3 Ways to Encourage Your Employees to Be Themselves At the Office

The topic of authenticity in the workplace is nothing new. However, the reality is that each workplace is unique, and cultures run the gamut from open to rigid (and everything in between).

For employers interested in exploring ways to imbue their environment with a more authentic workforce, and how this may benefit both them and their employees, read on.

1. Benefits: boost morale and enliven withering projects.

How: encourage your employees to bring their social flair to work.

If someone loves to plan parties in their downtime; e.g., the one always spearheading birthday and anniversary celebrations and such, consider how that attribute can translate to the workplace.

Perhaps the employee known for attentiveness to marking others’ milestones will be perfectly suited to ensure no one gets left behind in regard to special occasions, birthdays, work anniversaries, specific project finishes and milestones in the office. Or maybe this same talent can translate to planning business meetings or team-building events.

[Related: Employers, learn how you can get in the running for Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work List]

Initiatives can include ordering custom gifts to mark individual successes to designing digital invitations for group gatherings to marketing special outings through the company’s Facebook page. They can continue through to conducting the food or entertainment research, planning and execution. Empower party-planning-savvy employees to captain the planning ship and to recruit their own deck hands and first mates along the way.

How: in addition to recognition and event planning, encourage social skills to influence action.

A partially implemented idea can be costly to a company’s bottom line. Leveraging a socially adept team member’s conviviality to reinvigorate lagging team members will encourage temperaments to elevate and folks to forge ahead.

Serious-natured folks appreciate teaming up with others whose inclination is to tell an inspiring story, crack a joke or take a strategic break when things go into overdrive, and therefore, social inspirers can rev up the problem-solving energy.

Afterward, a calmer, steadier energy can regain traction. As an employer, it is your job to match up the right blend of temperaments to ensure the job is done well, and that temporary milestone lapses are overcome, with verve.

In other words, taking note of and encouraging inspirationally minded employees to use their natural enthusiasm in conjunction with the more seriously inclined, steady employees is an apt way to recognize and reward employees for being their authentic selves at the office.

2. Benefit: pave new paths to more efficient service, sales + product ideas.

How: reward and make listening actionable.

Encourage employees that their listening skills are as valuable as speaking abilities at the next staff meeting. In other words, empower “paying attention.” When it is obvious that a key employee is never going to be as extroverted and engaging through the spoken word as their peers, request their ideas on a given subject in writing as a follow-up to meetings and conversations.

Some people are naturally written communicators: recognizing this trait and encouraging it will not only show your employee they matter but also may spark new ideas in areas of service, product development, sales and profit that were heretofore untapped.

3. Benefit: unify + improve individual + team collaboration to boost results.

How: encourage your employees to show empathy and compassion!

When employees are serving others through idea sharing, problem-solving or a specific physical or intellectual task, they should be encouraged to apply authentic and outward understanding. In a world often divided by politics and other challenging cultural issues, empathy and compassion cannot be overrated.

Whether as the result of unplanned collaborations across departments or business units or amid well-orchestrated events involving customers, promoting humanness among and between employees is integral in a more tightly interwoven business unit.

This includes rewarding harmony and interdependency, even amid traditionally competitive roles, such as sales. Encourage an understanding, collaborative approach to solving problems – versus pitting teams and individuals against one another.

By creating a culture where when one person falls down, the next person picks them up, or where one person inherits a disadvantage, their teammate picks up the slack or throws them the virtual ball to enable a touchdown, you can fortify reliability of individual team, and overall organizational outcomes.

Take this idea a step further and create a rewards system for such behaviors, and the bottom line may benefit exponentially.