How do leaders truly connect with their employees while still maintaining a professional relationship that promotes success? The answer might be to simply show them you care.
Employees who feel valued and appreciated by their leaders and the organization are infinitely more likely to go above and beyond for the company and hold themselves accountable for their work. Most importantly, they’ll be happier in their roles and will be more productive.
Disregarding the importance of connecting with employees poses a potential loss of a dedicated, long-term team member.
In part one of two, I’ll dive into 5 ways your organization or leadership team can demonstrate gratitude and appreciation for your employees.
H2: Provide Support with Personal Issues
Whether we like it or not, it’s nearly impossible to always separate our personal issues with work ISSUES within the workplace. It isn’t enough to just assist your employees with work issues. Great leadership should keep their eyes open for signs of personal issues leaking into the workplace and provide support when appropriate.
I’m always reminded of this example. An employee had a hard time finding a place to rent, and her manager saw the negative impact this had on her every day. Instead of ignoring the issue because it wasn’t work related, the manager went above and beyond and went to the apartment complex where she wanted to live and talked to the manager.
She got a spot within a week. To this day, that employee knows leadership would do anything in their power to support her. It created a loyalty that’s hard to break and invaluable in a business relationship.
There are smaller ways to provide support as well. Sometimes just acknowledging that you noticed frustration, stress, or a change in energy and recognizing personal issues goes a long way. We all find value in knowing we’re cared for.
H2: Be Real with Them
Relate to employees on a human level by sharing your own experiences and struggles. When you sense an employee’s having a problem, providing an example of something similar that you’ve gone through resonates deeply. You can share how you overcame the situation, or even more transparently, you can share an example of failure.
People tend to place leaders on a pedestal. When leaders show vulnerability and imperfections and/pr share relatable examples on overcoming struggles, it can help employees overcome their own challenges.
Transparency within an organization is a great way to demonstrate appreciation of growth and resilience.
H2: Care About Their Personal Lives
There is a big difference between leadership that just sees their team as worker bees and leadership that sees their team as unique individuals that each bring a different skillset and energy to the table. While there is always a fine line of appropriate conversations that should be had in the workplace, it’s completely possible to show you care about your employee’s personal life without crossing that line.
For example, if you know that an employee has activities they are involved in, ask how they’re going and engage with them to learn more about their hobbies. Working from home has become the new normal. Taking the time to check in on those employees that are remote is crucial. Make sure they have the resources they need to be successful in that environment, such as a laptop stand, keyboard, or monitor. Furthermore, if an employee cancels a vacation or hasn’t taken a day off in who knows how long, if applicable, give them an extra few days off when time allows, at your expense.
There are countless ways to show that as an organization and leader you care about each employee’s life beyond the office.
H2: Support their Support System
As we enter into the holiday season, consider extending the invitation to work events to significant others. Happy hours, dinners, and parties always pop up this time of the year and it’s a great opportunity to include your employee’s partner and/or children. Not only does this allow you to learn more about your team and the people that make them, them, but it shows that the organization values family and inclusion.
Work is a lot easier when you have support at home, so why not let your employee’s partner know they are appreciated too.
H2: Back Them Up with Clients
It’s always an uncomfortable situation when a client is treating an employee poorly. It can make one feel like they aren’t meeting expectations or aren’t being valued. Leadership can take two different paths – agree with the client or stand up for the employee.
Look into the situation and determine what the best solution would be and if a middle ground can be met. Sometimes it takes leadership to remind the client of standards and expectations within the project relationship. Employees will feel validated to know that the organization has their back.
Never underestimate the power of standing up for an employee when there is mistreatment or wrongdoing.
So, we established that connecting with employees and showing them appreciation, gratitude, and more importantly that leadership and the organization cares can be executed in many ways. Take the time to ask how employees are doing – in and out of the office, be relatable, check on their workload, highlight inclusion, and support them when a client might not be.
Stay tuned for part 2 of ‘Tis the Season of Gratitude: Simple Ways to Show Employees You Care in December.
Curated by Kerry Weber
Director of Business Development and Partnerships
Kerry leads a business development function, manages relationships with technology and business partners, as well as conducts a staff augmentation practice. She has an education in Organizational Management and has spent over 20 years in the Information Technology Consulting & Staffing industry, helping small and large/Global Companies find and hire great talent for their organization in the areas of Information Technology/Data and Analytics, and Leadership. She is adept at building data communities and teams. She is passionate about technology and people; leading her to oversee several teams throughout her years of experience. She is also very involved with multiple non-profit Organizations in WI, helping high school, college aged, and professional women with career development.