What makes up the culture in your organization?
If you’re going to align and re-engage your workforce, you must recognize and speak to the individual, not just the masses. In our last blog, we discussed that we must be willing to “burn the ships” in order to create alignment within our organization. But now it’s time we take a step further.
We must recognize that your organization isn’t merely made up of teams but of people. Your people are ready for more than just lip service, and you need to step up and listen to what they’re saying.
It’s Time to Recognize the Individual
Your employees have heard all the lies.
“We feel your pain.”
“We have a plan. We know what we’re doing.”
“Don’t worry, you can trust us.”
To say they are skeptical is an understatement. If Covid taught them anything, it was that no, we didn’t have a plan. Likely senior leadership didn’t lose their jobs and had much more in assets to tie them over if they did. They didn’t feel pain like their rank and file.
Turning this situation around requires an employee-centric focus and attention to the needs of the individual in ways we haven’t considered in the past. It’s far more than perks. All the free lunches, on-site daycare, and exercise rooms mean nothing without connection and relationship with the people they work alongside. To many, these benefits represent beautifully wrapped handcuffs intended to keep them at work longer.
What is motivational is their work experience. McKinsey’s Employee Experience survey in 2020 showed that those who experienced a positive work environment were 16 times more engaged and eight times more likely to stay at a company than those who didn’t. The employee experience combines their personality and how it melds with their colleagues and boss, their life stage and personal circumstances, and a sense of community and belonging — the degree to which they believe they contribute value and receive recognition for it.
Recognize your employees’ value and contribution.
Managers, this means that you must pay more attention to what people are doing. Noticing a job well done in a timely fashion is worth more than a yearly formal recognition meeting. Be intentional and catch people doing things well and tell them so. These personal interactions often are more impactful than the traditional, more public ones and provide real-time motivation to continue.
Vision doesn’t stop at the organizational level. It is equally important to help your team members envision their future with the company. Leaders need to become coaches and mentors, and some easy ways to do this are to:
- Recognize their unique skills, entrust them with more responsibility, and provide them opportunities and training to expand their capabilities.
- Seek out their contributions in meetings and make them feel a valued part of the conversation.
- Empathize with their struggles and be compassionate for the challenges they face. Help them think the issues through and develop their own solutions to overcome them.
- Work with your people to design a career plan, then actively help them achieve it.
- Map out the criteria for them to move to the next level and create opportunities to demonstrate their capability. And take a good look at what you mean by “ready” – make sure it opens doors rather than provides excuses to hold someone back.
- Take a calculated risk. A promotion should provide the opportunity to do something new and allow for learning and growth in the position. It is the “unproven” responsibilities that excite and motivate your new manager and create risk for you. Mitigate the risk by ensuring they are competent in the job’s most essential functions, and be clear about what success looks like by providing milestones to achieve in their first 30, 60, and 90 days.
- Make their personal and career development part of their weekly one-to-one meetings and provide specific feedback on their progress.
There is no more impactful way to show you care than actively involving yourself in helping your people be successful.
Need some help to get started? Connect with me here to discuss your specific challenges.