8 Ways Effective Leaders Improve Employee Success

Dave Cherrie
December 2, 2022

Employee success can be approached two ways: You can view it as giving your team the best experience during their time working with you, or you can view it as a set of resources and initiatives to enable team members to achieve their best work.

Either way you look at it, employee success really comes down to a solid foundation of support and enablement. 

No matter how large your team or company is, you shouldn’t approach the success of your employees blindly. Having a strategic plan in place benefits your team members and your business.

Learn why employee success is critical to the success of your company, and check out our tips on ways leaders can boost worker success.

How employee success enables business success

If it’s not clear already, your employees’ success is tied directly to your business's success. After all, successful employees lead to:

Employee engagement and growth, in particular, are two major areas of impact within overall employee success.

“Engagement equals discretionary effort, which equals higher business outcomes for the same amount of dollars. It is ROI at its finest — and the best possible return on investment for your human capital. And that is incredibly powerful,” says Heather Whiteman, a people analytics professor at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.

And employees who believe they’re progressing in their career at your company are 20% more likely to stay — a huge deal since replacing a trained employee tends to cost about 200% of their salary.

What does employee success mean for your business?

You’re ready to invest in your employees and boost success — great! But what does that mean for your team and company?

First things first, it means you should reassess your hiring process and make sure you’re not only sharing an impression of your company culture with prospective recruits but also vetting them as good culture fits. 

It also means hiring the right people for the right tasks — this ensures happier and more satisfied employees and a more successful business. Therefore it’s critical to team up with human resources to ensure they’re on the same page when creating job descriptions and interviewing new employees.

New hires should also get immersed in company culture during onboarding. In fact, your culture should influence the entire employee experience from their initial interview to their last day. 

Train team managers on mentorship skills and give them access to resources for improving employee engagement and providing development opportunities. Thoughtful employee recognition and reward programs can also boost engagement. An employee reward platform like Arcade makes it easy for each team member to select rewards that mean the most — and motivate them most.

Overall, developing a culture that supports employee success involves the implementation of matching company values and initiatives that put those values to work.

How to create an employee success plan

The end goal of any good employee success plan should be the growth of both your workers and your company. When they succeed, the business succeeds.

To start crafting your employee success plan, first consider company goals and how your plan can align with them. Identify any gaps in employee skills, then determine how you can match employee growth opportunities with business goals.

For example, if your team is growing quickly, you may identify a need for more employees with leadership training to fill new managerial roles. Figure out who would be the best fit for those roles, then offer leadership training opportunities along with career advancement. Be sure employees engaged in leadership training fully understand the expectations that come with this opportunity.

In a nutshell, to craft an effective employee success plan, take the following actions:

  • Outline what employee success looks like at your business
  • Communicate career growth paths and development opportunities to employees
  • Consult your team members regarding the performance goals they want to reach
  • Once goals are established, communicate them to business leaders
  • Match growth opportunities with individual performance goals and overarching business objectives
  • Ensure employees clearly understand expectations and requirements for success
  • Support your employees with fair pay, training opportunities, access to resources, and clear, frequent feedback

8 Tips to actively enable employee success

Having a plan in place is a great first step, and there are other ways you can enable employee success. These include:

1. Convey company culture from hire to exit

Team up with HR leaders and ensure their team is clearly defining the company’s culture during interviews. This allows future employees to better gauge whether they can succeed and perform well at your company.

At the same time, interviewers should also ask questions that help the hiring team determine if the prospective recruit is a good culture fit.

And once someone is hired on, culture shouldn’t get thrown out the window. After all, company culture directly impacts retention and productivity just like employee success does — plus, it improves happiness.

2. Open your door to feedback

Regular check-ins with your employees help you keep tabs on any swings in sentiment, mood, and engagement. 

While it’s important to schedule regular one-on-one meetings with everyone you manage, you can also gather feedback through surveys. 

These surveys can be as simple as a custom Google Form, or you can invest in employee feedback tools like Culture Amp, TinyPulse, or Qualtrics. (Many of these also come with survey templates to help you ask the right questions.)

3. Communicate effectively

The importance of clear and transparent communication can never be overemphasized. When communication fails, relationships break down, employees become demotivated, and productivity ceases.

Make sure you’re forthcoming when communicating with your employees. Don’t sugarcoat challenges. Instead, give your employees a clear picture of what they face and the path to conquering it.

In terms of employee success, communication is critical when it comes to outlining expectations and goals — but this communication should go both ways. Sit down and have a conversation with your workers so they can contribute to creating their goals and personalizing their strategy for getting there.

4. Motivate your team

Recognition makes a huge impact on your team’s motivation. Publicly acknowledge each team member’s contributions and achievements — unless they prefer private recognition. This shows that you care about your employees’ growth and are just as excited about their success as they are.

On top of recognition, an effective rewards program can keep motivation high. The best rewards are personalized, which means you might want to skip handing out Starbucks gift cards and instead poll your employees to find out what they really want.

5. Encourage collaboration

Cross-team collaboration is incredibly beneficial to all involved. Not only does it keep different teams informed, but it also allows co-workers to build relationships with each other.

For example, your marketing and sales teams can actively collaborate and share information that’s integral to both teams’ success. This includes important client information and upcoming marketing campaigns that could lead to new conversations with customers.

Collaboration can also help small teams feel like a part of the bigger picture by breaking down silos. This, in turn, can improve employee engagement.

6. Focus on employee wellness

Employee well-being may seem like a trend born from the recent pandemic, but most surveys, like the 2022 State of Engagement report from Workday, show that the focus on wellness is here to stay.

Many workers report that a lack of work-life balance, as well as everyday stress, is still taking a toll on their mental health. Research from Gallup shows that employee stress continued to rise in 2022, with 44% of workers experiencing “a lot of daily stress.”

It’s clear that leaders and companies should invest in well-being if they want to bolster employee success. As Gallup says in their State of the Global Workplace report, “The relationship between well-being and engagement is vital because how people experience work influences their lives outside work, and overall wellbeing influences life at work.”

7. Provide training and learning opportunities

A whopping 76% of employees surveyed by TalentLMS said they’re more likely to stay at a company that offers learning opportunities. 

That means top talent is actively looking for these benefits. Learning and development initiatives also keep your company competitive by addressing skill gaps and helping your workers stay ahead of changes in their industry.

While we’re on the topic of employee development, don’t forget the importance of soft-skills training. The same survey by TalentLMS found that eight out of 10 employees value soft-skills training offered by their company.

8. Give employees the support they need

A 2022 report by Kincentric found that only 50% of employees believe their company has sufficient staff to get work done. Without the appropriate resources and tools, employees become demotivated and burn out more quickly. 

However, a lack of staff could evolve into growth opportunities. If your team members want to evolve their skills or move into a different role, this could benefit both the company and the individual by providing a chance to learn.

This type of employee empowerment leads to more confident, skilled, and satisfied workers.

As a team leader, you’re a major influence on your employees’ success. It’s critical that you empower, engage, and recognize your workers, as well as frequently communicate with them and make room for growth.

Similar to providing your team with the tools and resources they need, don’t leave yourself out to dry when it comes to employee success. Book a free demo and find out how Arcade can boost motivation and engagement, as well as automate a personalized rewards program.

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