Dynamic decision making is the ideal in growth-oriented workplaces. Here’s how to ensure your employees at all levels are making the right decisions.
Companies don’t pay employees to do a “job”, they pay them to invent the best, most efficient, and most profitable response at each moment in their day. The company pays them to watch each situation they encounter in their constantly changing workplace and use what they know to make the best decision on the spot. They pay them to think on their feet — and to pack their brains when they pack their lunches. Train your employees to make good decisions is the challenge that CEOs and leaders face daily. Here are some ways to master that challenge and ensure that great decisions are the norm.
How to Help Employees Make the Right Decisions
1. Instill the organization’s vision, values, and priorities
This is one of the most important responsibilities. Empowering employees to make good decisions works only if they understand the vision, values, and priorities of the organization.
This requires constant communication between the employer and the employee. Another critical element is to help employees relate their day-to-day work to the company’s objectives.
If they understand how their individual goals support the strategic priorities of the whole organization, they will be in a position to make decisions that support them like a foundation. Hence it is one of the ways to train employees in decision making.
2. Train employees on which decisions to make
Only an authoritarian or inexperienced leader will insist on making every decision. If this happens, the employees end up slowing down the organization and undermining the other people around them. You as a CEO, need to ensure that everyone in the organization understands who has authority for which decisions.
A good organizational chart that depicts the hierarchy of decision-making in the organization can help with this, assuming that employees understand their responsibilities and goals.
This should be a comprehensive, living document that you update frequently and make it accessible to everyone in the organization. It provides a quick view resolution when employees are confused about whether they should make a decision or not. Hence it is one of the ways to train employees in decision making.
3. Coach employees on decision-making skills
Help your employees learn from their own decision-making mistakes. Help them learn from your old mistakes. Help them learn from others’ mistakes.
When an employee makes a decision that you disagree with, work with them. Have them walk you through their decision process. Point out where and how you would have approached the decision differently.
Also, point out the information they ignored or failed to access that they could have and should have. Employees must be taught how to make the right decision. It’s human nature to believe in one’s decision-making ability.
4. Assess the employee’s capabilities in the skills critical to success
Many times our employees arrive in the workplace with critical skill shortages, expecting to learn their jobs on the fly.
We frequently can’t wait for new workers to gradually develop important skills or pick-up the work; every moment an employee under-performs affects our connection with customers and our success. Knowing which skills drive sustained performance is critical.
5. Don’t create an atmosphere of fear
Your employees need room to breathe. They need to know failure is somewhat expected. They need to know that they will not be fired for a poor decision — the first time anyway.
The ability to learn from mistakes is one of the most valuable characteristics of an employee. You must allow people to learn from their mistakes. It’s the only way they are going to grow and become more valuable to you.
You can’t afford to hire proven and perfect employees every time. You would end up at a severe loss if you did. Hence it is one of the ways to train employees in decision making.
6. Focus on the process, not the outcome
People have a terrible tendency of judging a decision by its outcome. That’s a huge mistake. So few people understand probabilities. All decisions have a chance of a poor outcome. Outcomes are always uncontrollable. A great outcome does not validate the decision.
That’s like saying your child walking across a highway full of cars to get to the other side made a sound decision because he made it. No, it wasn’t.
Focus on the decision-making process no matter what the outcome was, the process is important as that is the only thing constant while results can vary. That means you need to periodically sit down with each of your key employees and have them explain how they arrived at various decisions they’ve made during the past week or two. Hence it is one of the ways to train employees in decision making.
Why Effective Decision-Making Strategies for Employees Matters:
Making good decisions on the job is important for many reasons. No matter what is the job, the decisions you or your employee make affect the company’s productivity, the quality of the work, and the ability to meet performance goals.
In a larger sense, the decisions you make as a CEO or even an employee often affect your coworkers and your department. They may also have an impact on customer satisfaction and the success of the organization. The purpose is to help your employees make the best decisions possible every workday, even under pressure.
- Making good decisions on the job is an important responsibility for every single employee, not just management.
- The decisions that the employee makes may have a broad impact, affecting other people, functions, and operations.
- The employee’s decisions determine how well they perform at their job and how successful they are.
It’s ideal to have employees making decisions even at the lowest level possible. The people who know the situation will generally have the greatest knowledge of any particular issue when it comes to making any decision in that aspect. The challenge is to find a way to balance an employee’s greater knowledge of a specific situation with the objectives of the organization. But with the right structure and context, you can train employees to make good, supportive decisions and the organization will stand to benefit out of it.