Truffle work with some truly awesome companies that go that extra mile to retain their staff, we equally work with some demoralised people in finding their future careers. After our 15 years in the consultancy world we are yet to know everything but have learnt a thing or two.
Like all successful relationships your work ones need the same nurturing, appreciation and understanding that you apply to your personal life.
If you are struggling to attract the right people, or are finding that keeping them once you have found them is like trying to catch jelly with a tennis racket then maybe there are a few pointers below that are worth a quick read.
Do you understand their drivers and motivators?
How often do you discuss what makes your staff tick?
Not as a group but individually and not what they are looking to achieve within the role or from the company but what they are looking to achieve from their life?
You may well enjoy a chummy relationship, may share the odd lunch or after work drink but in reality you are their boss. In most cases they will be holding back from sharing every dream and ambition particularly if they feel it may be detrimental to their career ambitions.
Provide them with an open platform to discuss this. At work. With a structured meeting plan, that not only offers them the opportunity to discuss these dreams but also suggests ways in which the business can support them within this.
If you don’t offer sabbaticals, then why? You should be. Providing this opportunity for staff to recharge their batteries, travel and explore other interests will build a greater level of loyalty and openness.
Are you setting enough goals?
No-one likes a Micro Manager! – Please feel free to disagree with me.
However, in our increasingly busy manager lives we often leave goal setting to annual and performance reviews. These are too often quite substantial or long-term expectations linked to salary or disciplinary.
3/6 months or a year is a rather long time when faced with a mountain to climb, but not with one step at a time and a few camps to break it up.
If you aren’t already, break down these goals into small bite sized ones. Yes, it will take a little additional time out of your diary once a week/fortnight to review this however it will make your annual meeting far easier to manage and will offer you the opportunity to offer ongoing praise. Everyone likes a little praise regular and often.
Which leads me on to:
Is the balance between what the company gains and what the individual does equal?
In other words – when you benefit from the work of an individual are they equally benefitting?
Now clearly in most cases it won’t be equal financially (unless you work for one great firm!) but for each target people achieve are you offering a tangible reward. Again this does not need to be financial but maybe going one small step beyond praising them would encourage them to drive forward on future goals and feel appreciated.
Now in no way am I comparing any employees to my old dog but training him without the use of rewards (chocolate buttons in his case) was the only way and he was one hell of a loyal little chum and rather rotund.
It’s the small things
There is of course a fine line between building a bond and becoming a little over familiar or ‘David Brent’ with your people.
A Manager that I have always admired and was loved by her team, used to buy her team seasonal treats: everyone got a card on Valentines Day, chocolate at Easter, stocking at Christmas.
I am not suggesting this works for everyone, but the lesson to learn is she didn’t forget to show her appreciation, she understood what made her team tick and responded in a way that made them smile and far more powerfully than discontent, smiles spread.
In short, if you appreciate your team show them!