Employees are on the move. HR Dive projects that more than half of U.S. workers will look for a new job in 2019, leaving their current one in less than a year. To say that employee engagement is a problem in America is stating the obvious. Free food, casual dress codes, and company outings are superficial perks that will not retain talent. It starts with creating and must continue with fostering a winning work culture that is achieved by seeking employee feedback.
One of the best ways to get feedback from employees is through one-one-meetings. It’s common for managers to schedule these check-ins weekly or every other week. It’s also common for managers to do all the talking and not much listening. Giving feedback rather than receiving it defeats the purpose of maintaining a winning work culture. Seek to understand before being understood. In other words, you have to be willing to listen. Be prepared to hear different views of the company that may not mesh with yours.
The performance review is a great opportunity to gather feedback from employees. However, it is often a one-way street where the employer or manager is controlling the conversation. Making these meetings more collaborative can make a huge difference. In Inc.com Joe Hirsch of Semaca Partners, a communications consultancy, notes, “Leaders can either force a new reality on their employees (power), or prepare employees to face reality in a new way (partnership). Smart leaders understand the impact of mirror holding — the deliberate and strategic use of reflective questioning that allows others to see themselves in a whole new light.” The result is stronger performance partnerships between you and your employees.
Employee Engagement Surveys
Your employees may feel guarded during one-on-one’s and performance reviews and clam up. Even if your approach is collaborative, it’s understandable that employees would be uncomfortable sharing their thoughts. Employee engagement surveys are great tools to glean anonymous feedback. Peakon, a major employee retention platform, conducted an employee engagement study in 160 countries that sourced more than 11 million responses. It asked an open-ended question: If you had a magic wand, what’s the one thing you would change about your organization? The top three answers were pay, communication, and management. Your engagement survey doesn’t have to be nearly as comprehensive, but if you ask the right questions, you’ll get honest answers that will help you improve your work culture.
Exit interviews are bitter-sweet because your company is losing an employee, but that person is more likely to give truly honest feedback since they’re on their way out. The value of this feedback cannot be overstated. Fast Company shares the following about exit interview best practices: “Developing a solid strategy for exit interviews that involves direct questions like, ‘What would you suggest to help us manage people better?’ and, ‘Is there a benefit that would have influenced your decision to leave?’ can give HR and executives incredible insight into what changes need to happen to keep people engaged and loyal.”
You have a unique opportunity to define your organization’s work culture. Leveraging the right resources is key, and they happen to be sitting right outside your office: your employees. Their thoughts and insights will allow you to provide the experience and environment to maximize engagement.