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Posts Tagged ‘employee turnover’

Increase Your Job Satisfaction – Ask for What You Need

So much has changed in the last year and a half. And what you need to be happy at work may have changed too. The question is, do the people you work for and with know what you need now?

You aren’t likely to get what you don’t ask for, but most people don’t ask for very much. We assume that the people we work with will do the right thing without prompting. We’ll get the recognition and compensation we deserve at work because it’s the right thing to do. We’ll be included in important meetings and decisions regardless of from where we are working.

If you read this blog regularly, you already know that I’m a proponent of setting clear expectations and asking more questions before problems occur. Consider what you want and need, anticipate what can go wrong, and plan accordingly before problems happen. Doing that sounds great in theory, but how does it work in practice?

Here are five ways to increase your job satisfaction:

Increasing your job satisfaction tip one:  Be honest with yourself about what you need to be happy at work. Rather than tell yourself you won’t get what you need or try to convince yourself that you shouldn’t need something, just admit your needs to yourself.

Increasing your job satisfaction tip two:  Share your needs with people who can help you get those needs met. Don’t make people guess. Chances are they won’t guess at all or will guess wrong.

Increasing your job satisfaction tip three:  Don’t assume things will go well and just wait and see what happens. Instead, set clear expectations at the beginning of new projects and working relationships.

Here’s how that could sound: “We’re going to be working together for the next six months. Let’s talk about how everyone likes to communicate, what people’s pet peeves are, and the kind of information each person wants to receive.”

Here’s another example of how that could sound: “I’m excited to work on this project with you. There are a few things to know about me that will help us work well together and deliver timely results. I ask a lot of questions. Let me know if this frustrates you. I’m not questioning you; I just have a need to understand why we do what we do. And I work best with a deadline. I am happy to be available off hours, but you probably won’t hear from me before 9 am. You will get messages and work from me at night and on the weekends. Just let me know if you’d prefer I schedule messages to go out during regular business hours.”

People might give you what you need if you ask, but they likely won’t if you don’t. Train others how to work with you.

Increasing your job satisfaction tip four:  Agree to talk about things as they happen. Don’t wait until you’re about to explode to speak up.

That could sound like, “I want us to work well together, and things will go wrong. Can we agree that we’ll provide feedback as things happen so we can make timely adjustments?”

Increasing your job satisfaction tip five:  Renegotiate when you need to. If you realize you need or want something that you didn’t ask for, go back and ask. It’s never too late.

Here’s how that could sound, “We touch base about once a month and I’m realizing that if we could talk for about 20 minutes once a week, I’d be able to get more done. Can we make that happen?”

Job satisfaction and happiness don’t just happen. The people you work with are not you and they don’t know what you need. Make a regular practice of identifying what you need, making those needs known, and then speaking up when things go awry. You won’t get what you don’t ask for, but you will get what you allow.

 


Effective Management Requires Asking Questions

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.

Effective Management

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

I recommend asking the seven questions below. I call the questions, Candor Questions.

Candor 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.

Candor 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.

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

Candor 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.

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

Candor 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.

Candor 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 management trainings or 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, work, and educational background, 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. Don’t worry 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. 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 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


Let Unhappy Employees and Vendors Go – Don’t Chase

letting an employee goSeveral years ago I hired a vendor that wasn’t a good fit. Try as we might to work together, we didn’t communicate well. Everything was a struggle. After a frustrating few weeks, the owner of the business offered to refund my money and amicably part ways. His company had already done work on our behalf and I didn’t want to lose momentum. I turned him down. That was a mistake. When a small business owner, who needs your business (money), tells you to go elsewhere, listen. We parted ways a few months later in a much more costly and less amicable way.

You don’t want to work with people who don’t want to work with you. The same is true for friends and romantic relationships. Don’t chase people. If they don’t want you, move on. There are lots of other people who will see your value.

There are differing schools of thought on whether or not you should try to retain unhappy employees who quit. I’d be interested in seeing statistics on how long employees who quit but are then retained, stay with an organization and how well they perform. I’d let them go. Again, you don’t want people who don’t want you.

