Posts Tagged ‘listen’

Will They Stay or Will They Go? – How Managers are Key to Retention

With low unemployment rates in most places, retaining top talent is a hot issue on almost every manager or business owner’s mind.  The reasons are many but it’s not to be blamed solely on the Millenials and their desire to job hop. That’s why it’s critical companies focus on what really matters to their employees.  

My colleague, Janet Wright, and I recently delivered a workshop at a hospitality conference. This is an industry with turnover rates for food service professionals (17.6%) and hospitality professionals (17.0%) ranking second only to technology.

It’s no surprise the room was packed. We didn’t need to tell the audience that theirs is an industry of young and part-time employees. Or that traditionally in North America many hospitality roles are viewed as a “job” versus “career”.

We did need to help them understand that having strong leaders creates greater employee engagement. This results in greater staff retention.  And this is why Managers who are great leaders are the key to retaining employees.

We used the most recent data to prove our point.

Our quick quiz , based primarily on Gallup’s State of the World’s Workplace  and SHRM/Globoforce research, may surprise you.  For starters, companies with high employee engagement have less employee turnover than those with low employee engagement.

What’s the number one thing employees say their Manager could give them to improve engagement? If you guess money, flexibility and autonomy, you’d be wrong. While these do collectively contribute to decreasing employee turnover, the answer is feedback.

Done well, feedback can open the door to a two-way conversation, especially if it’s meaningful, specific and done in real time.

We offer up 3 simple, yet effective “soft skill” strategies Managers can put into practice right away.

  • Adopt the Platinum Rule – treat others the way they prefer.

We’ve been conditioned to treat others the way we want to be treated. But often, this is the exact opposite to the way the other person prefers. The onus is on the manager to learn to “read” others and adapt their communication style to one that can be heard and received comfortably by their employee.

If, for example, you’re a Manager with a more introverted personality, giving feedback to a more extroverted employee means being more animated and giving them time to share back their response and input in the moment.

Conversely, providing feedback to a more introverted employee requires speaking calmly, respecting their need for privacy, and giving them time to reflect without demanding a response from them in that moment.

  • Ask and Listen – instead of tell and sell

Whether it’s a formal performance review or “in the moment” feedback, good feedback starts with a question.  Not just a “How are you doing?” Rather, an intentional question that opens the exchange toward an issue or process. “How about you walk me through the project timeline to get a sense of progress and challenges?” is an example of a Manager finding out more information from their employee without putting them on the defensive. It empowers the employee to share what they know rather than potentially shutting the conversation down before it begins.

Continuing to ask questions can guide the employee to a new awareness or solution and keeps the story focused on them. Your listening acknowledges their importance.

Even if the feedback is negative, starting with a question gives the employee a chance to provide their perspective first. “I’m curious what you think about your work on XXX project?” can open up a dialogue where the Manager can gage the employee’s position or perspective.  This creates the space for the Manager to ask further questions or provide specific feedback.

  • Say Thank You

You and I have both heard this many times before.  But in the fast pace of work and the pressure to achieve results, there’s a high risk we don’t actually acknowledge others effectively.

We know this because 70% of employees say their motivation would improve massively if their managers thanked them more!

Like any feedback and recognition, it should be genuine, heartfelt and specific. Showing appreciation as soon after you’ve noticed it will have the biggest impact on the employee. Doing it publicly or privately is best tailored to the personality of the employee. Some of us simply don’t respond well to a public showing of affirmation.

There is one small caveat to this: constantly saying thank you has the reverse effect by being disingenuous. The rule of thumb? Do it when you really mean it!

Employee turnover is always going to be an issue for most companies. So the goal should be on increasing employee engagement to decrease the number of employees walking out the door.

We’ve offered up 3 simple strategies your Managers can begin doing. Add to this ongoing leadership development for those Managers and the result will be much higher staff retention. Doing this will also improve your company brand as a place that puts a high value on an engaged and positive culture.   

We’ve offered up 3 simple strategies your Managers can begin doing. Add to this ongoing leadership development for those Managers and the result will be much higher staff retention. Doing this will also improve your company brand as a place that puts a high value on an engaged and positive culture.   

Janet and I are on a mission to help organizations develop their Managers to be great leaders. Whether it’s one Manager or many, drop us a line at evegaudet@eveofchange.ca and we’ll talk with you about options to improve your engagement, retention and bottom line!