Engaging, Retaining and Managing Lives: How to Show Employees They Matter

Engaging, Retaining and Managing Lives: How to Show Employees They Matter

Retaining Employees Through “The Great Resignation”

In Q2 of 2021, 11.5 million employees quit their jobs. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 34% of US employees plan to leave their employer in the next twelve months. What’s a simple and in the moment way to assess how engaged your employees are? Ask!

How the Best Leaders Retain Employees

Consider the best leaders in your own career. What makes these individuals come to mind? Beyond their acknowledgment of the significance of your work contributions, their actions showed that you mattered to them as a person. They were an inspiring mentor who challenged you, brought clarity to your objectives and cared about you professionally and personally. They celebrated the joy in your life and shed tears with you during life’s hardships. Your relationship was built on trust. And if you don’t report to them today, you’re likely still connected with them.

Upgrading the Traditional Stay Interview

Are you leading from a place of connection? Each day, you can ensure your employees feel noticed, needed, and significant – that they are an important part of your team. How? Go beyond scheduling traditional “stay interviews” that feel forced and clinical, and generally do not support open conversation. Your employees want to know that they matter. Engaging in You Matter Here questions places focus on growing your relationship and improving your employee’s experience, while providing learning opportunities for you as a leader. Don’t wait for annual review time, employee engagement survey data or worse, exit interview feedback. You can engage in authentic conversation with your direct reports in the moment to discover what they value, what they need to make their employment experience more satisfying and foster a relationship built on trust. Done well, you can reduce the risk of your employees becoming part of the exiting statistic.

Build these You Matter Here questions into your language and weave them into your one-on-one meetings over time (don’t ask all the questions in one check-in). Choose what feels most natural to you. Leaders should hold one-on-one meetings with each of their direct reports on a weekly basis. This is your time to individually connect with your direct report through sharing gratitude, reviewing measurables and discussing projects, action items and issues. It’s also the perfect setting to check on your employee’s current engagement sentiments.

Retaining Employees Through You Matter Here Conversations

Pre-Meeting Reflection

As you prepare for your one-on-one with each direct report, think well about them. You have precious time for an open conversation with them.

  • What is a specific attribute they bring to your team that you are grateful for? Express gratitude.
  • How have they added value this week? Recognize and share feedback.
  • What’s going on in their personal life? Reflect on celebrations, heartaches and everyday life.

You Matter Here Questions

  1. What keeps you working here at our organization and in your role?
  2. What is something in your current role you wish you had more/less of?
  3. Which of your skills are you not using in your current role?
  4. How can I make your work more enjoyable? More fulfilling?
  5. What is an area you would like to learn and grow in?
  6. What opportunity would interest you enough for you to step away from your current role?
  7. What is the single most meaningful action I could take as your leader?
  8. If you were going to coach me on one thing to make me a better leader, what would it be?

Managing Lives as a People Leader

Engaging with your employees in this manner may be new to you. You’ll open the door to brave and candid two-way conversations and may hear things that are surprising. Keep asking the questions and listen well – you’ll hear what motivates them. Reference the discussion and any actions taken in future check-ins – these are not a one-time series of Q&A, rather an opportunity to continuously build your connection. Remember, you are not simply managing work, you are managing lives. Discovering more about your direct reports will help you identify their career goals, interests and concerns so you can take action, together. Showing that you genuinely care and that they are a valued member of your team naturally cultivates retention. You may discover that your employee’s best fit is outside of your team and organization – some attrition is natural and healthy. You have the ability to support them along their career journey.

Try asking one question this week – make the questions your own – and see what you learn!

Looking for additional practices can you implement to make an impact and enhance your employee’s experience? Watch 15Five’s manager effectiveness panel discussion featuring Shawn Gulyas, The Thought Catalyst at humanworks8.

The You Matter Here Conversation Planner

Download The You Matter Here Conversation Planner from humanworks.