January is a time for setting healthier resolutions to lose weight and get back in shape. For this month’s Inspiring HR “rallying cry” for small business leaders, I want to ask you, What’s your plan for shaping up your employee experience?
I assure you: this is a vital question to ask and answer!
An engaged workforce is vital to your bottom line. Engaged employees are more productive. Engaged employees also tend to stay in their jobs and not look for new opportunities elsewhere. Productivity and engagement are vital strategies for keeping your best clients happy and attracting new clients. So let’s take a few minutes to reflect on how you can shape up your employee experience: so you have a healthy and thriving workforce and company.
Get a Pulse-Check
Employee engagement is fluid. How your employees felt a month ago about their work and lives isn’t necessarily how they feel today. What’s your process for getting a pulse check on the state of mind of your team members? Are your ongoing check-ins scheduled? How about performance reviews? Are those on the calendar yet? If not, get these meetings scheduled! Even if something comes up and you need to reschedule, you’ll at least have prompters to ensure you’re gauging how your team members are doing.
Conduct Stay Interviews
Too often, leaders wait until the employee resigns to schedule a final interview to find out what went wrong and what the leader could do better in the future. It’s too late at that point to save a great employee from walking out the door. That’s why we recommend conducting “Stay Interviews”: dedicated time to check in with the employee, find out what’s working and what could be working better. I’d much rather you have the ability to impact change and course-correct before a star employee hands in her resignation letter.
Your “Break In Case of Emergency” Toolkit
Do you have a portfolio of tools and resources to help employees who are burned out or overwhelmed from the challenges of their work? The pandemic has turned the volume up on all stresses. Make sure you have a robust toolkit of ways to help employees. A classic and effective tool is to encourage employees who are experiencing chronic stress to take a day off. Simply turning off email, Slack, chat, and going “off the grid” for a day or two can re-set a person’s batteries. But your best performers are often the least likely to wave the white flag and ask for help. You need to be proactive and intervene.
Fine-Tune Your Engagement Skills
Often, we talk in business about hard skills like technical ability and soft skills like communication. But there’s nothing “soft” about the art and science of engagement. How are your engagement skills when giving feedback and coaching employees on managing change? As the founder and owner of an HR company dedicated to uncomplicating HR and empowering small business leaders, I can assure you that I have to train my engagement skills every week. Like a muscle, engagement skills atrophy if not used. Ask yourself: am I engaging my team members expertly, or could I use some improvement?
Refining the Remote Work Experience
Since the pandemic, many small businesses realized that many, if not most, employees can work remotely. In fact, many employees report that they enjoy working remotely, and productivity data suggests this is true. That doesn’t mean remote work is a walk in the park. Employees, kids, partners, pets, and other dynamics in the home provide plenty of other opportunities for distraction and contribute to work stress. To shape up employee engagement this year, consider taking a hard look at your employees’ remote work experience, and help them to thrive and flourish: wherever they call “the office.”
Coaching Energy Management
Work, like life, is a marathon, not a sprint. We have all felt the grind of working and living through the pandemic. While we’re optimistic that we’ll someday feel the worst of the pandemic is behind us, that doesn’t mean that it hasn’t taken a toll on our overall energy and mental state. To shape up employee engagement, consider coaching your employees on how they can maintain positive energy. This could mean blocking calendars to focus on deep work or taking short breaks throughout the day to stretch, exercise, or meditate. There are infinite ways to maintain positive energy. Make sure you’re checking in with your employees and that they have a long list of tools to maintain positive energy and focus.
Identify Motivating Triggers
Your employees have different motivations for engagement:
– Some thrive on deadlines.
– Others feel immense satisfaction crossing items off To-Do Lists.
– Your employees may be most motivated when they feel connected to the bigger mission and vision of your company.
– And, of course, compensation and benefits rank high as motivators for engagement and retention.
As you shape up your company’s health this year, conduct an assessment of your team members’ motivations—and coach, manage and lead using those motivations.
While you’re reflecting on ways to shape up your employees’ overall engagement and business health, make sure to take time to check in with yourself. How is your energy level these days? What tools will you tap into when you’re starting to feel overwhelmed and stressed? You can’t lead at your best if you’re not at your best. You might be the kind of Servant Leader who puts others’ needs first. That’s noble and admirable. But don’t let that Servant Leader spirit backfire on you. Ensure that week to week and month to month, you’re staying true to the habits, routines, and practices that help you show up your best.
At Inspiring HR, we uncomplicate HR and empower small businesses. Ready to learn more about how we can help you? Call us at 804-715-1920 to schedule a consultation or contact one of our human resource consultants.