I enjoy this time of year because the human resources leaders I speak with have caught their breath and gotten ready for the new year. They always approach it with a great deal of excitement and trepidation. You find new plans mixed with that fear of knowing they’ll have to find new talent to replace the experienced talent they may lose during the upcoming year. The great frustration I always hear is what can we do differently to prevent these people from leaving?
Here is a product summary of how our platform is being used by clients and maybe you the reader.
I find that it always comes back to employee engagement. Exit interviews tell the same story. Most employees leave because they feel insignificant in the larger organizational mission and the relationship with their manager.
We took the time to work with clients in Q4 and make a roadmap of enhancements that will address this core challenges.
One thing seems absolutely essential. We all want to build a culture that is based on valuing not just employees, the trite answer, but their contributions across the organization and how they contribute throughout the process. Enough with cheerleading and generic, fast-food answers. Time to do things right.
Here is how we go about doing it. Starting at the top.
- Communicate with your employees
- Be authentic with your employees
- Streamline and focus your employee engagement programs
More specifically here is how the platform is evolving.
Communicate with your employees–Chances are you’re doing a bad job at this. That’s not me saying you’re a bad employer it’s me telling you what you already know. I hear this a lot. We need to do a better job communicating with our employees.
The most sensible way is for direct managers to communicate with their direct reports. It’s hard to do for many reasons. The reasons it’s not being done is a major factor in employee engagement failing and for the employee moving on to the next job. But if you change your culture and make engaging with your direct reports a key component of the culture, including, possibly, their performance analysis the communication usually improves.
I’ve seen organizations double down on their communication and it works. They decided that the effort was worth it and, in each case, the positive results were outstanding and, in a few cases, transformative.
Be authentic with your employees–I see so many attempts at the one size fits all solutions to employee engagement. I can assure you that this approach does not work. Your employees expect you to be authentic in how you view and treat them,
Each organizational culture is unique. Can you expect a manufacturing company to have the same culture type as a software solutions organization? No, of course not, it would be absurd to expect that. But still, we think that when we engage employees that’s exactly what we should do.
You need to build a program that uses solutions customized to your unique needs. We live in a world where giants come in and say of course this will fit your needs. No, you don’t need a program that says it will fit your needs you need a program that WILL fit your needs.
If you don’t your employees will see right through you. They will see that you’re not being authentic because you want the fast, cheap and easy solution to dealing with employees. You need to put the work into being authentic and meeting their needs. Would you trust someone who is not authentic to you? Why do you think you’re employees will?
Streamline and focus your employee engagement programs–This is a problem I see all the time. The horrors of hundreds of legacy programs. It is as if we have this one program to put on the right shoe, this other to put on the left, this third program to put on the left program, and on. None of them really do what you need and they are all configured in such a way that there is no easy way to do what you want.
The solution really is to build the type of solution that meets your needs. I get asked all the time about how we can work with what we have. The simple answer is that you can’t. It is usually such a mess of crossed wires that if you try to straighten everything else you’re likely to twist yourself up even worse.
Don’t try to twist an existing legacy system and hope it meets your needs. Come into the light and build a program that is designed to meet your needs. If you want to meet the needs of your employees and successful engage, and retain them, then you need to take some extra time and customize a program to match your culture.
It’s very easy to do that.
So here are some action steps:
- Communicate directly with your employees–We all know how to do it by now. Let them know they matter and let them know you care. It’s about making them feel like they are contributing.
- Be authentic–It sounds so easy but it is very hard. Create a program that is unique to your organization’s culture. If you use the one size fits all approach you’ll see who the approaches misses, who doesn’t fit, because they are walking out the door.
- Build a program that suits your culture–It’s what I say to the HR executives, “the solution needs to fit your culture because your culture won’t fit the solution.” Find and build a solution that meets your needs.
Your culture is unique. Your engagement of your employees is unique. You need to find that solution that fits your employee engagement needs. Remember your employees won’t buy into your culture unless you can show you want to engage them based on the culture. You have the option of doing that now. Will you?