Increasing Managerial Accessibility and Support for Employees

By Bob Nelson

When employees are encouraged to have more autonomy, independence, and flexibility in their jobs, they need your support; however, in one survey conducted by Gallup, 66 percent of respondents said their managers had asked them to get involved in decision-making, but only 14 percent felt they’d been empowered to make those decisions.

In most cases, giving employees the autonomy and authority to act in the best interests of the organization and offering words of encouragement and praise along the way works wonders. Encouraging employees to pursue their ideas and supporting them in that process are also important for yielding positive results in the workplace.

Here are some guidelines for building rapport with and supporting your employees:

  • Take time with employees. It all comes back to communication: Getting out and talking to employees, spending time with frontline staff, and making an effort to truly listen to employees can open your eyes to seemingly small accomplishments that would otherwise go unnoticed. No matter how small, the roles and responsibilities of every employee are a critical factor in the overall success of an organization.

  • Ask employees what they want and/or need. Don’t assume you or your management team knows automatically. For employees that have been with you several years, don’t assume what they wanted five years ago is still the same; encourage open and honest dialogue.

  • Be available for questions from employees. Managers have to be available and approachable to get employees to talk with them. Whether that means dropping into the break room, holding “office hours,” or having a beer with the team after work or to celebrate finishing a project—face time is critical. One manufacturing plant even invested in an electronic deli type of sign that said, “Now serving number . . .” Employees who wanted face time with a visiting executive got a number and made their way to the main office as that number got close to being called.

  • Show understanding and empathy. It’s important for all employees to feel that their managers are on their side, rooting for their success and seeking to help them succeed in any way possible. When employees face life changes, tragedies, or circumstances that demand more of their time than usual, employees need to feel comfortable discussing their situation with their managers or employers. If they’re met with understanding and a willingness to help, they won’t ever forget it. And the happier and more stable your employees, the better your business fares.