In my career, I’ve been very fortunate to work for managers who made coaching and developing their team members a top priority. Unfortunately, not everyone is so lucky. In fact, roughly three million Americans quit their job each month, which is probably why HR leaders have made improved retention a primary focus.
As a manager myself, I want to pay my good fortune forward. And frankly, it just makes good business sense and good karma. Below are four ways to find — and keep — happy, productive employees who are a great fit for your organization.
- Start during the interview process.
The interview process is often compared to speed dating. You don’t have much time to really get to know someone before you make a decision to continue the relationship (or not).
So, how can you quickly get a feel for whether someone is a good fit for your organization? Here at DemandGen, our core values are central not only to our corporate culture, but also to the hiring process. During an interview, we do our best to listen between the lines to gauge whether candidates share those same values.
For example, when you ask a candidate how they handled a project that didn’t go well, listen carefully to how they respond. Do they focus solely on themselves, or do they talk about working together as a team to overcome any challenges? Those kinds of subtle nuances can indicate how collaborative they are and whether you share similar values and goals.
Also, do they genuinely seem excited about the opportunity? Sometimes, people interview for the sake of sharpening their interviewing skills. Or, even worse, they may not think it’s a good fit, but they’ll do anything to get out of their current job.
- Publicly recognize those who do great work and embody your core values.
Once you’ve decided someone is a good fit, it’s important that you continue to foster and encourage those core values. One way to do this is through public recognition.
It’s really discouraging when you feel you’ve done a really great job, and no one seems to notice or care. When anyone — both personally and professionally — doesn’t feel valued, they’re going to look elsewhere. And why would you want to work with someone who doesn’t appreciate what you’re bringing to the table?
We all need recognition (myself included). It’s especially important when someone goes above and beyond to get the job done. People who consistently go above and beyond are the people you generally enjoy working with and certainly want to keep around. Even people who may seem to shy away from public recognition tend to appreciate that their hard work is noticed.
A Society of Human Resource Professionals survey found that employee recognition positively affects the overall employee experience in addition to your organizational culture and values:
It’s important to praise and reward those who believe in and support your mission as well as live your organization’s core values — not only the people on your team, but anyone in the organization who deserves recognition. Because we’re all in this together.
- Create a culture of honesty and respect.
When in your career have you been the most satisfied with your work environment? Why do you think that is? For me, it’s been when I’ve felt like my team — and even the larger organization— was like an extended family. There was a high level of trust and the ability to be honest and open with one another without fear of retaliation.
Sometimes, you need to let a team member know that they need to improve in a particular area. That individual also needs to be receptive to your feedback. And that comes with honest, two-way communication. Conversely, if someone recognizes something you or the organization can do differently, we need to be receptive and let them know they have a voice.
And if someone on your team isn’t willing to put in the work in order to do that, don’t let their negativity or lack of respect for others take everyone else down with them. This is the hardest part of the job. It really is. Some managers avoid it altogether because it makes them uncomfortable, but it’s truly a disservice to the organization. This is a partnership, and a partnership goes both ways.
Honest, open communication is key. Not all conversations are going to be easy, and that’s okay. It’s the delivery and willingness to work together to get the team where it needs to be that matters.
- Put in the time to coach your team members.
To be a true, nurturing company, you need to offer professional development opportunities to help them grow — both within the company and in their career.
We all have room for improvement, whether it’s developing our skillset, improving our soft skills, or better supporting our clients. Giving up on someone simply because they make a mistake, or because they haven’t mastered something yet, isn’t the right thing or very cost-effective to your organization. It also instills fear in the rest of your team, which limits innovation and risk-taking.
It’s better to coach and help guide the people you have. You’ve already invested in them, so take the time to coach them, both from a process standpoint and an overall understanding of where they want to go.
And for those of you worried they might take those newfound skills somewhere else, the following exchange does a great job of demonstrating the importance of professional development:
Manager 1: What if I train them and they leave?
Manager 2: What if you don’t train them and they stay?
It’s also important to understand how individual team members learn, and where they want to go in their career. Just because you’re a visual learner doesn’t mean everyone else is — or needs to be in order to be successful. And what you think should be the next logical step for an individual position might not be the same for the person actually in that position.
Being a good manager is time-consuming and has its challenges, but it can also pay huge dividends in terms of productivity, job satisfaction, and actually looking forward to going to work each day. What has worked for you when it comes to motivating and nurturing your team?
Christina Yozallinas, Director of Services Operations, helps ensure our team’s operational effectiveness and utilization by establishing operating procedures, streamlining processes, monitoring performance dashboards, and managing our internal systems used for collaboration and learning. She defines and implements our onboarding procedures for new team members and helps ensure smooth facilitation of resource management by aligning client needs with internal resources.