Employees are your company’s best asset. From the admin assistant to the CEO, every employee’s personal effectiveness affects the organization’s performance. Establishing a culture that recognizes and awards personal development through teaching and training is important to create a positive work environment. Give your employees the tools and the time, and they’ll increase their accountability, self-efficacy and improve the organizations overall effectiveness.
Art of Communication
Believe it or not, many employees find day-to-day interaction with coworkers, peers and managers a bit tricky. Not knowing how to listen is often the biggest barrier to effective communication. Teaching employees active listening skills through role playing improves efficiency and reduces misinterpretation, all essential for success in the workplace.
Pair employees, one the speaker, the other the listener. The listener should: make direct eye contact with the speaker, block out distracting thoughts, not mentally formulate a response and block out distractions like other conversations, noises or where she’s going for lunch. Through body language, the listener should acknowledge the speaker through nods and facial expressions. Have employees switch roles. Active listening is an important tool you can teach employees for improving personal effectiveness and coworker relationships.
Power of Negotiation
Most employees would rather be seen in their bikini at an office pool party than negotiate a salary increase with the boss, or bargain with a vendor over a price increase. The skill of negotiation doesn't come natural to everybody, but it’s a skill that every employee should learn to improve your organization’s productivity, probability and their own personal working relationships. Invite a skilled negotiator to “perform” successful and not so successful negotiation scenarios, then incorporate role playing exercises with employees to practice negotiation situations relevant to their own job function. Refining persuasion and bargaining skills improves the chances that your employees can settle disputes and resolve conflicts in their favor.
Schmoozing at an industry meeting can be enough to make the most seasoned professional break out in a cold sweat. Face-to-face mingling with unfamiliar people can be scary, but it’s a necessary skill for any employee. Networking training can teach employees how to appropriately present or accept business cards, approach strangers, and make a good first impression, all of which increases personal confidence. To teach networking skills, ask each employee to create an “elevator” speech about herself. Through a role playing setting, ask employees to imagine they’re at an industry association meeting and their goal is to mingle with three other individuals and practice asking and answering the ‘who you are’ and’ what do you do’ questions. This exercise helps employees conduct themselves more confidently in business and social occasions with people of different cultural and social backgrounds.
Making Time Matter
It’s difficult to find a job description that doesn’t require the applicant to “handle multiple projects at one time.” An employee’s capability to identify work goals and successfully accomplish them is influenced greatly by efficient management of time. With time management sills, you can help your team members change their work habits to improve focus, make smart decisions, reduce stress, lessen time off, and help decrease work overload, all of which increases morale and employee effectiveness. Consider hiring a time management professional to teach employees to use aids like a daily activity schedule to log priorities from highest to lowest, protect their time and effectively manage email inbox's, and practice not answering the phone just because it’s ringing. With time management aids, employees can maximize productivity if they can separate the important from not important, strike an appropriate work-life balance, and gain better planning skills.
Based in Wilmington, N.C., Melissa Warren has been writing professionally for more than 10 years. Her work has appeared in “Our State” magazine and other regional publications. Warren holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a certificate in professional writing from the University of North Carolina in Wilmington.