Record numbers of employees have been voluntarily leaving their jobs in recent months. The reasons for this exodus are manifold, but chief among them is the simple fact that they don't feel valued in their current roles. As a manager, it’s a huge responsibility to ensure that team members feel like they are an integral part of the organisation and that their contributions are appreciated. In a recent article for the Harvard Business Review (HBR), Cannon Thomas and Laura Delizonna provided some practical tips for doing just that, as follows:
Put People First
Putting your team's needs ahead of your own is a guaranteed way to earn their loyalty and respect. When you make decisions, always ask yourself how it will impact your team members and whether it's in their best interest. This is what prominent author Simon Sinek advises in, Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don't: “Leaders of organisations who create a working environment better suited for how we are designed, do not sacrifice excellence or performance simply because they put people first. Quite the contrary. These organisations are among the most stable, innovative and high-performing companies in their industries."
Rally Around Shared Goals
It's vital to ensure that everyone on your team is working towards the same goal. This way, they can see the tangible impact of their efforts and feel like they are part of something larger. When setting goals, be specific and realistic, and involve your team in the process as much as possible.
Model Humility and Curiosity
The best leaders are those who are humble and always learning. As the two authors write, "when a leader models humility, it opens up space for others to contribute. The leader is recognising gaps that others can fill and also creating an environment where it is psychologically safe to give bold ideas and risk being wrong. Curiosity is the recognition that there is always more to learn. This fuels the excitement of experimentation and growth."
Make sure to celebrate your team's accomplishments, both big and small. This will help them feel appreciated and motivated to continue doing their best work. "Shared joy — especially the joy of team wins — reinforces bonds," argues the HBR article. "The stress of hitting targets can drain the joy out of work. Celebrating wins together keeps the focus where it needs to be for a team to excel and bond through progress.
Connect the Dots
Make sure to connect the dots for your team, allowing them to see how their work fits into the bigger picture. This will help them understand the impact of their efforts and feel a sense of ownership over the projects they are working on. The HBR article cites studies showing "that one's work has impact and feeling that the work is meaningful are two of the top five predictors of a high-performing team."
By following these simple tips, you can create a work environment conducive to retaining your top talent. By valuing your team members and making them feel like an integral part of the organisation, you can keep them happy and engaged in their work. And when your team is happy and engaged, everyone wins.