I know when I speak to the HR innovators KangoGift works with the conversation turns to how busy we are. They speak to me often and at length about how their jobs are becoming both busier and more complex. It seems like being busy is the universal constant across all organizations.
So if managers are busy, how can they possibly lead their employees? How can they engage them? The simple answer is that there is quite a bit they can do actually.to be fully engaged as a leader.
So let me share with you some of the insights I’ve seen in my ongoing discussions with HR managers trying to build a stronger organization and profession. One thing that is clear to me is there are some basic concepts which, with some work, can be turned into actionable items that will create a stronger managerial style leading to a stronger overall team.
These concepts are:
- Empower employees through personal growth
- Empower employees to work without distractions
- Be sure to ALLY with the organization’s goals
Let me walk through these in more detail with you.
Empower your employees through personal growth--Managers embody the values of the organization to the employees. They bring them to life and are the champions of the organization to their direct reports. But to be successful in doing this we need to discard the old notions of the hierarchical structure. We have to meet the employees need for an experience.
Let me make clear that I am not talking about having cake and ice cream every Friday. Though nothing wrong with that! It’s not just about making people happy. It’s about increasing your credibility by allowing employees new experiences via training or the expansion of their abilities. One thing I have noticed is that fulfillment can be achieved by personal satisfaction. You lead by making each person on the team stronger.
Empower employees to work without distractions--When I’m talking with the human resources leaders I meet with regularly they all notice the same thing; in today’s constantly evolving and shifting environment, the manager who empowers the employee by giving them the freedom to do their job with the confidence to grow with it while pursuing achievable, consistent goals will grow as a manager and as a leader by having a team used to accomplishment.
This also allows the manager to become a more effective manager. Thanks to the empowerment of employees, some of the out-of-date styles and hallmarks can be replaced. No longer do they ask things like “how well did you do,” or “what will make you happy here?” Instead questions like share “how do you think your accomplishments impacted our core values, or what skills are you looking to enhance?”
All of these questions empower the employees by making them feel they are engaged and contributing to the achievement of the organization’s goals and missions. It makes the managers life very much better because they don’t have to hover and can achieve some level of relief from the flood of communications they might have well received
Be sure to ALLY with the organization's goals--. ALLY (Ask, Listen, Learn, You take action). I know we are all aware of the lack of need for another acronym in business still this is the one that will empower managers to make their interactions with the team more effective; and help them be successful.
This is how employers and employees engage in this universe where retention has changed its focus from keeping an employee in the head count to keeping a valuable person within the organization while also keeping them in a fulfilling role. The more I speak with HR leaders the more I hear that. So now the focus has shifted from that to maximizing employee contribution. The way to do that is to increase employee engagement by making them feel respected and believing they are in a position where their growth can be the focus. Where they can have that path that serves as a learning tool for them.
Here is how having an ALLY can work for you:
Ask--Basically engage with your employees As mentioned before, understand their goals and what they want from the relationship. What would make your experience here more meaningful? What skills are you looking to enhance? Are your responsibilities what you expected? Questions like these enhance both the managerial and employee experience and maximize the time investment by the managers.
Listen--Possibly the hardest part of the employee engagement process. The manager, as the agent and face of the company has to not only listen to what the employee is saying, but gauge the answer as to satisfy the spirit in which they are asking it. This is a big test for the manager since they have to ensure that any followup meets the employees standards but also continues to both satisfy the employees needs/engagement while also ensuring the manager is seen as a trusted agent of the organization.
Learn--This may be the most interesting part of the entire ALLY process. Learn is for both sides really. For the manager it’s about learning key information from the employee that allows them to be a better team leader. For the employee it’s about learning different methods, abilities down to solutions that empower them and allow for personal and professional growth. The hard part is seeing how we can combine the two.
You Take Action--The action items that the manager must take. Success only comes from when people know what to do after the various discussions and goal setting. The truest measure of employee engagement is to see that you are in fact, engaging the employee. Ultimately it falls to the manager to take steps to ensure the program will by days end be successful.
There are so many different ways to do this. Still you will need to look at those you have decided to use and then measure them against not just the steps you’ve agreed to but to the agreed upon metrics.
Let me wrap this up with some key takeaways for you:
- Asking questions is the only way to properly engage with employees. It is essential that the right questions are asked, what are your expectations for the role? The main feature of this role is to demonstrate your interest in the person and your willingness to help them be successful. This breeds loyalty to your leadership style, enables you to be a mentor, and provides the employee a chance to know they have a supporter helping them. This approach can lead to enhance employee retention and growth at your organization.
- Make sure you empower employees by not only being hands off, but by making sure they have the necessary tools and expertise to succeed.. Retention has shifted from the staying or quitting model to enhancing the employees contribution to the organization in various roles. Make sure you give the employees the tools to succeed and make sure they become more engaged by knowing this and knowing how it contributes to the larger organizational success.
- Make sure to ALLY with the organization’s larger goals. The ALLY method is an easy tool to help you walk through the previously described goals and provide a yardstick to measure the success of how well you’re engaging with your employees by both talking, but also, most importantly by listening.
There are so many managers around who are so busy that they don’t know what their employees are thinking. Yet the claim to know what they are thinking. There are a number of ways to do this but the best way I can think of is to use the methods above to create your own method of finding out what the heck is going on.