How to Bring Out the Best in Your Employees

Tips on improving company morale from Multifamily Insiders’ latest webinar.

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Multifamily property managers that harness the knowledge and power of their teams can make work a far happier experience for everyone. Employee morale is only strengthened when leaders learn and understand the experiences, strengths and interests of their team members.

“Millions of studies show that happier people get more work done, are more productive, are able to focus better, are better team members, are better managers, are promoted more often, and they make more money,” observed Chelsea Kneeland, director of research and development at J Turner Research.

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Kneeland was the host of Multifamily Insiders’ latest webinar “Investing in Employee Morale Pays Off,” suggesting some techniques on improving employee engagement and fostering an environment that brings out the best in every team member.

What Gets Them Pumped?

She noted a recent Gallup research study determined that one of the top reasons employees leave their jobs is to improve their career development opportunities. Managers can boost employee morale by providing additional development opportunities to team members and to themselves. It starts with understanding the unique strengths and interests of team members, as well identifying employees that excel at particular tasks.

“Take some time to really understand what it is that’s making them excited to come to work. What are the activities that they do that just light them up? What gets them pumped?” she asked.

She advised property managers and team members to create “Love It” and “Loathe It” lists. Sharing their Love Its can reveal what everyone truly enjoys about their job and things that are amazing about the workplace. Leaders can use Loath Its to uncover tasks or aspects of the work that they or individual team members just do not like.

“We can come up with creative solutions within the confines of our job to take some of those things that we loathe off of our list. Maybe something that we loathe about our work, someone else loves,” Kneeland pointed out.

One Degree Turn

Investing in Employee Morale. Image courtesy of Multifamily Insiders

If they are involved in an endeavor at work that must be completed, leaders and team members can take small steps toward doing something that they enjoy, easing the effort.

“Can we make a one degree turn by saying, ‘When I do my reports, I’m going to close the door to my office, I’m going to turn up the music and just get down to business,’” she wondered.

Leaders create trust by building strong relationships with their team members. According to the ADP Research Institute, team members who said they trusted their team leader were 12 times more likely to be fully engaged at work. When employees trust each other, they get more accomplished, have more fun and are excited to be there.

Leaders can also cultivate employee morale by thinking more about paying attention to their team members than by providing feedback about their work. According to Kneeland, feedback tends to be heavily skewed toward the negative. She referenced Marcus Buckingham who, in his book “Nine Lies About Work,” observed that feedback is based on everyone’s own perspective and their own lenses.

“When people are giving someone feedback, they are seeing this through their own experience, their own life’s path. My version of what hard work is might be incredibly different from yours. My idea of procrastination might be incredibly different from yours. Everything that we experience, we experience differently through our own lens,” she said.

Supervisors that pay positive attention to their teams significantly increase employee engagement and morale, and the increased interest makes everyone feel seen and acknowledged. Kneeland referenced the Hawthorne Effect, in which workers’ productivity increased because of the attention they received, not because of changes to their work environment, such as better lighting or warmer or colder temperatures.

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