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Posts Tagged ‘employee engagement’

Yoga Isn’t Why They Stay – Five Employee Retention Ideas

Employees appreciate perks – good coffee, an onsite gym, concierge service, and workout classes. But none of those things motivate employees to stay with an organization. And no one will quit because a company doesn’t offer those perks.

I won’t tell you not to offer yoga classes or to get rid of your video games. Just know neither perk is resulting in employee retention.

There are really just a few things employees need to stay with your company and do good work. And if you do those things consistently, you’ll see your best employees stay and excel.

Here are a few employee retention ideas: employee retention ideas

Employee retention idea #1: Managers, get to know employees better. Ask what brought employees to your company, what would make them leave, what employees want to learn, and what type of work they really don’t want to do. And when it’s possible, remove responsibilities employees don’t want to do, and replace those tasks with things employees enjoy more. You can’t eliminate all aspects of a job that employees don’t like. But people won’t stay in a job for long that doesn’t let them do work they enjoy about 75% of the time.

Employee retention idea #2: Managers, meet individually with employees, twice a month, for at least 30 minutes, to discuss current and future projects. Give specific and balanced (positive and negative) feedback during each meeting. Even the most independent employees need regular feedback and one-on-one time with their manager.

Employee retention idea #3: Teach and coach employees, so they expand their skill set and approach challenges in new and different ways. Most employees want to learn and grow. Managers don’t have to do the training themselves, just ensure it happens.

Employee retention idea #4: Give employees exposure to the senior leaders in your organization. This includes: attending meetings where senior leaders are present; pitching ideas to senior leaders; and learning from people above the employees’ manager.

Employee retention idea #5: Give employees stretch assignments and the chance to learn new things. One of the greatest reasons for employee turnover is boredom and a lack of growth and development. You don’t need to rotate or promote someone to help them grow. Giving employees exposure to different departments and types of work will allow employees to expand their skill set.

Most employees want to work for a manager who cares about them, takes time to get to know them, and helps advance their career. These activities will take some time. They won’t take a lot of money. Perhaps have your next one-on-one at the foosball table or over espresso. But know that the time managers take with employees, trumps every perk, every time.

 

employee retention ideas


Effective Management Requires Asking Questions

If an employee quits and the manager is surprised, shame on the manager. Employee turnover – literal turnover (he quits and leaves the building) or figurative turnover (he quits but continues to come in everyday and do his minimal best) – are extremely predictable.Effective Management

Most employees need only a handful of things to be satisfied and productive at work. The key is getting employees to tell you what those things are. And they might just tell you, if you ask.

An employee’s first few weeks at a new job often involve a lot of training. Managers tell employees what they need to do and hopefully why they need to do those things. I recommend balancing telling with asking.

Effective management involves asking the seven questions below during the interview process, after an employee starts, and again 90-days to six months into the job.

Effective management question number one: “What brought you to this company? Why did you accept this job? What are you hoping the job will provide?” Ask one of these three questions. Pick the one you like best.

Effective management question number two: “What would make you leave this job? What are your career deal breakers, things you just can’t tolerate at work?” Ask either of these questions.

Effective management question number three: “What type of work, skills, and/or areas of our business do you want to learn more about?”

Effective management question number four: “Tell me about the best manager you ever had. What made him/her the best manager?” This will tell you what the employee needs from you as a manager and is a much better question than, “What do you need from me as your manager?” That is a hard question to answer. Telling you the best manager s/he ever had is easy.

Effective management question number five: “Tell me about the worst manager you ever had? What made him/her the worst manager?”

Effective management question number six: “What are your pet peeves at work? What will frustrate you?” Why find out the hard way what frustrates employees when it’s so easy to ask. This question demonstrates that you want your employees to be happy and that you will flex your own preferences, when possible, to meet employees’ needs.

Effective management question number seven: “How do you feel about being contacted via cell phone or text outside of business hours? How do you feel about receiving emails during the evenings and weekends?”

If you’ve participated in one of our effective management trainings and received a box of Candor Questions for Managers, you know I could go on. But these seven questions are a good start.

Regardless of age, gender, or work and educational background, all employees have a few things in common. Employees want to:

• Work for someone who takes an interest in and knows them
• Feel valued and appreciated for their contributions
• Be part of and contribute to something greater than themselves
• Feel respected as a person. Managers respect their time, expertise, and needs

Taking the time to get to know employees throughout your working relationship accomplishes many employee needs.

