In an increasingly tight job market, many companies who have become complacent in areas of their business are suddenly finding their staff flying out the door to pursue new opportunities in the market. Employee retention directly affects profitability and productivity in your business and is a skill that requires intentionality in building a positive and thriving workplace culture.
One of the most successful and scientifically proven ways to increase productivity, combat complacency, and increase the overall happiness levels in your workplace, comes from the most accessible resource in the market… encouragement.
In his book Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships, Daniel Goleman explains that when we receive encouragement, the prefrontal activity in our brains is heightened, which enhances, ‘…creative thinking, cognitive flexibility, and the processing of information.’
Not only are our brains more able to process information, developing a culture of encouragement also boosts long-term work engagement levels. In a study conducted by Gallup Organisation, businesses with low employee engagement scores said they experienced 18% lower productivity, 16% lower profitability and 37% lower job growth. Notably, companies with highly engaged employees enjoyed 100% more job applications.
So how do you cultivate a culture of encouragement in your business? We’ve put together our top five pointers:
1. Be specific
Put some thought into why and what you are encouraging the person for, and get specific. Psychologist Dr. Wayne Nemeroff, CEO and co-founder of PsyMax Solutions suggests , “Recall a particular situation and describe a specific behaviour; acknowledge the impact the behaviour or action had on the group or the project or the action or on you.”
2. Be authentic
This one’s simple. People can tell when you’re being sincere. Authentic encouragement goes a whole lot further than a forced statement that you don’t really mean. When you start to turn your focus in this direction and set regular encouragement as a goal, you’ll be surprised how many genuine opportunities you’ll have to encourage a fellow staff member or employee.
3. Celebrate progress over perfection
Celebrating wins is always a good thing but what leaders often miss, is the opportunity to celebrate progress rather than praising perfection or the finished outcome. If an employee is actively moving toward their goals, showing initiative or consistency, celebrate these things and make sure to do it in front of others.
When your staff see you publicly celebrating an employee, it not only gives them the opportunity to join in and contribute to the praise, but also shows them that their efforts are not going unseen. This type of encouragement motivates your staff in the mundane tasks that are ultimately building together to make the big wins happen. It also makes the larger goals seem more achievable.
4. Say thank you
One of the most simple ways to encourage your staff is to say thank you when they do something that serves the business well. If you see them go out of their way for another staff member, stay back late, problem solve etc, take the time to sincerely thank them for their efforts so they know that their work is valued and appreciated. Rewarding positive behaviour, even with a simple thank you, encourages repetition.
Food and coffee are also great ways to say thanks.
5. Do it often
Consistency is what builds habits. Your employees will copy the behaviour they see, and the best way for them to see encouragement often, is to do it often! With consistency and genuine repetition, encouragement will start to become a part of your everyday culture and productivity, creative thinking, and innovation will flow.
There’s nothing holding you back, get started today!