Boost the Employee Experience
To keep people engaged, leaders must remind them of the meaningful outcomes they help to create. How does each individual’s role fit into the organization’s greater mission? How do I show my employees they are cared about and supported?
Valued employees are engaged employees
The relationship between an employee and their leader directly impacts employee satisfaction. For 93% of employees, trust in their direct leader is essential to staying satisfied at work and over 50% of employees surveyed say if they aren’t satisfied at work, they can’t put forth their best effort.
It’s the leader’s responsibility to create a work environment where people choose to engage in their work and with others. Intentional connections with employees demonstrate genuine concern and care for their well-being. When people feel cared about, and are treated as valuable members of the organization, they’re motivated to do their best. For most of us, meaning comes from feeling useful and being recognized when we do something well.
People want to feel good about the work that they do. Recognizing employees is proven to increase morale, engagement, productivity, sales, profitability, and improve customer service. The same Globoforce Study also reports the more recently someone has been recognized, the more likely they are to be connected to the purpose of their work. The more people receive recognition for their meaningful work, the more motivated they are to continue to perform at high levels.
Connect & Listen
Employees want conversations with their leaders to include feedback about their performance in real-time. Waiting for a yearly performance review does little to help an employee improve or understand if they are on the right track. Feedback should be actionable, frequent, and focused around providing a clear direction for the employee. Conversations with employees about their needs and feedback don’t have to be formal and lengthy. Quick check-ins provide time to ask questions, share opinions, and clarify priorities. Gallup research indicates that engagement is highest among employees who meet with their manager at least once per week.
Feedback conversations aren’t the only type of connection employees seek to have with their leaders. People want to know how to grow and advance in their careers and personally. Developing employees shows we care about them and they are valuable to the organization. People are more likely to be engaged when they have opportunities to grow, and when they have someone who supports their goals and aspirations. High performers are often aspiring leaders and desire to be developed as such.
During these various employee connections, it’s vital to spend time listening. Employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work according to a Salesforce report. Employees want input on decisions that affect their jobs, and they want to know their leaders are listening. If an employee expresses a need or a barrier to their work during your connections with them, as a leader its important to do everything you can to remove the barrier, provide the needed resource, or explain why you can’t. Intently listening and taking action on employee feedback strengthens the leader-employee relationship by increasing trust.
Ultimately, employees don’t want a “boss”, they want a coach, someone who cares about them as a person, their development and career goals, and who wants to help them achieve. Engagement increases when leaders align individuals to the mission. Connecting people to their purpose through worthwhile work and rewarding a job well done are keys to engaging your team.
4 Steps to Boost the Employee Experience
- Schedule 30/90 Day Conversations for New Employees – Research shows that up to 22% of turnover takes place within an employee’s first 45 days of employment, and up to 40% of employees who leave their jobs do so within the first 12 months on the job. To retain and engage new team members it’s important to focus on support and relationship building during the first 90 days.
- Conduct Monthly Meetings – A consistent opportunity to listen to the needs of your employees and deliver leadership expectations. They increase trust, confidence, and perceptions that the leader is approachable and attentive. While this is an opportunity to relationship build, its crucial to address quarterly and annual goals and progress on those goals in your meeting.
- Leader Connections – A monthly opportunity to check in with individuals, build relationships, gather feedback on current barriers and offer support. This connection isn’t as formal as a monthly meeting or as focused on goal alignment. The focus is on the individual.
- Make Deposits to Emotional Bank Accounts – Build relationships and trust by taking small actions to make deposits in team members’ bank accounts. Get to know people personally, including their lives outside of work and goals and aspirations. Set a goal to make 3 deposits per week into team member’s emotional bank accounts.
Affirm Individual Value
- Align to Mission – Discuss how quarterly actions and goals lead to meaningful outcomes. Clearly communicate the strategy and direction of the organization during connections with employees. Help employees understand how they contribute to the organization’s mission and are a valuable part of the team.
- Make a point to recognize at least one team member per week for a specific reason. Send a thank you note, give a shout out during a meeting, or just pull the person aside for a quick chat.
- Harvest the feedback you receive from the monthly conversations with employees, employee engagement surveys, and employee forums.
- Do employees have all the tools and resources they need to do their best work?
- Are there processes that can be improved that affect employee work?
- Leaders who take action with employee feedback increase trust with their teams and confirm that providing feedback and monthly meetings are a good use of the employee’s time.
- Share the feedback you received with your teams, along with actions you will be taking as a result.