If you have long time employees, it’s never too late to ask these questions. Regardless of for how long employees have worked for you, they’ll appreciate you asking. There is no need to feel that employees will raise an eyebrow and wonder why you’re asking now. They’ll just be happy you’re asking. You can simply say, “I realized that I’ve never overtly asked these questions. I just assume I know. But I don’t want to do that. You’re too valuable to me and to the organization. During our next one-on-one meeting I’d like to ask you these questions and you can ask me anything you’d like.”

If you have a manager who will never ask you these questions, provide him/her the information. Don’t wait to be asked. You’re 100% accountable for your career. Tell your manager, “There are a few things about myself I want to share with you. I think this information will make me easier to manage and will help ensure I do great work for the organization for a long time.”

Managers, the better your relationship with your employees and the more you know about what your employees need from you, the organization, and the job, the easier employees are to engage, retain, and manage. Stop guessing and start asking.

Effective Management


Ask Team Building Questions and Have More Fun at Work

We added to our team at Candid Culture a few weeks ago, so we did what I teach other organizations to do –used Candor Questions to onboard our new team member, and help the entire team get to know each other better.

I sent my team the Candor Questions below and asked them to pick a few additional team building questions for everyone on the team to answer.

  • What will keep you working here and what would make you leave?
  • What’s the best way to get information to you – voicemail, text, or email?
    • What time is too early?
    • What time is too late?
    • Do you leave your email and/or text alerts on at night/when you go to sleep?
    • Would you prefer I send all emails and text messages during regular business hours?
  • What frustrates you at work?
  • What are your pet peeves?
  • What’s something you want to learn, skill or business wise, that you haven’t had a chance to do?
  • What’s something you wish I would start, stop, or continuing doing?

We run so fast at work and are so focused on completing goals, we often don’t take the time to really get to know the people we work with. I feel very strongly that asking the team building questions above will help people work better together. We’ll make fewer ‘mistakes’ with each other, and get more done with less stress and more ease. As William Ury said in his book, Getting to Yes, “Go slow to go fast.”

team building questions

How many times have you sent someone five emails and become frustrated when none were returned? Or you thought an employee was happy, only to be surprised when she quit? Or you needed to talk with someone but couldn’t get her attention, so you walked by her office throughout the day, wondering if it was ok to knock? Working with other people doesn’t have to be so hard.

Taking the time to ask team building questions is much faster than recovering from missteps with other people. Ask the questions at the beginning of anything new – when you hire a new employee, get a new customer, or start a new project. And keep asking the questions as you work with people.

Asking questions about working style preferences and goals is an ongoing process, and it’s never too late. You can ask the team building questions during meetings or just slip them into your conversations. The process doesn’t have to be formal or time consuming. The point is simply, don’t guess what people need and are expecting from you, ask.

team building questions


Effective Management Requires Asking Questions

Effective ManagementIf an employee quits and the manager is surprised, shame on the manager. Employee turnover – literal turnover (he quits and leaves the building) or figurative turnover (he quits but continues to come in everyday and do his minimal best) – are extremely predictable.

Most employees need only a handful of things to be satisfied and productive at work. The key is getting employees to tell you what those things are. And they might just tell you, if you ask.

An employee’s first few weeks at a new job often involve a lot of training. Managers tell employees what they need to do and hopefully why they need to do those things. I recommend balancing telling with asking.

Effective management involves asking the seven questions below during the interview process, after an employee starts, and again 90-days to six months into the job.

Effective management question number one: “What brought you to this company? Why did you accept this job? What are you hoping the job will provide?” Ask one of these three questions. Pick the one you like best.

Effective management question number two: “What would make you leave this job? What are your career deal breakers, things you just can’t tolerate at work?” Ask either of these questions.

Effective management question number three: “What type of work, skills, and/or areas of our business do you want to learn more about?”

Effective management question number four: “Tell me about the best manager you ever had. What made him/her the best manager?” This will tell you what the employee needs from you as a manager and is a much better question than, “What do you need from me as your manager?” That is a hard question to answer. Telling you the best manager s/he ever had is easy.

Effective management question number five: “Tell me about the worst manager you ever had? What made him/her the worst manager?”

Effective management question number six: “What are your pet peeves at work? What will frustrate you?” Why find out the hard way what frustrates employees when it’s so easy to ask. This question demonstrates that you want your employees to be happy and that you will flex your own preferences, when possible, to meet employees’ needs.

Effective management question number seven: “How do you feel about being contacted via cell phone or text outside of business hours? How do you feel about receiving emails during the evenings and weekends?”

