Our people make possible our performance in all aspects of business – they are our innovators, our developers, our delivery mechanism, our financial custodians, our relationship managers … in short, they ARE our business. To connect with our people, to create the best kind of employee experience, we need to speak to, and act in accordance with, what motivates each team member. When we do this, and truly listen to our people’s needs, all kinds of magic happens:
Sickness leave lessens
Productivity goes up
So, let’s get our sleeves rolled up around creating the best possible employee experience …
When we’re creating a good employee experience, we’re laying positive foundations, mitigating personal discomfort and priming employees to deliver the best customer experience they can.
Should a Positive Environment be the Goal?
I personally strive to work in a positive and, as much as is practical, harmonious environment. And I would hazard a guess that most people would enjoy this too. It seems to make our daily working world better.
As leaders, we sometimes frame the challenges we face as being a path to a better work environment. If we can surmount the problems we’re facing, then, we’ll have a positive working environment. What will we do at that point when new problems arise?
When it comes to employee experience, consider two alternatives. We can either view solving problems as a means towards having a better working environment or, we can institute a better working environment in which to take on the challenges we’ll face?
The truth of the matter is, personally and professionally, we will never stop experiencing challenges that need to be resolved. Understanding this allows us to see more clearly that a positive working environment must be the platform we start from, not the goal we strive to achieve.
Beyond General Positivity
A positive work environment differs from company to company and we’ve seen many different expressions of it, from the grandiose campus-style work environment to the smaller one-office setup. Once a positive environment has been created, whatever that might look like, employees will be happy right? Even in companies where the atmosphere is supportive and positive, people still opt to leave. Why?
We’ve found that, while a positive working environment is good for the group and the interplay between levels of the hierarchy, individuals need attention too. As was mentioned above, there is realistically no end to the challenges of professional life and while some of these are operational, some will be aspirational too. Most people want to develop over time, to gain new skills, transition into new areas or move up the hierarchy.
They want to grow.
Employee enrichment is an essential element of retaining staff and keeping them engaged. While we are hopefully employing periodic reviews, make sure these dialogues are forward-looking, maybe shifting the emphasis of reviewing work to less formal times ‘in the moment’ the task(s) is being carried out. Asking employees where they want to go in their professional life is the first step towards working with them to see what is possible; this type of enriched engagement activates more specific feelings of investment in the work.
From time-to-time, we’ve encountered an individual whose professional aims were not compatible with the company structure, their skill set or their temperament. While this can be a tricky experience to navigate, done properly it also enhances the relationship, either through an honest discussion of what needs to change or of the possibilities within and outwith the company structure.
Either way, we’re enriching the employee relationship with honesty and respect.
Small Steps to Enhancing the Employee Experience
An open, positive, caring and listening culture creates a general environment to come together, to overcome challenges we face and to build possibility for the future.
Enriched personal engagement activates a sense of belonging and motivation to continue to improve the business for everyone’s wellbeing.
This more collaborative approach will set us all up for sustained success – what’s not to like about that?
If you’d like to know more please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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