One of the chief concerns we all have as Managing Directors or Senior Managers is a high turnover of staff, which can often be caused by disengagement from the business. In fact it is understood that a major reason for staff leaving the business is their dissatisfaction with their manager. Here are some tips to prevent this occurring and promote engagement.
Connect with your staff. Get the right environment, timing and topic for discussion and your staff will appreciate the gesture. From experience I can tell you that lunchtime ‘chats’ are engaging, productive and allow staff to interact in a supportive environment.
Be mindful that if you fail to get to know your staff you will fail to connect with them. How often do you speak to your staff? Even if it is to say hello.
Where are you in the business? If it is local how often are you (or your exec team) present? And not just in the office. Presence also refers to how much attention you are paying to your staff. If you are in conversation with them, be interested and curious. Allow them to talk. Never just walk past without acknowledgement. And if you’re remote, engage in conference calls, send that email to say hi, or even flying to the office for a day can make the world of difference.
What value are you adding for your staff? Adding value to your staff adds value to your clients and customers. Praise and acknowledge your staff – criticising and blaming are sure ways for staff to look for another employer. Look at what has been accomplished and reward staff with a lunch or a ticket to the movies. You could even let them go home early. The point is that staff will give you much more in return (ie value add) to your business if you are able to show how much you value them!
There is an old cartoon that says “Would you rather train your staff and have them leave or not train them and have them stay?” This is the dilemma a number of leaders have. The issue is how staff can benefit from development and remain engaged with the business.
Development is only part of the equation for engagement. An attempt to develop your staff is also a demonstration of care and can be done through a number of activities outside of normal course attendance such as setting challenging projects, providing acting opportunities and coaching for development.
If you want to retain engagement of your staff, you will also need to be innovative and different to other CEOs and managers. Too often we are bound by rules and tradition. Think about what you can do that can make your business look and feel different. Do you need to make the environment more appealing? Do you need to re-position your office to be closer to staff (some CEOs have their workstations in the middle of where staff sit and abandoned the long held tradition of having their own office!). I heard of one organisation that created a ‘walking track’ around their office and this was used for ‘stand up’ or ‘walking’ meetings between managers and staff! The feedback from staff was that this was far better than sitting in an office going through what they had done for the week.
The above 5 strategies are not limitless. These are just ideas that can help you and your business get better engagement from staff and ultimately a happier and more productive environment.