Recently a Wall Street Journal article caught my attention . . . it was “Thinking of Quitting? The Boss Knows.” It was about companies doing employee research to discover when they would likely experience turnover. First, I applaud any and all efforts to better understand what employees are thinking, but I hope employers aren’t forgetting the daily importance of effectively managing and leading employees.
Over the years I have found surveys and other employee research to be extremely beneficial. But, and it’s a big but, if companies are relying on surveys and data analysis to determine if employees are satisfied with their company it could be too late. There was nothing in the article that would surprise you, including the fact that one company found that team size and managers’ performance turned out to be powerful influences on attrition, especially among employees working in large teams with low-rated managers. Certainly no surprise I’m sure to any of you!
But nowhere did I read that these companies were also focused on the importance of having managers personally connect with employees and really understand what motivates them, what job or personal issues do they have, and all the things that people experience that get in the way of individual job performance. I have found in over fifty years managing and leading people that every employee is unique, and their challenges and successes need to be addressed as individually as possible. While there are some common attributes to effectively managing and leading people and teams, personal one-on-one attention makes a huge difference.
My advice is don’t wait for the data to determine what’s best to do. Take the initiative and utilize good management and leadership skills. I suggest the following:
Don’t get so bogged down with the day-to-day job that you don’t get up from behind the desk to see what’s going on first hand. What’s working and what’s not? What are the disconnects? What can YOU improve?
The people on your team are the biggest differentiators you have. They can make the difference between success and failure. It was in the early 70’s when I first heard Zig Ziglar. He always had great sayings, and in his Mississippi twang he said “you can have everything in life you want if you will just help other people get what they want”. Boy is he so right. By helping and serving your employees – and others too – you will make yourself a winner.