Are you having the right conversations with your employees?

conversations with employees

Communication is key.

We hear this phrase often, especially at work.

If you’re not communicating regularly with your employees, both at an individual and organizational level, there can be long-lasting, negative effects on their performance and your business.

Keeping in touch with your workforce electronically, over the phone, or in person helps you better understand what your employees need to thrive in their work environment.  But even the best leaders can be led to believe that day-to-day discussions about current projects will equip them with what they need to know for long term success.

If only things were so simple. While a person’s outlook and performance on a particular project can tell you a lot, it can’t necessarily give you a good grasp of the bigger picture and the future of your organization.

To help, here are five conversations you should be having with your employees on a regular basis.

  1. “How are you doing?”

It sounds so basic, yet many mangers or team leaders forget that the people who work for them are human and spend many of their best and worst days giving it their all. As Sesame Street recently reminded us, practicing general kindness toward employees will undoubtedly heighten their sense of value at your organization. It demonstrates that you are tuning into their emotional and personal development, which will directly impact their professional performance. Encourage open dialogue and let your people know they can feel comfortable asking for help when they need it.

  1. “What do you need to do your job well?”

Take a good look around and think about how your team works. Are you providing the environment and resources needed to empower them to do their job well? Passion, dedication, and shared values are great, but there are a number of tools that can help your employees grow and learn. Take the time to discuss an employee’s needs in relation to your business’ goals, and provide direction for achieving them. You’ll find this is a great strategy when looking to develop and retain your best talent, and it’s also something job seekers are looking for now more than ever in their next employer.

  1. “Thank you.”

Also often overlooked are the moments in which saying thank you can make a huge difference. You won’t always know all the people involved on a project, but given that success is largely the product of team work, there’s always room for more gratitude. Employees will feel motivated to do their best when their accomplishments are noticed, and strong leaders are always focused on bettering their relationships through positive feedback.

  1. “Let’s talk about your strengths.”

The Corporate Leadership Council found that when a manager focuses on an employee’s weakness, performance can decrease by up to 27%. But when the focus is placed on their strengths, their average performance improves by up to 36%. Helping your team members get a good grasp of how their performance lines up to your company’s long-term goals, as well as the desired results for their specific role will help you understand what control you may have over changes that need to be made to support them. Remember that strengths are more than professional skills and experience – they include general behaviors and attitudes toward fellow colleagues and leadership.

  1. “What are your short- and long-term goals?”

You could classify assessing goals as something that would come up in a performance review – but the way employers are approaching reviews has changed, and some are even moving away from the review process entirely. Still, there can be great value in assessing performance when it’s done correctly, which could mean turning an assessment into more of an open dialogue that encourages employees to talk about their development in relation to their short and long-term goals, and whether they line up with those of the business.

Ultimately, the conversations you choose to have with your employees are vital to the health and success of your company, because they speak to an employer’s level of care and concern for the people that make their success a reality. So the next time you’re checking in on an employee or thinking about how to revamp your performance review process, remember that inclusive dialogue that encourages feedback will hold more value for your employees, as well as the future of your organization.

See also:
Common compensation conversation pitfalls (and how to avoid them)
Do your employees trust you?


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