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Bentley Magazine

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Get to know your employees as humans. 

In nearly every job, we interact and work with other people, so why don’t we remember we’re all, well, human? We all have some need for belonging. When managers make an effort to learn about their employees — what excites or interests them and even what they don’t like — it shows they are valued. When employees feel respected and validated, they do better work. It’s that simple.


Promote friendships.

What keeps people in their jobs? Research shows that workplace friendships not only encourage trust among employees, they enhance creativity. However you do it — staff meetings, training seminars, holiday parties — bringing people together strengthens relationships among workers. That makes them happier, more creative and more productive.


Empower your staff.

To do your best work, you can’t be afraid to fail. Anyone who knows the story of Thomas Edison understands the value of trying unsuccessfully (many times) before you succeed. So why is it so hard for many managers to let their workers try? For workers to feel empowered, they must be given permission to take risks and — if they fail — to learn from their mistakes in a safe environment. Leaders should delegate both tasks and authority to their employees. And don’t forget to provide training opportunities so that when you delegate a project, they’re ready.


Give context for the work.

Being asked to complete a task, role or job is one thing. Understanding the impact it will have is quite another. Be transparent with your staff and explain why you are asking them to take on a project — how it matters in the “big picture.” Providing this full context for the work that employees do gives them both a reason to do it and a motivation to do it well.


In the office or remote? Choose which makes sense for your team. 

It’s hard to know how and where people work best. While some companies mandate a return to the office, others say remote or hybrid work is here to stay. When possible, leaders should assess which parts of work must be done in an office — and why — before mandating changes based on what other organizations are doing. Look at each role and team on a case-by-case basis to determine if flex space and/or flex time is appropriate.

Meet the Author

Susan Vroman
Susan Vroman

Susan Vroman is a senior lecturer in Management at Bentley who specializes in organizational effectiveness and leadership development. Her research focuses on flexible work arrangements, remote work, authentic leadership and leading responsibly. With experience working as an internal and external resource, Susan’s passion and expertise lie in values-based leadership and culture development.

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