Coming from the gray, cold, stark winter, the colors of spring are a welcome sight. Those bright colors peeking out of the ground or budding above our heads can instantly change a mood. Suddenly your neighborhood or park is filled with runners, clusters of moms and dads out with their kids, dogs frolicking…basically, you suddenly live in a Norman Rockwell painting.
The kind of feeling that Spring brings is unlike any other. With every plant in bloom, before the allergy attacks take hold, everything is beautiful and anything is possible. So how do you capture that spring sensation and bring it to your work environment? How can you help yourself and others bloom where they are planted, especially after a bleak “winter” period?
Taking some time to evaluate what you have in place to help your current talent reach their potential is a valuable exercise. Today’s inside sales rep, content writer, web designer, account manager, or customer service representative could be tomorrow’s VP, owner, or CEO. Promoting internally often leads to having someone in charge that understands how the company works from the bottom up because they’ve been there. That’s a kind of loyalty you can’t buy. So what does it take to help them grow? Pretty much what it takes for the flower to bloom: sunshine, water, and the right climate.
If an individual is doing a stellar job, going above and beyond, closing deals, killing it creatively, or just out working or out-performing others, you need to let that individual bask in the sun a little. Let them know you notice, offer some encouraging words, acknowledge their efforts, and praise them publicly when appropriate. It costs nothing and can be the difference between someone continuing to try and someone going through the motions.
Just as plants need water to grow, you will need to offer opportunities for employees to boost their existing skills, learn new skills, or practice their capabilities so they can improve. The worst place they can “practice” is on clients, so be sure to provide ample chances for them to improve outside of the workplace, whether that’s through online classes, webinars, or in person courses, seminars, and conferences. They will get stronger the more they do, so don’t cut them off when they’re thirsting for more.
Finally, the right environment is critical to growth. Just as a tulip will not survive in the desert, the wrong workplace environment can lead to individuals shriveling up and fading away. The environment can be affected by everything from décor to coworkers. Take a look around and make sure that impediments to growth are removed and any tokens of encouragement are added. Toxic people who are a constant negative influence, broken or inefficient equipment, dirty offices, clutter, etc. can be weighing down your most talented workers, preventing them from sharing all they have to give. Free snacks, coffee, off-site get togethers, potlucks, and so much more can be small gestures that show how much you value your people.
Paying attention to your office culture, checking in to see what can be done to improve it, will pay dividends as your employees see that you care. It’s time to put winter behind us, both inside and out. Welcome Spring and all that blooms in it!