If you’ve participated in one of our effective management trainings and received a box of Candor Questions for Managers, you know I could go on. But these seven questions are a good start.

Regardless of age, gender, or work and educational background, all employees have a few things in common. Employees want to:

• Work for someone who takes an interest in and knows them
• Feel valued and appreciated for their contributions
• Be part of and contribute to something greater than themselves
• Feel respected as a person. Managers respect their time, expertise, and needs

Taking the time to get to know employees throughout your working relationship accomplishes many employee needs.

If you have long time employees, it’s never too late to ask these questions. Regardless of for how long employees have worked for you, they’ll appreciate you asking. There is no need to feel that employees will raise an eyebrow and wonder why you’re asking now. They’ll just be happy you’re asking. You can simply say, “I realized that I’ve never overtly asked these questions. I just assume I know. But I don’t want to do that. You’re too valuable to me and to the organization. During our next one-on-one meeting I’d like to ask you these questions and you can ask me anything you’d like.”

If you have a manager who will never ask you these questions, provide him/her the information. Don’t wait to be asked. You’re 100% accountable for your career. Tell your manager, “There are a few things about myself I want to share with you. I think this information will make me easier to manage and will help ensure I do great work for the organization for a long time.”

Managers, the better your relationship with your employees and the more you know about what your employees need from you, the organization, and the job, the easier employees are to engage, retain, and manage. Stop guessing and start asking.

Effective Management


Ask Team Building Questions and Be Less Frustrated at Work

We added to our team at Candid Culture a few weeks ago, so we did what I teach other organizations to do –use Candor Questions to onboard our new team member, and help the entire team get to know each other better.

I sent my team the Candor Questions below and asked them to pick a few additional team building questions for everyone on the team to answer.

  • What will keep you working here and what would make you leave?
  • What’s the best way to get information to you – voicemail, text, or email?
    • What time is too early?
    • What time is too late?
    • Do you leave your email and/or text alerts on at night/when you go to sleep?
    • Would you prefer I send all emails and text messages during regular business hours?
  • What frustrates you at work?
  • What are your pet peeves?
  • What’s something you want to learn, skill or business wise, that you haven’t had a chance to do?
  • What’s something you wish I would start, stop, or continuing doing?

We run so fast at work and are so focused on completing goals, we often don’t take the time to really get to know the people we work with. I feel very strongly that asking the team building questions above will help people work better together. We’ll make fewer ‘mistakes’ with each other, and get more done with less stress and more ease. As William Ury said in his book, Getting to Yes, “Go slow to go fast.”

team building questions

How many times have you sent someone five emails and become frustrated when none were returned? Or you thought an employee was happy, only to be surprised when she quit? Or you needed to talk with someone but couldn’t get her attention, so you walked by her office throughout the day, wondering if it was ok to knock? Working with other people doesn’t have to be so hard.

Taking the time to ask team building questions is much faster than recovering from missteps with other people. Ask the questions at the beginning of anything new – when you hire a new employee, get a new customer, or start a new project. And keep asking the questions as you work with people.

Asking questions about working style preferences and goals is an ongoing process, and it’s never too late. You can ask the team building questions during meetings or just slip them into your conversations. The process doesn’t have to be formal or time consuming. The point is simply, don’t guess what people need and are expecting from you, ask.

team building questions


Five Keys to Employee Engagement and Employee Retention

Employees leave managers not jobs. We’ve all heard this 100 times.

One of the most prevalent reasons for employee turnover is boredom and lack of growth. We’ve also heard this many times.

We know why employees leave jobs. The question is what must managers do to engage and retain their best people. The answer is actually quite simple, although possibly not easy to execute.

employee retentionEmployees want to know that their manager:

  • Knows them
  • Cares about and is invested in their careers
  • Gives feedback so they can improve
  • Provides opportunities so they can develop

In other words, employees need attention, and attention requires time, time many managers may not feel they have.

Here is a five-step formula for employee retention and employee engagement:

  1. Get to know employees better and differently
  2. Have meaningful, one-on-one meetings [at least] monthly
  3. Give feedback every time you meet
  4. Ask for and be open to feedback
  5. Create opportunities for employees to do the work that interests them most

Managers, how do you make time for these meetings when are busy and have several direct reports?

