Are you too busy to care about your employees’ needs and wants? Perhaps you're so occupied stamping out fires that your operations or sales employee needs are way, way down on your list, or your customer service team’s cries for updated technology have met deaf ears because of a recent marketplace downturn.
It is understandable that maintaining a profitable, viable organization surpasses tending to other organizational and human resource requests from time to time. That said, being tone deaf to those less-urgent wishes and wants may ultimately take a toll on the top and bottom line by pushing good employees away.
To increase the odds that your employees will remain loyal to your company, consider fulfilling the following seven check-boxes of common employee “wants.”
1. Optimistic Outlook
If you feel your leadership role is to continually nip at the heels of your teams with a gloom and doom message of ‘the sky is falling,’ then expect key players to tire of the negativity. Even if the buck stops with you in regard to sales and profit numbers, and you sincerely are anxious regarding a potential downturn, you must not continually show that side of your angst.
Instead, balance your expressed concerns about a tight or down market with optimistic encouragement. Celebrate when sales, service and other successes arise. Pat contributors on the back with written and spoken commendations. You could even add a bell that you physically ring for special accomplishments, like when a new client is brought on board.
Bottom line: encourage the team members that, despite the challenges, you are confident in them, and in the future of the company. Breeding seeds of optimism and hope encourages employees to remain rooted in your organization’s goals versus uprooting and replanting themselves with a new company.
2. Culture of Integrity
While the word “integrity” is often thrown around loosely, it still remains important. Individual employees who otherwise seem wholly content with their workplace and have proven long-term sustainability may surprise you by one day resigning if they sense integrity issues within the company.
While it might seem out of the blue to you, it may have been a long time coming as leadership committed or enforced unethical practices. Whether it is promoting disingenuous people in the organization or other decisions that fray the integrity around the edges of the cultural fabric, employees who hold integrity in high regard can only withstand so much dishonorable behavior before they jump the employer ship.
3. A Toxicity-Free Workplace
Toxicity is a key reason many employees vacate companies in search of a new work home. In some instances, an employee is internally promoted or externally recruited into a tight-knit, uninviting culture where they are left to fend for themselves, meeting obstacles at every turn.
In other instances, a long-term, seemingly indispensable employee has been allowed to run amok with their bad, belligerent and/or bullying behavior. Despite another employee’s initial success in overcoming the toxic culture created by the aforementioned, they will ultimately become fatigued by the toxicity. This fatigue leads to active job searching, or at the very least, to a strong vulnerability to a recruiter’s pitch when they come calling.
4. Advancement Opportunities
Most employees are content with their roles the first couple of years or so after being brought on board from an outside company or promoted internally. However, after a few years, as they begin to hone their craft and master day-to-day activities, they often get bored.
You can't simply assume that an employee who performs highly is enjoying their job. Ignoring that employee’s hunger for growth and advancement could result in regret later, when the employee, frustrated with a lack of advancement opportunities, moves up and out of the organization for greener pastures.
A better option for all involved would have been mentoring that employee for growth opportunities internally, while also enabling that person to coach another employee to replace them. This cycle of talent planning and promotion also augments a company’s overall reputation for potential recruits.
An employee whose every move is questioned and each action micromanaged becomes weary of the weight of their boss’s shadow. Not only are they burdened by normal expectations, but they also have to double down on justifying their every move, which adds to their day-to-day stress and aggravation. The continual second-guessing and over-the-shoulder leadership erodes the employee’s attitude to the point they no longer wish to work for this leader; this makes them a captive audience when a more empowering opportunity is presented to them.
6. The Time and Space to Do Their Job Well
If you are the boss that purposely or maybe just thoughtlessly puts a wedge in between your employee and their success objectives, then stop! By interrupting their day with inane tasks that interrupt their productivity flow, you are not only frustrating them in the moment, but it’s also likely that your continued obstructions are whittling down their resolve altogether.
By tuning into your employee’s day-to-day initiatives and being cognizant of their workflow and needs for space to do their job, you can enable their productivity. The more productive and successful an employee is in their role, the more likely they will feel job satisfaction, and ultimately, a desire to stay put versus diving into the job search waters.
7. Modern Technology
If your technology systems are misfiring and your staff is stumbling around in the dark trying to meet customer needs, you might want to open up your expense account. While saving money by not spending on the latest technology may seem prudent now, high-performing professionals in this environment will find themselves scanning the job ads for more modern facilities to call their work home.