As I watch my younger sister navigate dating in the 21st century, I cannot help but reflect on the beauty and success of good old-fashioned courting. This period of dating where you get to know each other over dinner dates, flowers, where doors are opened for you, and effort is made. I cannot help but wonder, what would our organizations be like if our leaders courted their employees? I am not talking about dinner dates and roses but rather leaders and managers getting to know their employees, making an effort, investing in their growth and investing in the relationship.
4 tips to successfully court your employees:
- I like long walks on the beach…
Get to know your employees. Choose to have a relationship with each member of your team. Early on in my career I worked for an incredible boss and leader. Of my almost eight years working for this organization, some of my fondest memories are when members of the staff would gather in his office after a long day to sit and chat. We would talk about anything and everything: work, life, books, boot camps… He cared and was genuinely curious and so were we. These moments gifted me not only a relationship with him, but also with my colleagues. I learnt about them, their ideologies and their interests. This concept has been coined as ‘relationship capital’ because we know that the relationships of all people within an organization is arguably the most valuable asset an organization has.
- Did he/she call you yet?
Keep in touch. Nowadays there are a million ways to connect and regardless of how we communicate with one another, the important piece is that a connection was made. When you choose to get to know your staff, keep in touch. My husband and I recently took a trip to Whistler and randomly ran into the CEO of his company. He was polite, kind and took the time to speak with us. We left this interaction boasting about what a nice man he was. The next night if you can believe it we ran into him again. Again he stopped, chatted and engaged. After we returned home, my husband ran into him at work, and he took time to stop and reflect on his trip, ask about ours, and talk about work. He chose to keep in touch. Remember employees join organizations but they leave managers – so keep in touch.
- “How was your date?” “It was the best date of my life! We laughed all night”
Provide your employees with an emotional experience. I give a great workshop about the missing piece in customer service. We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that providing good customer service is worth its weight in gold. However, too many organizations follow a standardized customer service script: greet customer, smile, introduce yourself, and when you leave ask if there is anything else you can do. However, this script fails us and our organizations because once we have recited our script there is silence. We fail to provide our customers with an emotional experience. “If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful” (Jeff Bezos). This same philosophy applies to our interactions with our employees. This experience may take the form of leaving your employees feeling inspired, motivated, engaged, happy, and/or supported.
- Diamonds are a girl’s best friend
The greatest gift you can give your employees is to invest in them. Professional Development is one cost-effective way you can show your employees that you are committed to developing their skills and investing in their growth. This can be achieved by sending them to a conference, or bringing in a consultant to give a workshop in house. These can be focused on developing job-based skills like improving interviewing ability or successfully navigating change management, or soft skills like leadership development, successful conflict resolution or work-life balance. A study conducted by EdAssist found that 53% of Millennials say learning new things or having access to professional development opportunities would make them stay at their job. Furthermore, Execu-Search found that 76% of millennials think professional development opportunities are one of the most important elements of company culture. And finally CompTIA’s research concluded that 58% of employees (62% of Millennials and GenX) say that professional development contributes to their job satisfaction. Investing in professional development is gifting your organization an opportunity to promote employee engagement, teamwork, communication and skill development.
If you are looking to enhance employee engagement and develop your team’s skills through professional development contact Salopek & Associates to learn about our cost-effective Professional Development services. Looking for a cost effective training option that offering on-going learning throughout the year? Check out Salopek’s 2017 Training Workshop Program.