I love blogging about what I think about things – and people regularly thank me for these insights. My thoughts roll out of my head at a pace faster than I can type, so I am learning to type faster too.
Critical for Employee Engagement ….Get to REALLY KNOW Your Employees
What I have seen in 30 years of being an HR professional in terms of managerial competence – is not pretty. Inevitably, when I am consulting to an organization, and people start seeing me around and realize I am the HR guy, and that I am not scary and egotistical or full of myself – they seek me out. Nine times out of ten, it is genuinely good, sincere, caring employees who just want someone to actively listen to them, yes, just listen, not judge, not respond, only listen.
Listening is one of the most respectful things you can do for people. So, I listen, and listen some more, and when there is silence, I don’t say something to fill the void. Inevitably these employees are asking ‘why’ type questions. In most cases they even know the answer to the ‘why’ questions. They just want validation that their observations are correct and they want to know if what they plan to do about it is in fact proper. In all of these cases, when it pertains to an issue with their Manager, there is an absence of meaningful dialogue between them and their manager.
By dialogue, I mean the regular occurance of talking about things pertaining to work, not just things that need an answer, or a conversation that ends with action plans. A dialogue may be about what a person sees as useful or not in terms of company process, it may be about their fears, motivations, viewpoints, etc. Managers who do not dialogue with their employees do not know their employees well enough, and in many cases employee engagement suffers and quite often these same employees end up leaving their company for greener pastures so to speak.
The #1 reason by far , confirmed in numerous research studies of ‘why employees leave an organization’ is overwhelmingly directly related to the relationship they have with their manager. If, Managers do not take the time to really get to know their direct report employees, they shouldn’t be a manager of people, period. Managers must get to really know their direct report employees, especially their goals, their stressors, what excites them and how they define success. Managers must be able to identify what is meaningful to their employees. Knowing your employee’s spouses name or their children’s ages is not enough, Managers need to understand their employees, know their dreams, disappointments, goals, motivators, fears, and the activities that build or drain their energy.
Effective management and leadership requires that Managers understand their employee’s perspectives & their hopes and dreams and that Managers present them with challenges that leads them in the direction they want to be moving anyways. A true gift managers can give employees is to define in advance what exceptional or above average job performance looks like. Of course there are several important drivers of Employee Engagement, but at the very heart of Employee Engagement is Getting to Know Your Employees.
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