I don’t write about work very much in great detail, because, you know, firing and stuff. However, today is a little different. Today marked my one year anniversary at my current place of employment. It’s been a year that’s flown by, but it also seems like I’ve been here forever. Both of those are awesome things. And there are awesome things that this company does for their employees that I’ve never seen done before. For me, they’re things that make an impact on me, make me want to stay here and would likely have made me want to stay at any employer. So, bosses, employers, managers, etc., here’s my advice, from both an employee and an HR standpoint, to you:
Recognize Your Employee: Not just at their yearly review, but regularly. Money and gifts and prizes are not required. A “hey, great job working with that customer!” or even just a “thank you so much for your help with this insanely boring spreadsheet” goes a lot farther than you think.
Use Manners and Be Nice: I get it. You want to tell me to do something and you’re the boss. Got it. But if you say things to me like “Do you have some time to help me with this?” or “Could you please type up these 540 pages of mindless drivel?”, I’m going to be happy about helping you because you were nice to me. You’re asking me and you’re not telling me, and it makes me feel like you really do appreciate my time and skills.
Offer Training and Growth: But only if someone wants it. There are people out there that are really good at one thing and they love it. They don’t to learn more things. As long as that’s not effecting their job or your company’s bottom line, that’s okay! Not everyone wants to be a CEO and we still need people like that. The employees that want to learn and grow just want to know that option is available. Let them shadow another department or visit another location if you have one. They don’t have to take advantage of any of that, but having the option makes a huge difference.
Help them Find Passion: Don’t think passion projects, because that phrase makes me want to hurl. My VP recently enlisted my co-worker and I into expanding our diversity. I’m passionate about that and I’m excited. Your employees may find they really love training people and that can work to your advantage – win, win! Maybe someone’s extremely into research, so take advantage of that, too, and have them do it for you. Passion -> excitement -> engagement. I promise.
Ask for and Listen to their Opinions: You don’t have to agree with them at all, but if you are truly hearing what they’re saying, it goes a long way. You might want to engage them a little bit, so they feel heard. Taking the time to listen to their ideas, opinions or concerns gives employees the feeling that they, along with their feelings, really do matter to their leader and ultimately to the organization.
This isn’t an conclusive list and I only play an HR person 40ish hours a week, so feel free to take this word for word or with a grain of salt. More than anything, treat your employees like people. The way you work it out is totally up to you.