Every week, we talk to leaders who are responsible for making sweeping organizational changes. Some are going through mergers. Some are opening new international markets. Others are leading major rebranding initiatives.
Change is pervasive in our society and a fact of life in organizations. It’s easy to get caught up in the sexy complexities of organizational change. So easy, in fact, that we can forget to connect with what our employees are doing each day to keep the engines running. If that disconnect is too great, we run the risk of creating lasting damage.
Gallup reports that 7 out of every 10 employees are disengaged at work. If your calendar is loaded with meetings about your latest strategic initiative, consider making room for small changes to engage with your employees. Take some time to show them that they are valued members of your team.
Here are 4 small changes that can produce big results:
1. Greet every employee you encounter, making eye contact and smiling, no matter how rushed you feel. Does this sound too simple to be effective? Remember that every employee wants to be recognized. At its most basic, that means seeing and acknowledging each person. This takes very little time, but can significantly improve the spirits of the entire organization. Be genuine though. Employees can spot a smile-o-matic from miles away.
2. Spend at least 15 minutes each day simply listening to what your employees have to say. Leaders spend so much time telling, that it is easy to forget the value of listening. Listen with your ears, your eyes, and your heart. With daily practice, you’ll begin to find out what matters most to your employees. Great leaders are great listeners.
3. Connect employees’ daily contributions to the organization’s strategic objectives. Granted, there may be some strategic initiatives in the pipeline that you are not ready to share with your employees. But employees can and should connect what they do each day to the published organizational goals. As a leader, it is vital that help employees connect the dots between what they do and what the organization is trying to achieve. Read more about proven ways to connect your employees with your strategic plan here
4. Offer more praise than corrective feedback. Being negative comes naturally. But, according to this Galllup Business Journal article, “Recognition is a short-term need that has to be satisfied on an ongoing basis – weekly, maybe daily.” Every time we praise, it creates a burst of dopamine or internal reward system that makes employees want to repeat the behavior that was positively recognized.
Each of these four simple steps takes very little time out of your day. Find the time and take the time to make these small changes to keep your employees engaged.
Question: Which of these actions could you take today?