I recently came across the article “Five Human Resource Tips to Improve Your Bottom Line,” by Charlotte Canning, Vice President of Brand and Culture at Hoffer Plastics Corporation and while it absolutely applies to HR professionals, the advice is perfect for leaders, too.
Here is Charlotte’s best advice, as it relates to your leadership role.
Protect employees’ quality of life
You have responsibility for employee satisfaction, satisfaction with you and colleagues, and satisfaction with the daily duties of the job.
Make sure that you are asking employees about their satisfaction frequently and consistently. Your employees spend more time at work than they do with their families, friends, and loved ones, and their dissatisfaction is costing you. One report found that every employee exit costs a company 33 percent of the exiting employee’s annual salary. So solicit feedback regularly and make employee satisfaction your priority.
Brene Brown wisely said: “To be clear is to be kind.” In today’s workforce, kindness goes a long way. Given the diversity of work styles, personalities, professional experience, and employee backgrounds, it’s a given that arguments and disagreements will happen from time to time.
Invest your time in identifying ways to mitigate arguments and encourage positive and healthy working relationships between employees. Anyone who has watched a millennial email with a baby boomer in the office knows that what is clear to one person is not always clear to another. To minimize disagreements over expectations, provide resources such as trainings, templates, and workplace standards that encourage clear, open, and transparent communication, as well as healthy, professional ways to address conflict resolution.
Be An Example
As a leader, your employees are watching you. Set the example as a professional by being accessible, shutting down office gossip, setting clear expectations, communicating clearly and effectively, and putting forward a positive attitude.
Create joy and fun
“In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.” — Mary Poppins
Many may disagree with this point of view, but I truly believe that laughter should be part of the DNA of any organization. Leaders who can laugh at themselves are seen as more human and trustworthy, and laughter also goes a long way in reducing stress. It makes people feel comfortable, provides perspective, and sets a positive tone of openness in the company. One thing to be mindful of: use a tone that’s appropriate and be sure to never make another employee a target.
Build Your Employees Up
Want to know what your employees need to meet the demands of their job? Ask them. 50 percent of employees say they would quit their job if training was not offered. So invest time and resources into continually developing your employees — whether it’s internal training or external.
Work with each employee to define a training and retention strategy to reduce turnover. Many organizations find the use of formalized programs like “360 feedback” or peer review that are often done anonymously. In my experience, I’ve found that just having more frequent, focused, and personal dialogue with my team members to be the most impactful. Our discussions often center around their ideas of what’s working and what can be improved. The inherent value adds of 1:1’s and asking for their ideas is extremely effective in building a strong culture of openness, trust, and collaboration.