From Connections to Action
Leader Connections are Valuable Opportunities
The most important part of connecting is following up. Gathering information is a great starting point for understanding employees and tracking engagement. However, the key to increasing engagement is to follow-up and make decisions based on the information learned from employees. Using employee feedback, leaders can share meaningful recognitions with team members and communicate actions being taken to provide needed resources, process improvements, or progress on their ideas.
Has someone ever asked for your opinion only to turn around and ignore it? How did that make you feel? Probably not like a valuable, respected member of a team. When people provide feedback and input, they expect organizations and leaders to do something with that information. How often would you fill out a survey if you never received the results? Time is limited and valuable, if we take the time to gather information, we owe it to our teams to develop a plan for improvement based on their feedback and share that information with them. Employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work according to a 2017 Salesforce report.
When employees see their leaders do something with their input from one-on-one conversations, a trusting relationship is established. As leaders review notes from these conversations, they may find there are some quick wins and changes to take immediately, and others that require more time. If you can’t provide the requested resource, use the employee’s suggestion or improve the process, honestly explain why and if there is an alternative you can offer.
Leader connection questions should be used with team members monthly. After the leader has held these conversations, themes and opportunities can be identified across team members. For example, the process for tracking customers may be a barrier for multiple team members. Planning to overcome this barrier could increase engagement for several people and may have gone unnoticed without conducting leader connections. Using the 3-2-1 leader connection summary choose 1 action step to take from the identified opportunities and focus on making improvements in that area.
In a timely manner, communicate with teams the feedback that was received and action that is being taken. While you may be able to take 2 or 3 actions, we recommend keeping a narrow focus. It’s difficult to commit to and execute 4 or 5 things well. You may use a stoplight report to communicate action items and their progress in a simple, visual way to keep teams informed.
Assessing employee engagement is important, but it’s what we do with that information that increases engagement for our teams. Paying ridiculous attention to our team members and acting on their needs shows individuals they are cared for, valued, and appreciated.
3 Steps to Move From Leader Connections to Action
Compile a Leader Connection Summary
- Identify 3 Themes
- Identify 2 Opportunities
- 1 Action Step to Take
Generate a Stoplight Report
- Using your chosen ‘action step to take’ from the leader connection summary, generate a stoplight report to share progress with your team. A stoplight report can also be used to communicate progress on all resource requests made during leader connection conversations.
- Red indicates the item cannot be completed at this time and includes why the item can’t be completed.
- Yellow indicates the item is in progress.
- Green indicates that the item is complete.
- Transparently communicate progress towards process improvements, removing barriers, and implementing ideas during team meetings.