My nephew is one of three children. He happens to be my sister’s middle child. He has an older and a younger sister. When he was little, he was famous for saying, “Hey! What about me?” if he thought his sisters were getting more attention than he was. I used to love it when he would pipe up and let us all know that he needed a little love and attention too.
This got me thinking. As employers, we spend a lot of time wondering how we are doing in the eyes of our customers. We survey, conduct focus groups, mystery shop, and sometimes we even pick up the phone and call our customers to get their feedback. The best organizations in any industry know that to meet customers’ needs, you need to know what these needs are by asking them!
But what about our employees? You might want to do the same for them.
The workforce landscape is changing dramatically. Ask any human resource director and they will tell you how the diversity is challenging today’s organizations.
Each generation that is represented in today’s workplace has its own unique set of characteristics and ways of viewing the world. But beyond the generation in which we were born, we also have personal needs when it comes to how we view our careers, the companies who hire us and the managers who guide us.
I was coaching an executive recently who came to our session wondering how to motivate one of her independent contractors. (This is something I know quite a bit about since most of those who work with me are contractors.) Managing this type of worker can be tricky and my coaching client was struggling with how to motivate her contractor to be a better communicator and possibly take on more work.
About half way through our session, I found myself asking my coaching client if she ever asked her contractor what she wanted out of the job, what excited her about the work, what she wanted to do more of, what she wanted to do less of, and what kinds of projects she felt she did especially well. My client told me it never crossed her mind to ask these questions of her contractor.
Since our session, my client had a conversation with her contractor that dramatically changed the relationship for the better and has made for a more productive and happier member of the team.
The answer to the problem was a simple one – talk to those who work for you. Let them know that they matter too.
So the moral of the story is, don’t forget to ask your employees what they need from you. Ask how they are doing and what you can do to make the work more enjoyable for them.
As a coach, employer or manager, know that these kinds of conversations are the key to motivation and job satisfaction.
Beyond performance reviews, how often do you check in with your staff?
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