The signs of a disengaged team are quite easy to see and one of the most obvious clues is a high turnover. When the team members are leaving the company at a rate that is no longer healthy (usually this means more than 10-15%, but it depends on the industry), that is when the managers start to worry and try to fix things.
We believe it is always better to prevent than to correct. Finding out what your employees want and need is a crucial factor in having an engaged and competitive team. The studies have shown that the growth of a company is dependent on how professional and how satisfied the employees are, because your customers’ satisfaction depends on their actions and attitude.
We are always told “the client must be put first”. We believe this is no longer true. And the managers need to understand that they need to change their perspective to “Our employees must be put first”. This should not happen just because there is a shortage of people on the labour market. It should happen for the right reason, which is: the wellbeing of the employees is a purpose in itself, not just a mean or a resource to make business and profit.
This shift should come from the belief that people need to be treated with trust and respect and, if you do that, they will act in the same way.
I would like to share with you an example of how the philosophy we have about people in general is dictating the entire culture of an organization, and it leads to how engaged and attached the employees are to the company they are a part of.
Imagine you are a person who usually distrusts people. You believe people in general need to earn your trust, before you give it to them, and you are usually suspicious of their good intentions. These beliefs will be reflected in your behaviour towards them, and in the attitude you will have as a manager. You will see the employees as not being capable to motivate themselves to do a good job, and to assume responsibility for their actions. So, you act accordingly: you implement rules and procedures to control and supervise them, you are strict and you do not get close to them. You use a reward/punishment system to make sure you get the results you want.
All these beliefs and actions will form the values and culture of the company you are managing. And they will be reflected in the beliefs and behaviours of the employees. If they have different philosophies about people, they will not be happy and engaged at the workplace. Their needs will be different and you won’t know about it.
So, there is a good chance that, they in turn, will act with suspicion and distrust. They will comment on every decision, thinking that all the management want is to profit from their work, and that they do not have their best interest at heart. And the final step will be for them to leave the company.
Therefore, it is important to know the following about your employees:
- What kind of values and needs do they have?
- What is the type of culture that suits them best?
- In which kind of working environment are they happy?
- What type of activities do they like?
- Do they prefer team work or individual work? Do they need competition or cooperation?
- Do they need a strict set of rules, or a more flexible environment?
- What do they need in order to develop?
These questions can be answered if you have periodical assessments of the employees’ satisfaction level. If you ask your team members what is it that they like and don’t like in the company, you will be able to find the answer you need to retain them. Treating them as equals and considering their opinion is a first step in the right direction.
And then, when you know their needs, adapt and try to fulfil them as best as possible. Because we are living in an increasingly more employee-focused labour market, and to remain competitive as a company, you need to have competitive and engaged teams.
Another solution could be to surround yourself only with people with similar values and mind sets, who will not mind the actions you will take to make sure the team reaches their goals. But that may prove to be a bit more difficult, considering how different we all are.
In a future article, we will share with you a case study on this topic: how and why we implemented a satisfaction assessment process, using the 5 STAR model, and what were the results and consequences.
Keep your team happy and involved!