At some point in your career, you’ve needed help. The question is, were you able to ask for it? Did you feel comfortable with your supervisors to reach out, or were you worried they’d be upset you couldn’t figure it out? Unfortunately, too many companies promote cultures where asking questions is challenging. What this does is cause more mistakes instead of figuring out the right way in the beginning. Here’s how you can make it easier for your employees to ask for help.
Make it a part of your culture
If you want asking for help to be a normal practice at your company, make sure it’s a part of your culture. Take the time to talk about it and work it into the fiber of your workforce until it becomes automatic. You can even incorporate language about it in your handbook, so your team members know it’s valued and accepted.
Enforce the positive environment
Even if you believe in asking for help, others might be reluctant. Start with others in management who may treat questions with condescension or even punishment. Check to see if they’re slipping into this behavior and let them know it’s not ok. It’s not a weakness to admit you don’t know how to do something or you can’t do it alone. Consider disciplinary actions if it continues because this can affect morale and bring your culture down.
Set the example
Most importantly, model this for your team. Let them see you asking for help in every situation. If you’re brainstorming ways to improve a process, bring them in and let them know you need their input. Don’t try to do certain jobs by yourself; ask for help when needed so they see they don’t have to rely on themselves, either.
Welcoming questions at your company doesn’t mean problem-solving should be left behind. When people come with questions, quiz them a bit on what they’ve tried, if applicable. Your goal shouldn’t be to make them feel foolish, but to help them grow and think through every situation.
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