  1. Meet for 15-30 minutes
  2. Meet over the phone while commuting or waiting for flights
  3. Ask direct reports to create an agenda and run the meetings
  4. Ask direct reports to send follow-up notes of decisions and plans made during meetings. Give some of the accountability away.
  5. If meetings get cancelled, reschedule as soon as possible. Direct reports take cancelled meeting personally. Cancelled meetings, that are not rescheduled, send the message that managers don’t care about employees and their careers.

Employees, if your manager doesn’t schedule meetings with you:

  1. Ask permission to put a monthly meeting on your manager’s calendar
  2. Provide rationale for why you want to meet–to get your manager’s feedback and ensure you’re focused on the right work
  3. Ask permission to reschedule meetings when they get cancelled
  4. Don’t take cancelled meetings personally
  5. Offer to meet with your manager via the phone when it’s convenient for him/her. Leverage commute and travel time.

Employees need time with their managers. Meaningful discussions and work result in employee engagement and employee retention, so managers, make the time, even when you don’t feel you have it. Ask questions you don’t ask now. Give feedback, even if it’s uncomfortable. Give your employees an opportunity to do the work that interests them most. And watch your employee engagement and employee retention improve. And if your manager doesn’t do these things, politely and persistently ask. You won’t get what you don’t ask for.  We are all 100% accountable for our careers.


Be a Best Company – Four Employee Retention Strategies

I could give you a list of fifty employee retention strategies you could follow to improve employee performance, engagement and retention. But the truth is, there are really just four things you must do. Employees may appreciate the other 46 things but don’t necessarily need them to stay with your organization and do their best work.Ways to retain employees

The Colorado Society of Human Resource Management hosts an annual Best Companies competition, and organizations of all sizes compete. Last year I led a workshop before the awards ceremony. The purpose of the workshop was to share the things that make an organization a great place to work. While researching the program, the things that separate the great companies from the less desirable places to work became very clear. I’ll share those employee retention strategies here.

Employees ask themselves these questions at work:

  • Do I trust the leaders of this organization?
  • Does my opinion/voice matter in this organization?
  • Do I have a good relationship with my manager?
  • Is my manager invested in helping me advance my career?

Employees enjoy yoga, concierge service, espresso, and social events at work, but these perks don’t necessarily improve retention or performance. The only perk known to improve employee loyalty and commitment is a flexible schedule.  Everything else is nice to have, but not essential.

This is what’s really important to your employees:

  • I trust the leaders who run this organization.
  • My opinion means something.  I am listened to.
  • I feel respected (by my manager) and have good relationships in the organization.
  • My work is challenging and interesting.

So what should you do if you want to be a best place to work? 

Four Employee Retention Strategies Leaders Can Use to Create Relationships with Employees at All Levels:

1.  Know employees’ names, talents & career goals.

2. Be visible. Talk to employees.

3.  Give more information than you think you need to. Employees want to know how your organization is performing.

  • Hold town hall meetings. Give financial updates.
  • Use ‘Ask the CEO’ boxes to encourage questions and feedback.
  • Encourage senior leaders to conduct small, roundtable discussions with employees at all levels.

4.  Align leaders’ words and actions.

  • Organizational guidelines are applied consistently among all employees.
  • Don’t gossip or chuck other leaders under the bus.
  • Be consistent. Don’t say, “The CEO says this, but we’re going to do this instead.”

Four Employee Retention Strategies Managers Can Take:

1.   Meet one-on-one with employees and have meaningful discussions about employees’ performance and career goals.

2.  Ask employees for their opinion and demonstrate that you’ve heard them.

3.  Provide opportunities for employees to do work they enjoy.

4.  Ensure employees who want to advance in your organization are learning and growing.

Read about our Be a Great Place to Work leadership training program designed for Senior Leaders and HR Professionals.


Become a Candid Culture – Make It Easier to Give Feedback at Work

For the most part, people are afraid to speak up at work. Despite the town hall meetings and roundtable discussions executives host, the feedback training offered, the existence of ask-the-CEO email addresses and blogs, and employee satisfaction and engagement surveys, many employees are still afraid to give feedback at work, citing fear of damaging relationships, being fired, and other forms of retaliation.

Those of you who have worked with me, read How to Say Anything to Anyone, and/or used our tools, know that I am on a quest to make it easier to tell the truth at work.

The Candid Culture Vision:

  1. Coworkers, leaders, and managers set clear expectations before problems occur. No one has to guess what is expected of them and what a good job looks like.
  2. Employees ask for and receive regular, balanced and candid feedback and always know where they stand performance wise.
  3. Managers and leaders are open to and ask for feedback. They always know what’s really happening in the organization and can lead accordingly.
  4. People talk to each other versus about each other. Gossip and drama is the exception, not the norm.
  5. Work is a fun place to be. People enjoy working together and produce their best work.

