching program, particularly an external one, creates a safe environment where they are free to ask questions to gain an outside perspective.
External coaches provide a platform free of prejudice and employees do not run the risk of endangering their career progression within the company. Meanwhile, internal mentorship programs elevate the quality of work and overall productivity in the workplace.
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3. Provide constructive feedback
While a growth culture and implementing a coaching program is vital to your employees’ ability to realize their potential, such programs can’t succeed without constructive feedback.
Feedback provides a platform for recognition, both good and bad.
Feedback helps recognize talent and opportunities for those underperforming to succeed. Feedback empowers employees to feel valued, enabling them to perform at the highest levels.
Constructive feedback can serve as a catalyst, motivating employees to perform better and make better decisions. But, feedback is a two-way street.
As employees can use feedback as a tool for continuous learning, management can also benefit from feedback. Hearing your team’s perspective on how you lead can challenge you to learn and grow while addressing shortcomings you previously may not have known you had.
By effectively listening to your team, you show your team you value their feedback, motivating them to become more engaged in the workplace.
4. Understand what motivates your team
Employee motivation has a direct correlation to performance. A more motivated employee results in higher performance. Likewise, a disengaged employee is less likely to positively contribute to their workplace.
Employees who are highly motivated produce the following results:
- Increased productivity
- Higher levels of output
- Improved employee satisfaction
- Increased employee commitment
- Improved employee efficiency
- Increased employee performance
So just how can you motivate your team to reap these benefits?
Compensation is often the most frequently used motivator to encourage employees to go that “extra mile.” But while having more money is nice, it’s not enough to motivate employees.
An employee’s hierarchy of needs
According to a recent study that surveyed 500+ organizations and over 200,000 people, money didn’t even rank in the top five reasons employees perform at the highest levels.
As the survey results found, the main motivator to encourage employees to realize their full potential was camaraderie with their peers.
Armed with this knowledge in mind, the best way to motivate your team to realize their potential is through empowerment.
Businesses should strive to enable employees to have more say in their jobs. This will provide a foundation of trust based on open communication, a necessary component in today’s diverse business landscape.
It’s also important to have an open-door policy and prioritize work-life balance. Allow your employees to lead and provide avenues like volunteering initiatives that allow them to build camaraderie and understand a wider scope of the business.
Lastly, successes and accomplishments should be rewarded with positive feedback and incentivized. Employees that feel like they’re making a difference and are valued continue to positively contribute, going above and beyond what’s expected of them.
5. Set reasonable goals
Goal setting is crucial for making improvements in the workplace setting.
Asking for the impossible for your employees diminishes their ability to perform. But having clearly defined, reasonable goals and achievable expectations push your employees towards success.
Setting attainable and realistic goals motivates your employees to increase their effort, boosting performance. Strong goals influence workers’ behavior, decreasing on-job leisure and improving how they approach tasks.
Goal setting is two-fold: personal and organizational.
Setting SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely) goals can help your business evaluate the performance of both your employees and your business.
Personal development goals
Personal development goals that are specifically defined can sufficiently challenge your workforce, encouraging personal growth and improvement. The benefit of personal development goals lies in the effort it takes to achieve each goal.
By setting individualized goals, employees improve productivity, workplace camaraderie, and knowledge, skills, and effective working practices. Personal development goals allow employees to take pride in their work and their role in the overall business structure.
Accomplishing each goal provides a sense of self-fulfillment, self-awareness, and a sense of direction in each employee’s respective career paths.
Examples of personal development goals to implement in the workplace include:
- Improve relationships with peers and colleagues at work
- Increase knowledge of the industry, competitors, and clients
- Acquire conflict resolution skills
- Gain constructive feedback from team members on a quarterly basis
- Improve presentation skills
- Gain an in-depth perspective of departmental and company structures
Company-wide goal alignment
The skills of your employees can also be leveraged to achieve your company’s overall strategic goals. For small- to mid-sized enterprises (SMEs), having company-wide goal alignment allows employees to serve at their fullest potential.
With SMEs unable to compete when it comes to infrastructure, financial resources, or technology, employees must be the differentiating factor in increasing a company’s productivity, and ultimately, profitability.
This is where company-wide goal alignment comes in.
Unlike personal development goals, company-wide goals are threefold; long, medium, and short-term. Each aspect must be well-articulated and communicated to the team to inspire a productive and engaged work culture.
Strategic practices that can be implemented company-wide include:
- Accountability and milestones to track progress
- Playbooks to track key metrics
- The use of a proactive dashboard to focus on metrics and data
- Weekly department meetings to ensure everyone is on the same page
- Collaborative project management tools to track department-specific goals
- Time tracking tools to marshal resources more effectively
Aligning both goal setting frameworks ensures employees are set for success. Following the SMART goals, the process provides employees with a laser-sharp focus on what must be attained to maximize productivity, profitability, and potential.
Just remember, avoid setting too many goals (personal and organizational) at once. This may produce detrimental results and contribute to mental fatigue or burnout.
Realizing your employees’ full potential
The success of your business is determined by one asset: human capital.
Managing this asset requires more than simply demanding more from it or driving it to work harder. In fact, doing so will often have the reverse, the desired effect, resulting in the business netting negative results.
In today’s global labor market, businesses must strive to find the right working methods and management techniques to derive more value from their workforce.
The key strategies highlighted above enable businesses to create a winning corporate culture that transforms their team into highly motivated, dedicated, and performance-oriented employees.
The strategies above are a snapshot of success, allowing businesses to fully realize their employees’ potential.
When employers encourage growth in their employees, employees, in turn, deliver stronger results, sustaining the company’s momentum towards profitability and growth.
With over 20 years of experience in B2B marketing, Annick Nuyens first worked in the hospitality service industry and then moved to the knowledge industry. She currently works for Informa in the Dubai office, where she oversees marketing for public and in-house training courses, conferences, exhibitions and managed events across the Middle East and Africa.