One word: Empathy

Remember the last time that someone did something really, really nice for you.

That feeling in your stomach…

That thought, “Yes, the world IS a good place”…

That indescribable urge to do something nice for them, too….

It’s pretty incredible that we have the power to affect someone’s day with just as much as a few words,  an acknowledgement in front of others, a gift, some praise, etc.

It’s SO worth your time to make the connection with your team.

Don’t just hire great employees, keep them 

When you spend a great deal of time defining what will make a great employee in a particular position, and you spend a lot of time finding that person, then it’s obviously important to do everything you can to keep them.

One of the best ways to do that is by engaging with the employee.

Employees today want to believe in the work they are doing, and feel like it’s important, and that it makes a difference.

This idea is particularly important for Gen Y (as well as our Gen Z) employees. 

When Gen Y candidates are interviewing, they are not just coming in to be interviewed by you. They are interviewing you too.

Expect them to ask about the vision for the company and how their position, and, ultimately, they would play into those goals. If they like what they hear (and, of course, you like them), then it should follow with a yes to a job offer.

Once you hire a talented Gen Y employee, then it’s very important to keep the connection going. They put significant value on relationships, need to feel good about the work they are doing and want to be happy and believe in their workplace.

If this doesn’t happen – this translates into Gen Y employees simply leaving a position if they feel unsatisfied.

More so than any other previous generations, Gen Y employees put their well being and happiness at the forefront and won’t stay in a job that they don’t like, even if they don’t have another position lined up.

Don’t hide behind the computer

Technology tools in the workplace make it possible for people to work remotely,  automate tasks and much more.

However, with all these amazing technology tools, it’s easy to miss out on the face-to-face contact that we used to have all the time.

Don’t lose that human connection completely in your company.

So, yes, leverage those technology tools for sure, but don’t lose all the individual touch base and face time in the process.

How to connect and how often 

So no matter what process tools you put in place from to 360/Feedback tools to culture surveys, nothing will replace the need to sit down and have a one-on-one conversation with team members.

They need to hear, “Hey, are you OK? How are things going with you at work? Is there anything I can do to help”

But don’t swing too far.

If you constantly ask how they feel daily, it can get rather annoying and employees can feel mollycoddled. It can also be quite time consuming and make the employee feel there are problems. Find a balance.

Monthly or at least quarterly may be the right amount. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a formal meeting, but at least checking in will assist in making someone feel connected. (To note  – this is different from checking in daily or weekly re tasks/performance – this is checking in on them and how they are feeling not what they are doing necessarily).

Why does the check in matter?

Think about mapping how you feel about a product that you use. The first time you use it, it’s great and it does amazing things. You feel fantastic.

Then later, you don’t have that same experience, it doesn’t have that same wow factor.

And really everything in life has highs and lows like that, whether it’s a product, membership experience or your client.

Keep in mind the same goes for your team.

So from when you make the offer, to the first day, to going through performance reviews and day-to-day tasks, all employees will experience ups and downs, all of the time.

Then you factor in personal issues that also can impact a team member’s performance.

So having a process in place to check in on your team is important.

These check ins can happen due to (but not limited to):

  • Sales drops or increases
  • Performance drops or increases
  • Physical or nonverbal cues
  • How they are acting
  • Interactions with other staff
  • Outside of work influences

Make a habit of spending time walking around your office and chatting with your team. Watch interactions between co-workers. That way if you know what’s normal and what’s not, then you’ll stay on top of issues as soon as they arise.

You may also save time by  simply asking “How’s everything going with you”  at the end of an existing catch up meeting or one-on-one discussion. This question might allow you to delve deeper.

Quarterly or annually, you might ask more structured questions, such as:

  • “Are we on track to take you where you want to go and is there anything we can do to help you get there?”
  • “Are we giving you enough work that is stimulating?”
  • “Do you find the work you’re doing interesting and challenging?”
  • “Are you happy at work

How do you tell when someone is happy … or worse, when they want to leave? 

The same way you would for a client, you look at a variety of factors.

What does a really happy client look like?

What does a client that could be looking elsewhere look like?

When you change that up to employees, you think about such things as:

  • Are they participating in meetings?
  • Are they coming to social events?
  • Are they not raising their hands anymore to help out?

These are all signs that might suggest a team member isn’t happy with the current state of the job. So this is a chance to reverse it by re-engaging the person.

And don’t forget about the boss

When employees are engaged and driven to move the business forward, the boss feels better.

So obviously not only does engagement drive better results from a productivity and performance perspective,  passionate employees fuels the business owner’s excitement as well.

A few questions to think about… How do you feel when your team around you are pumped? How do you feel when they are not? What process do you currently use to check in with your team and gauge how they are feeling?