Are You Connecting With Your People?
Over the years, I have done several employee surveys. Employee surveys are great tools when you are a new leader or when you are taking a deeper dive into an area for assessment. In every survey and listening session with people, more communication always rises to the top as a critical issue to be addressed. I am often surprised that leaders think they are communicating well but their team feels differently. If you want a high performance team, you must have high engagement with your team.
Often leaders think if they communicate once, that gets the job done. It doesn’t. People engagement must be a regular and consistent part of your leadership. Intentional and ongoing. Formal and informal. Speaking and listening.People engagement must be a regular and consistent part of your leadership. Click To Tweet
People engagement is one of the most strategic things you can do as a leader. It is a way to learn, share knowledge, get feedback, develop leaders, and drive home the “why” of your organization. Communicate regularly and communicate often. In all my years of doing organizational and team assessment, employee surveys, and employee listening sessions, I have never heard an employee say, “don’t communicate anymore.”
7 Ways to Build Personal Engagement With Your Team
- Your Team Needs to Hear From You Frequently
You pick the time that works for your organization but the key is consistent and regular. If you are a global organization or have multiple sites, this communication may need to happen through video, email, and audio. If possible, a regular time to get your entire team together is great for building team, culture, and engagement. The key is regular and consistent communication that reinforces the mission, vision and values of your organization. Also, ask your team for regular feedback on issues they want you to cover. An open dialogue with your team will help build trust and confidence.
- Conduct Employee Surveys
There are times when you will want to use an expert in employee surveys to help you develop and execute a survey. Experts in the field of employee engagement will use instruments that have research validity and can help quantify results; this is great for organizational learning and development. However, these instruments will take a significant amount of leadership and organizational time and focus. I recommend you use this more formal approach every three to five years. But, using employee surveys (survey monkey and Google form are two great resources) are great ways to get continuous feedback from your team. These instruments are simple, easy to use, and are great feedback tools.
- Utilize Listening sessions
Every survey should be followed up with listening sessions. This allows you to take the survey results and start a more in depth dialogue with individuals and teams to take the learning to an even deeper level. For example, you learn from the survey that people want more communication and they feel disconnected from leadership. The listening sessions will allow you to ask more details about what people want to know and how they want to receive information.
- Town Hall Meetings
This is an open forum to answer questions in real time. You may want to include your top leaders in this forum also. This kind of meeting is great if you and your leaders are equipped to say “I don’t know but I will get back with you on this.” These kinds of forums are great for building trust but can also set you back culturally if leaders can’t handle hard questions. I would make sure you have steps 1-4 in place first before you go to open Q&A meetings.
- Create an environment of trust
Have you ever said, “I can’t get my work done for all the people”? I think every leader has said this. The truth is, our work is the people. I have found having an open door policy will actually reduce the number of interruptions you will have. Just knowing your team can reach you if needed and that you are open to hear from others will actually increase trust and confidence and cause less disruptions. Also, have a confidential email policy. If anyone in your organization has something critical to share, they can send you an email marked confidential.
- Prioritize the informal moments
One of the most powerful impacts you will have as a leader will be the informal times with members of your team. You will have to plan for this and mark it on your calendar or you will never get to this one. There is something about dropping by and seeing where people work and just asking a few questions like “how are you” or “how can I help” or “tell me about this picture of your family” will create a positive buzz throughout your organization. These informal but personal few minutes of dialogue may lead to the greatest organizational outcomes.
- Schedule lunch and coffee meetings
Who are you developing as a leader? Who are the most critical players on your team? Who are the game changers? Who are the most influential leaders on your team? Do you have a view of the top performing millennials on your team? Have a list of people you want to personally learn from and develop and schedule lunch or coffee with them.
Maybe the first step is for you to ask your team, “Do you feel I am a leader who listens and engages with you?” Ask, learn, and then take steps to increase your leadership engagement with your team.
“Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4 HCSBEveryone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. -Phil. 2:4 Click To Tweet