As we begin to move into a brighter future, it’s a good idea to take a moment and engage your employees. You’ve all been through the wringer together and are coming out the other side. For many of you, I know this means great loss. In some cases, you’ve lost people you serve, people on your team, and they’ve lost people they love as well.
We’ve also all been through great disruption, and as we move into a time when we are seeing that light at the end of the tunnel, it will be extremely useful for you to take a breath and reflect before you jump right back into business. Not only has your company gone through change, but the people who make up your organization have gone through personal changes. We’re all re-prioritizing. As one of my customers said to me last week, “we now know what really matters!”
To that end, one of the best things you can do right now is to re-engage your employees as you re-imagine the future.
Here are 3 Ways to Engage Your Employees Now!
Reconnect with your team members and really listen to what they have to say. Yes, you can do your annual survey, but I’m talking about real connection here. Get together with your people in small groups and have conversations. Check-in and ask them how they’re doing both personally and professionally. Reflect on what happened in your organization over the past 12 months. Ask what they are most proud of in terms of what you accomplished together. Ask what they learned over the past year. Engage your employees in a conversation about what new practices you might want to bring into the future. Work with them to re-imagine the customer and team member experience.
I’ve been doing an ongoing study of what makes hourly employees feel valued in the workplace. I expect to release it in early 2022. In the meantime, what I can tell you is that a theme that comes up again and again in the conversations is “Notice Me.” Your team members do so much more every day that you may know. Beyond their job description, they are answering questions, dealing with stressed-out customers, taking small actions to brighten someone’s day. Do you see it? If you do, do you mention it? Group parties, pins, and plaques, fun yard signs that read “Heroes Work Here” are terrific! However, they don’t replace the need that each team member has to be seen for who they are and what they contribute. A kind, personalized, word or two makes a larger impact than you may ever know. Notice and praise each person on your team for their specific contributions.
Engage Your Employees in one-on-one conversations and ask them about their hopes and dreams. One of my favorite books is The Dream Manager by Matthew Kelly.
In this book, he suggests that leaders coach their employees (or hire a coach to do so) to help them fulfill their personal goals. For instance, save money for a house, or qualify for a specific job, or be able to travel. By helping your team members fulfill their goals, they’ll be more engaged in the company’s goals. One thing I know for sure. Whenever I ask my audiences to tell me about “the best boss they ever had,” one of the common themes is the boss that mentored their team members and helped them get where they are today. We’re all reprioritizing. Do you know what’s important to your employees today? What are you doing to help them get there?
* Note: The link to The Dream Manager is an affiliate link. If you purchase the book using that link, you’ve helped me out because Amazon will send me a tiny commission. Sharing in the spirit of complete transparency. It is – regardless of if or how you purchase – one of my favorite leadership books! 🙂
One thing is for sure! You may not want to engage your employees in the exact same way you were before. Was it working? Did you have the retention and buy-in that you were hoping for? Hopefully, you are more connected now than you were before the pandemic. Use the strategies that make your people feel heard, seen, and supported and you may find you’ll earn their hearts in this ever-changing world.
Donna Cutting, CSP, is the Founder & CEO of RedCarpetLearning.com and one of the Top 30 Global Gurus in customer service for 2020 and 2021. She’s the author of 3 books, including her most recent, “Employees First! Inspire, Engage, and Focus on the Heart of Your Organization” due to be released in March 2022. Learn more about our programs.