As I was preparing social media posts for February I was struck by a statistic I found: “4 in 10 employees strongly agree someone at work cares about them.” Four in ten! It hurts my heart to know that 60% of people go to work and feel like they are not cared about. From a leadership and human standpoint that is unacceptable.
THAT’S A SAD STATISTIC
With this statistic in mind, imagine for me a world you go to each and every day, a world where you spend the majority of your waking life, and in this world you feel no one cares for you. How much effort would you put in? How much loyalty would you show to your company or the leadership? Would you even care about the customer?
Just those three questions affect everything. If you have a team where the majority of people feel uncared for you can bet your bottom line is being affected. You can bet your turnover rate is higher than it should be. You can bet morale is low and productivity is even lower. You can also bet you are part of the problem.
There are people and leaders out there that have the “you get paid to come to work to do this (or that) – you are not paid to be cared about”. I hope you’re not in that club. Studies have shown organizations that show they care about their employees benefit in these ways and more:
- Employees show more pride in their job.
- Employees stay loyal to their organization.
- Customers are treated better.
- Decreased absenteeism.
- Decreased turnover.
- Increased productivity.
- Better communication.
Wouldn’t every leader like to go show up for work each day knowing their team is operating at optimum level? Would every leader like to know when they aren’t in the office their team is still not just operating at optimum level, but are pushing for excellence?
Showing that you care isn’t difficult. Let me give you just three examples to get you started.
Conduct One-On-One Meetings
I’m not asking you to spend an hour, or even a half hour with each employee. Carve out some time with your employees to sit down and just talk. Be intentional about goals, about strengths and weaknesses, or about their likes and dislikes. Use the information you find out to help them move forward in their careers. Showing you care is about relationships, and building relationships starts with getting to know the person.
Saying “thank you” is a common courtesy you should extend as often as possible. Be genuine with it, but take every opportunity to tell the people on your team what they do has value. Explain to them how it affects the customer and how what they do makes a difference. It’s not as hard as you think – we have brought our leadership classes to manufacturing – and a leader there was able to impress upon his people how they didn’t just “make gears.” Those gears kept families safe in automobiles, those gears were responsible for family memories at a theme park, those gears helped farmers get food to the tables across the world. Be appreciative.
As busy as you are in life, your people are as busy. Take the time to let them let you know them. Be interested in the employee that is about to be a parent for the first time. Share in their excitement. Be interested in the parent that just sent their “baby” to college. You may have some coping methods (whether from the perspective of student or parent). Be interested in the grief of an employee who just lost someone important to them. Your job isn’t to meddle in their lives, but if you ask how the softball game went last night, you’ve just shown you care.
Caring is about building a relationship with the people on your team – whether it’s subordinate, peer, or supervisor – and then taking the time to show they matter. If you feel you might need work in this area – your team is feeling it too. Commit to getting started and watch just how far your team is willing to take your department.