Do Your Employees Think You Don’t Care About Them? Reverse That Thinking Today.
Does your organization care about its employees’ wellbeing? And by that, we mean really care? A recent Gallup survey of the four generations currently working today shows Gen Z and Millennials, which make up about half (46%) of the workforce, say their #1 expectation is a work culture that cares about its employees. Meanwhile, that same expectation ranked #2 in importance for Boomers and Gen Xers.
Clearly, employees want to feel that they matter. They don’t want to be a nobody. They want to know they’re making a difference, are respected, and are empowered to succeed.
Lots of organizations and leaders strive to support their people’s wellbeing. But not all have dedicated plans and activities that align around this vital goal. Taking a proactive approach to build in ways to show you care isn’t just about sourcing better employee benefits or upping vacation time. It’s deeper than that and, as outlined in MAP’s bestselling book, “The Disciplined Leader: Keeping the Focus on What Really Matters,” it’s taking action around fundamental principles that ensure people feel safe, supported and lifted.
Here are some straightforward ways to ensure they know you truly care about them.
Be in the moment. When connecting with your team or individual employees, commit to ditch distractions, turn off your phone, talk less and listen more. Notice when team members reach out to share thoughts or ideas. Then slow down, create the time and space for such opportunities to take place, and genuinely focus on the person or people before you. As the saying goes, your presence is the best present. Being in the moment is about connecting with your team, building engagement, and showing others they really matter. Simple good habits, like looking people in the eye, let people know you think they’re important.
Give effective performance feedback. It’s common for employees to have their job performance overlooked or to come out of an annual performance feedback meeting feeling underwhelmed about what they’ve heard and learned. Disciplined Leaders, however, take the initiative to build in great practices around effective performance feedback. For starters, they up the frequency of the feedback in ways big and small. They practice real-time feedback and more regular check-ins (e.g., daily, weekly or monthly) rather than wait for some formal job review six months or more down the road. They also coach versus tell people how to do their jobs, empowering employees to build accountability around the job performance. And another thing Disciplined Leaders do: focus more on successes versus failures, not just highlighting activities but the people behind those wins.
Advocate for your people. There will be times when you have to go to bat for an employee, your team, or maybe even your entire organization. It will take courage to do so, but it will prove crucial in demonstrating your leadership competency and how much you value whoever it is you are defending. Remember, when your people know you’ve got their back, its sends two messages: one, they are important; and two, that you truly care about them.