By Jim Wong, CPA | July 12, 2017

“Paychecks can’t buy passion.” –Brad Federman

Employee engagement has turned into a hot topic in recent history, specifically due to the rise in the number of millennials entering the workforce who generally thrive on company culture. A main component of a successful company culture usually revolves around leadership connecting with employees on a personal level – all the while offering an environment filled with training, work-life balance and plenty of recognition.

When it comes to recognition, there sometimes exists confusion between encouragement and praise. While both are a part of employee engagement, the first has to do with progress while the other has to do with achievement. As a leader, it’s important to know the difference and encourage your team members so that they can be as successful as possible. Once they accomplish success – then it’s time for praise.

I recently came across an interesting article in that covers why it’s necessary to encourage your teams and how to sincerely accomplish this. I decided to share a few points from the article along with some tips of my own in the 5 Ways to Effectively Encourage Your Employees below.

1. Be empathetic.
It’s important to talk with your team members and get a sense for how you can help them. Ask them what they need and pay attention to their responses. Once you reach out and show that you care, they will likely give you a sense of what they may need to be successful in their role. Displaying this type of initiative and observation will set you apart from other leaders and will prove effective for your team.

2. Coach them. 
Often times you’ll hear that the best leaders are like coaches. This analogy is true on many levels. First, a coach often works as a mentor and that’s what good leadership entails. Second, a coach can help them work through any frustrations by encouraging specific behaviors. Be sure to ask your team members questions along the way so that they can also develop their own decisions at the same time. Being a good coach can be very encouraging to an employee.

3. Recognize small wins.
You don’t have to wait for a monumental win to recognize your employees. In fact, acknowledging a small feat can be just as effective, and can really encourage an individual. When you show an employee that you’re paying attention to them and that you’re noticing their hard work, they’re likely to continue performing well – all the way to project completion and ultimately success.

4. Thank them. 
Similar to recognizing someone, thanking a person for their hard work can go a long way, especially if they’re not finished with a project or task. A person may be working extra hours in order to get a month-end close completed or a systems upgrade finished. As a leader, you might want to stop by their desks on your way out the door to say you appreciate their long hours and dedication. While this doesn’t change the fact that they have to stay late, it’ll likely make them feel more empowered to do so because of that encouragement.

5. Put them on stretch assignments. 
Giving your employees a project or task that is outside of their comfort zone will challenge their current skillsets in a good way and give them an opportunity to grow in their career. In order to be successful, they’ll need to learn new skills, possibly new technologies and make decisions that are potentially out of the norm for their current role. Trusting your employees to take on such assignments is a very encouraging action. They’ll likely tackle the task with determination – and end up successful.

What are some other ways to effectively encourage your employees? Comment below and let us know!

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