Many of you are taking actions to create the environment I’ve described above. I want to hear from you and want to use this blog to share practices for creating more candid communication at work.

VerticalResponse1.20.14blog

Add a comment and tell us:

  • What you are doing to increase the trust and communication in your organization.
  • The avenues you are using to give feedback on your team, in your department, or in your entire organization.

We’ll enter you to win 50 of our new door tags. The door tags were designed to tell your coworkers that your office is a place they can speak freely, without concern.


Thank You Notes For Employees – Engage & Retain Employees

When I was 27 my boss gave me a yellow sticky note that said “thanks” for something I had done well at work.  When I was 29 he gave me a card when I broke up with a long term boyfriend. I still have both. And I’m way past 27 and 29.

He is the only manager in my entire career who wrote me a personal note. And it meant everything to me. He took the time to do something others didn’t. The notes were personal and thus they meant something to me – they still do.  And the notes took him only seconds to write and cost almost nothing.

When is the last time you received a handwritten note? Not a note from Send Out Cards, that is made to look handwritten, or a note written by someone’s assistant, or a note that was typed and then hand signed? Rather, a real handwritten note, with a message, just for you? My guess is not in a long time.

Your employees like perks – paid time off, gift cards, bonuses, onsite yoga classes, concierge service, etc. But perks are not what result in engaged and retained employees.  There is a lot of research on what results in employees doing their best work and being loyal to both their manager and to the organization.

Here’s a snap shot of some of the research on engaging and retaining employees.

Employees:

  • Need to trust senior management
  • Want to work for someone who cares about them, is invested in their success, and with whom they have a good relationship

I won’t tell you not to give bonuses or gift cards, but I will tell you to give each bonus and gift card with a handwritten note. The handwritten note will mean more and last longer. I promise you.

I admit I love stationery.  In fact, I collect it. I always have a stash of cards, ready to go for any occasion. And if you know me long and well enough, you will receive a handwritten note from me.

Because I love stationery so much, I’ve always wanted to create a line of greeting cards, and now we have. Today we’re launching Candor Cards.  Thank you notes for employees designed to help you say what you want to say.

Use the cards at work and at home to:Thank you notes for employees

  • Say thank you
  • Provide encouragement
  • Give positive feedback
  • Say you’re sorry
  • Reinforce training

I hope you like and use our thank you notes for employees! Enjoy!

Spend less. Say more.

Thank you notes for employees


Why Not Be Awesome?

A few weeks ago a fellow business owner told me about one of his employees whose performance had dropped. The work she was producing was acceptable but not as good she had done in the past and not as good as he knew she was capable of doing. So he asked her to rate her performance.

He asked his employee, “If you had to rate the level of work you’re producing, how engaged you are in your job, and how committed you are to the company, how would you rate yourself?” The employee thought about her manager’s question and replied with a score of 65%. He asked why she wasn’t giving the job 100% of her effort and ability.  She said she didn’t know.

We all have times when we coast and do our minimal best. Sometimes we’re tired and need a break, or don’t like the type of work we’re doing, or don’t like the people we’re working for or with. Those are typical reasons for producing so-so work or having a moderate level of commitment to a company or job.

But sometimes none of those things are at play. We’ve just become complacent.

Evaluate where you are today in your level of commitment to and interest in your job. What score would you give yourself? If you’re not giving 100%, why not?

If you rated yourself below 100% ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you like the work you’re doing?
  • Are you bored?
  • Do you care about the work you’re doing or the work the company does?
  • Do you like who you work with and for?
  • When’s the last time you took time off? Really took time off, without checking email.

If your performance and level of commitment is less than you know you’re capable of doing, and your performance level is related to the questions above, have a conversation with someone in your organization who can help you do something about those things. Things won’t get better without your intervention.

If you’re not sure how to ask for more or different work, read my new book How to Say Anything to Anyone and get the language you need to have this conversation. The book won’t be in bookstores or available on Amazon until January, but we have some advanced copies for our clients.

If there are no issues to address, ask yourself if you’ve just gotten complacent. Have you gotten into the habit of coasting and delivering work that’s not at the level you’re capable of doing, for no particular reason? If that’s the case, recommit to checking back in and raising your performance –just because you can.

Why not be awesome?

 

 


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