The challenge is that most people are afraid to speak up in organizations and relationships (of all kinds) when they’re unhappy. Unhappy employees typically quit versus make requests and give feedback.

The antidote is to create a culture in which employees, vendors, and customers openly make requests and talk about what is and isn’t working. Create a climate of candor in which feedback is exchanged regularly versus just during exit interviews, which is too late.

How to know when to cut bait with unhappy employees and vendors:

  1. You’ve had several open discussions and can’t meet each others’ needs. If you don’t have a job the employee wants, that’s a good reason to part ways.
  1. It’s not a good culture fit. You talk and talk but don’t communicate. Issues don’t get resolved. Frustration is the norm. This is also a good reason to end a working (or personal) relationship.

Five steps to create a more candid culture:

  1. Discuss employees’, customers’, and vendors’ needs and requests at the beginning of working relationships. Agree upon what success and a good job looks like. Ask lots and lots of questions, and listen closely to the answers.
  1. Ask for feedback regularly. Conduct a weekly plus/delta (a discussion of what is and isn’t working) during which all parties are invited and expected to speak freely. The more you have these discussions, the easier they will be and the more candid people will become.
  1. Address challenges as they come up.
  1. Discuss challenges that can’t be fixed.
  1. If a relationship isn’t working, end it sooner rather than later. Be slow to hire and quick to fire.

There are lots of talented vendors and employees. Find employees and suppliers who are easy to work with (for you) and who can meet your needs, and vice versa. If you can’t meet each others’ needs or the relationship is a constant struggle, those are good reasons to move on. Don’t chase.

why employees quit


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


Let Unhappy Employees and Vendors Go – Don’t Chase

unhappy employees

Several years ago I hired a vendor that wasn’t a good fit. Try as we might to work together, we didn’t communicate well. Everything was a struggle. After a frustrating few weeks, the owner of the business offered to refund my money and amicably part ways. His company had already done work on our behalf and I didn’t want to lose momentum. I turned him down. That was a mistake. When a small business owner, who needs your business (money), tells you to go elsewhere, listen. We parted ways a few months later in a much more costly and less amicable way.

You don’t want to work with people who don’t want to work with you. The same is true for friends and romantic relationships. Don’t chase people. If they don’t want you, move on. There are lots of other people who will see your value.

There are differing schools of thought on whether or not you should try to retain unhappy employees who quit. I’d be interested in seeing statistics on how long employees who quit but are then retained, stay with an organization and how well they perform. I’d let them go. Again, you don’t want people who don’t want you.

The challenge is that most people are afraid to speak up in organizations and relationships (of all kinds) when they’re unhappy. Unhappy employees typically quit versus make requests and give feedback.

The antidote is to create a culture in which employees, vendors, and customers openly make requests and talk about what is and isn’t working. Create a climate of candor in which feedback is exchanged regularly versus just during exit interviews, which is too late.

How to know when to cut bait with unhappy employees and vendors:

  1. You’ve had several open discussions and can’t meet each others’ needs. If you don’t have a job the employee wants, that’s a good reason to part ways.
  1. It’s not a good culture fit. You talk and talk but don’t communicate. Issues don’t get resolved. Frustration is the norm. This is also a good reason to end a working (or personal) relationship.

Five steps to create a more candid culture:

  1. Discuss employees’, customers’, and vendors’ needs and requests at the beginning of working relationships. Agree upon what success and a good job looks like. Ask lots and lots of questions, and listen closely to the answers.
  1. Ask for feedback regularly. Conduct a weekly plus/delta (a discussion of what is and isn’t working) during which all parties are invited and expected to speak freely. The more you have these discussions, the easier they will be and the more candid people will become.
  1. Address challenges as they come up.
  1. Discuss challenges that can’t be fixed.
  1. If a relationship isn’t working, end it sooner rather than later. Be slow to hire and quick to fire.

There are lots of talented vendors and employees. Find employees and suppliers who are easy to work with (for you) and who can meet your needs, and vice versa. If you can’t meet each others’ needs or the relationship is a constant struggle, those are good reasons to move on. Don’t chase.

why employees quit


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-one-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


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