Ten Ways to Amaze your Employees

June 28, 2013 by  
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by Melinda Tunbridge, Director – Human Resources at Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) Australia

Melinda-TunbridgeAhhhh employees!

Whether you’re a people manager by choice or not, you are a leader of others and these guys can actually get up and go if you’re not doing it for them. Statistics show that more employees leave organisations because of their managers than any other reason! So love them or loathe them your employees are yours to inspire, motivate and cultivate. So here they are: 10 Ways to Amaze your Employees

1. Acknowledge Employees & their Great Work

People want to know that their work matters—that what they do is valued. An acknowledgment must be sincere or it has little value.

As a manager, taking credit for an idea or piece of work is a big no, no. There is nothing quite like acknowledging the great work someone in your team did & even bigger kudos if you’re Manager can find time to acknowledge the work too.

2. Stand up for Them

If employers don’t care about their people, it’s a matter of time until employees, in turn, don’t care.

If a member of your team is being singled out by anyone stand up for them quick smart. If they make a mistake, it’s up to other people to let you know and you can communicate that to the employee.

Never tolerate yelling, belittling or any other behavior you wouldn’t tolerate from a stranger on the street and if it ever does happen back your people every time. Even if it’s a customer. No exceptions.

3. Role Clarity

Tell people what you want them to do & give them boundaries, then let them go. Micromanaging? No, it’s called clear direction. Give people parameters so they can work within broad outlines & then trust people to get the job done.

4. Be consistent with your expectations.

So many times, I hear, “I wish my boss would deal with so & so.”
Hold people accountable in a way that is consistent & fair. There can be no doubt about what is and isn’t acceptable. Be timely and swift about it.

5. Say Thank You

Two simple little words that speak volumes at the end of the day or end of a project. Verbalise it or a quick note is super powerful way to have employees know you value & notice they are working and supporting you. A genuine thank you publically for a great job is an amazing motivator at the right time.
Its easy to flick a thank you emails, buy a pack of blank cards and keep them at the ready. You can even buy preprinted thank you post its! Jot a message down, stick it to the workstation! Two minutes, months of value gained.

6. Face Up to Your Mistakes

When you make a mistake at work, which everyone inevitably does at some point, face up to it. Acknowledge, fix & move on. Your team will be more inclined to take responsibility and come up with a solution to fix their own mistakes. You may not be wrapped about the mistake a team member has made but you will at least be impressed with their ownership & solution focused approach to fixing it. Your response will encourage people to fess up, not bury the mistakes.

7. Provide autonomy

Trust people to work through things in their own way and truly allow them to do it. Even if you don’t agree entirely with the approach. It’s all great development and you can go over other ideas and feedback as part of a debrief or if they come to you for advice.

Give them something interesting to work on. Trust them with opportunity. They may just surprise you and you may even learn something yourself.

8. Set employees up for success

Give them the clear direction, tools and clear roadblocks as necessary. Nobody wants to fail. Indecisive leaders who keep people in the wrong roles, set unrealistic goals, keep unproductive team members, or change direction unfairly just frustrate everybody and make people feel defeated.
Your job is to make it practical for people to succeed. When you do this, everybody wins.

9. Acknowledge the Whole Employee – family, pets, interests, and the lot

People spend a large part of their lives at work. Get to know their families & circumstances, their interests and so on. Allow them time to be flexible to work from home or leave early to pick up the kids or walk the dog. Whatever is important to them. If you provide the flexibility for people to manage their own time they will repay you in spades. Manage by outcomes, not hours in the office.

A really simple idea is to get people to commit a personal goal on their Development Plans in their Performance Plans. Then support them to attain it.

10. Walk the Talk – Always

No matter what you do as a leader, you are always on show. Leaders don’t get to have a bad day. You team will be looking to you for examples of what is and isn’t tolerated and how to behave. If your espousing one thing (i.e. coming to work on time) and doing another (i.e. always coming in late) you shoot your credibility down in one easy action. You’d be surprised what people notice.


Melinda Tunbridge is the current Director Human Resources for the Special Broadcasting Service ( SBS ).
Mel’s HR career spans 15 years, holding senior HR leadership roles within News Limited, Tabcorp Holdings, Jupiter’s Ltd & various State & Federal public organisations. She has also held executive operational positions outside of HR.

A thought provoking & proactive HR practitioner who prides herself in asking the tough questions and challenging the status quo. Mel’s approach is innovative and pragmatic, recognising the imperative of demonstrating ROI & commerciality in all HR activities. Her qualifications include a BA of Science, Masters Human Resources, Masters Industrial Relations, & an MBA.

Mel is married with a gorgeous baby girl named Eloise.