As a manager during the time of the so-called Great Resignation, it’s a question that needs to be asked: Do people not want to work, or do they not want to work here?
Workplace leaders across the country are struggling with this question and all it implies as people rethink their values and what makes for a working environment in which they want to be involved.
While every person is different and wants different things, there are some core truths and situations in which people will be happy to come to work every day. You can create a work environment in which your employees are content and not looking for the exits at every opportunity.
Here’s how to create a positive work environment:
Aretha was right: All workers need a little respect. It doesn’t matter if they’re a senior vice president or the new hire in the mailroom: every person deserves respect and should be receiving it at work. This doesn’t mean people can’t be corrected if they’re not acting professionally or if they’re making mistakes, but it does mean treating your employees as a person of worth and value, with dignity and humanity. They don’t want to feel like there are pockets of “in groups” that get better treatment or learn important information earlier than others. They want to feel like they matter, that their contributions to the office are important and valued. Workers who feel that their office is a disrespectful environment will not feel much motivation to stay for longer than necessary. Give respect and you’ll get it in return.
The team that reports to you was, at least to some extent, selected by you. They deserve your trust — not to be second-guessed at every turn or to feel like they are constantly being watched, monitored or aren’t trusted to make decisions. Let them know you have faith in their abilities and their competencies and that even if a mistake is made, it’s a learning experience and won’t result in a big, public reprimand. Employees who don’t feel trusted to do their work will soon be looking for another place to take their ideas.
In some workplaces, a one-on-one meeting with the manager happens seldomly and might not be a great experience. It might only take place once a year, during a review, or might be the adult equivalent of being called to the principal’s office in school. But if you embrace a practice of keeping an open door and welcoming conversations with your employees, you can foster an environment in which people feel heard. This goes hand-in-hand with respect and trust: If your team knows they can come to you with concerns, problems or new ideas they’d like to try, that will inspire and instill confidence and will help them feel secure in their job and their abilities. Positive feedback and constructive conversations don’t need to happen only when it’s performance review time and it helps build relationships between you and your team.
When was the last time you brought your team together to talk about the company’s vision, the current projects in the works and how their contributions fit into the bigger picture? Many people get so bogged down in the day-to-day details of something they can’t see beyond their own responsibilities. If morale seems a little low, maybe it’s time to bring everyone together for a little while to have a conversation. Give them an update on where things stand. Tell them how what they’re working on fits into the larger goals and objectives. Talk about what you’ve been working on lately as well: so often people feel disconnected from their managers, or like their managers are disconnected from them. Bring people together and unify your team.
When people work hard, they want to know it’s appreciated. When a big project comes together and is completed, it should be acknowledged and celebrated. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, but calling out your team’s wins helps lift morale because it means the boss is paying attention. This doesn’t mean cake or pizza parties at every turn (but those are fun too), but show your appreciation in a way that makes sense for the team and/or the individual being acknowledged. You might even want to offer something fun, a treat or group activity, for no reason at all every once in a while. A happy surprise that doesn’t involve more work and mixes in a little levity to the day can be a welcome change of pace for everyone.
Looking to expand your team? Sterling Personnel is ready to help!
If it’s time to add new people to your team, or if you’re in need of permanent or temporary workers to help keep your momentum rolling in 2022, call Sterling Personnel. We have fantastic candidates with the skills you’re looking for ready to start working right away and are just waiting to be placed in your office. Contact Sterling Personnel today and let’s get started.