The following is a guest piece by Valmira Rashiti.
There is a constant, vicious cycle people talk about when referring to full employee engagement. Some will put the whole burden in the employer, assuming that the company is responsible for meeting all employee expectations and needs. Others will say that employee’s needs are several and that sometimes they’re just not in there for the long haul. Hence, the employer should not invest time or energy in their further development, because they’re always on the edge of seeking new, better opportunities.
However, considering that replacing employees has higher costs than actually training them and providing them with opportunities to grow, maybe it’s time for managers and leaders to reflect whenever they feel like this dilemma is installing itself in their mindset.
There is a lot to bear in mind when looking for the right approach towards your employees. It’s difficult, because as human beings, we are diverse, with needs of all colours and with a limitless imagination related to what makes us feel worthy. But despite the differences, there are some general steps that each employer can take to achieve employee satisfaction. And if they strive to take these steps correctly, they will pay off to productivity and improvement.
1. Understand the meaning of the universal needs
There are six core universal human needs that if met correctly by other fellow humans, can provide us with peace of mind and a sense of composure. They are listed as:
- (Love) Connection
Sure, you can advise an employer to try and provide a feeling of fulfillment for employees in all of these aspects, but he or she would probably laugh in front of your face, for asking them to become life gurus or spiritual leaders. And to be frank, they would have a point. Because understanding the universal needs is very much needed indeed, also to comprehend how all of us have an ego, and how we are often driven by it.
But what employees can do instead, is give themselves the freedom to create a new chart of universal human needs, work context. Why not add some more proven effective options, like transparency, authenticity, and respect, and set concrete goals to achieve some of these bullet-pointed needs over which they truly have control.
2. Incorporate the needs in your work environment
There is a good reason why 20 % of workers quit their job on their first weeks of jumping onboard. Think about the struggle it takes all of us to start from scratch. New people, a boss towards whom we can’t find a way to resolve the miss-communication issue, colleagues being way ahead of us, etc. This is a major call for certainty, and employers need to provide this attention to new hires, or current ones as well.
Assuming that your employees will simply stick to the same self-paced learning is not a bright idea; therefore, you have to spice things up and give them new possibilities to allow for critical thinking, for development of new skills and most of all, for new, dynamic experiences that can beat employee burn-outs. Sticking to a dull, monotonous routine has never proven to be right for anyone.
Now, if the connection is what you’re striving to achieve, you should know that your commitment as a leader is mostly required. Burning the bridges of lack of communication can be hard; however, it is never late to start showing gratitude, appreciation, and positive manners. Know that a proper connection with your employees cannot be built only within the walls of your company, so what you should do is take the time to know them outside of it.
It’s amazing how people’s qualities change and are more prone to be demonstrated when they’re in relaxing, comfort zones. Team-building activities, time-to-time catching up chit-chats show that you care about your staff. And the bonding is naturally nourished.
3. Conduct regular training
It is not a surprise that on a long-term research project conducted by Middlesex University for Work Based Learning, it was found that 74 % of employees felt that they weren’t achieving their full potential at work due to lack of development opportunities. I referred to the importance of onboard training earlier on; however, regular, consistent training should be the highlight of every employee.
Lack of possibilities for growth and professional development is one of the main causes of employee turnout, disengagement, and inefficiency. 7 out of 10 people say that training and development opportunities influence their decision in staying or leaving a company. Through your employee training programs, make sure to have two key goals that you want to achieve: Development and discovery.
People’s skills change among the years, and if at first, they were good at one aspect, that aspect of skills may have altered to something different. Therefore, it is essential to combine these two components, as they offer a long-term solution to keeping your employees appreciated and happy.
4. Set the ground for transparency
Communication and mutually shared information are the fundamentals of a healthy relationship with your employees. It is common sense that nobody feels comfortable working in an environment where every detail must be in control, where things are kept blurry and not discussed freely.
Sharing insights with your employees makes them feel valued, noticed, and more than all, it proves that you rely on them to keep your business going strong. Even better if there is freedom enough for feedback to come from both ways.
Some people wait a whole year to reach to the evaluation point and burst out all they’ve been holding back towards the employee or vice versa. Imagine all the damage that is done in the meantime, while the employee is underperforming due to lack of possibilities to speak up freely and to discuss whatever their obstacle is.
Then when you give it a closer look, this opened communication, and solid relationship reflects as a chain. The communication that employees have with customers is nothing more than a manifestation of the communication they have with their leaders. Let that sink in!
5. Foster friendships
Little is left for elaboration when referring to the outstanding work that can be done when working among friends, with common goals, shared achievements, and victories that are celebrated in a positive team-work.
Nourishing a collective work atmosphere leads directly to – Meaning. This is what employees want out of their job, for it to have meaning. And how they perceive that meaning, it’s subjective, considering that professions vary and we are all incented to understand reward differently, some in the financial aspect and some in the personal aspect.
However, regardless of the job, the environment, and people you work with can lift you up to your best self, or put you down. So investing in quality time and cultivating empathy should be on top of the essentials, on engaging your employees to their full, best input.
Valmira Rashiti is a writer for Kiwi, a restaurant LMS that aims to help restaurant owners train their staff in an easier and more effective way. In addition, they offer online training courses for different restaurant services.