We should treat all employees the same, right? Equal treatment across the board? After all, it is what Human Resources practices are built on – the ability to impartially manage the needs of individuals while meeting the goals of the organization.
We attempt to foster an environment that is characterized by equal treatment. And that sounds like the right thing to do. Yet, when you strive to create a diverse culture of engagement and innovation – treating every employee the same doesn’t get you there. It is your ability to manage the needs of individual employees while providing them with a unique career development path that leaves your team feeling valued.
Your employees have different desires, performance levels, traits, work styles, goals, and motivations. Treating everyone who works for you in the same manner is “ready-made” management, and that’s not the best approach for your company.
Your management style can easily be customized when you know these things:
The Way Your Employees Work Best
What type of atmosphere do your employees thrive in? The ideal organization is aware of dominant industry trends in work culture, work habits, dress code, and traditions but be careful assuming that everyone shares the same enthusiasm. Open office plans have been popular for a few years now but to many, it’s the death of their productivity and comfort level.
Aside from the job itself, one factor that significantly influences how employees feel about their job is the environment. This could mean the work itself, the shift hours, the relationship with co-workers, or even the physical environment.
How Your Employees Want to Develop Professionally
The best managers ask, “How can I get excellent performance out of my team while helping them develop professionally?” Great organizations know that having a skilled team drives results. When you work with your employees on a personalized development plan, the company wins and the employee wins.
How They Like to be Managed
Do your employees like to be left alone to do their job or do they like regular sessions to “touch base”? Work is less frustrating for both employee and manager if you can agree to a style that compliments both of you.
How They Like to Receive Feedback
In what manner do your employees like to receive comments and feedback? And, how frequently? Are they okay with a blunt style of feedback or do you require more explanation? Maybe some like to hash it out in the here and now and others like to think it over. If you can agree to a style, feedback won’t become nagging. It will be easier and more useful without the hard feelings.
How They Like to Communicate and Participate in Work Activities
Some people love face-to-face interaction while others are fine with short emails. Some people are a “bottom line” person while others need more of an overall account. There are employees who enjoy participating in company functions and others who prefer to keep their social life and work life completely separated. Not everyone wants to be a member of the “Birthday Club” – and that’s okay.
Does that mean you can accommodate every preference?
That’s most likely unrealistic. However, there is nothing wrong with paying attention to your employees’ favorites to accommodate it when you can. This will help you build a foundation and a sense of caring (Yes, managers can care.) while helping them grow professionally.
When you lead by treating your team the same, you deny their uniqueness. No employee wants to feel like a “plug and play” human being – some interchangeable employee. When you reject their individuality, you suppress the strengths of their contributions.
Treating employees fairly has never meant treating them the same. You won’t lose by being fair but you may lose by treating them the same.