As a successful manager, it is your responsibility to clarify, emphasize, and establish the corporate identity of your support staff. Understand that you may have to contend with a corporate culture that has historically under-valued support staff importance. This is, unfortunately, apparently a common condition. Along with improving operations, you may further strengthen your brand and enhance your career options by establishing a support staff identity. Here are some suggestions to achieve this goal.
Foster innovation. Administrative, marketing, sales, and customer service support staff can make valuable positive contributions to operations. Innovation can be a huge motivator and contributor. Support staff, working daily in the corporate “trenches,” often develops wonderful innovative ideas and valuable suggestions to improve operations. Encourage the sharing of these ideas and suggestions. Exceptional pearls of wisdom may come from this open communications policy.
Instill a secure identity. Reinforcing the importance of support staff contributions creates security in the identity and purpose of their functions. Security in the importance of their contribution encourages higher performance and a more positive workplace. Feeling the security and confidence of management lifts the spirits and production of support staff, particularly if feelings of insecurity or unimportance previously dominated the workplace. Feelings of security lead most employees to strive for further achievement—leading to further strengthened security.
Encourage collaboration. Little establishes someone’s credibility and sense of value more than invitations to collaborate to create ideas to help solve a problem, or generate improvements at the workplace. Encouraging support staff collaboration to contribute to operational improvement establishes their identity as a meaningful source of help. Increased feelings of valuable self-worth, confidence, and empowerment supply the identity that support employees often lack.
Publicly recognize achievements to establish a pride culture. “Criticize in private and praise in public,” always improves workplace conditions. Public recognition of support staff achievements by managers can create wonderful on-the-job results. You will be impressed, even amazed by the reaction to your simple “Thank you,” spoken publicly to a support employee. Public recognition of an individual or team typically affects other employees, who now recommit to improving their performance to compete for future public recognition.