In our world today, money should not be the end goal. Don’t get me wrong, we all get up and go to work to make a living. Often, people will stay in a job with the offer of a raise, but the result is higher burnout rates, lower productivity, and increased health issues. Young adults and seasoned employees alike want to feel valued and appreciated. In fact, the pandemic has illuminated the importance of valuing others by expressing appreciation. As a society, we are looking for more. What will keep people happy and working for you? I am going to share three key points to consider when you are training and working to retain valuable employees: setting expectations, coaching with clarity and showing respect.
Setting expectations: We all like to have a roadmap that shows us where we are going, and how to reach our destination with the fewest delays. First, however, we must communicate what that destination is in a step-by-step process of telling, showing, and doing. Each employee will be unique in how they learn, which is important to recognize when training new and/or existing employees. What happens when an employer does not set clear expectations? My first job exemplifies a lack of clarity. I worked at a little pizza/ice cream shop in a tiny town in Alabama. The owners were friendly but unclear about their expectations. Their idea of training was to “watch this person; do what they do” … and repeat. If I didn't fully understand the procedure, my fellow employee would simply perform the task for me, rather than provide useful understanding about why this step was important. Understanding the “why” behind procedures helps to establish their importance.
Coaching: Brené Brown says, “clear is kind, unclear is unkind.” Coaching an employee can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Often, employers fear their employees will get mad, cry, or worse, walk out. The goal in coaching is to provide twice as much praise and appreciation as correction for negative behavior. Coaching needs to be timely; people don’t remember what happened last week with as much detail as they would in an hour or a day. Ideally, both positive and negative coaching should occur on the same day. However, when you have an employee who is chronically late, the situation needs to be addressed promptly and appropriately. Furthermore, you need to communicate if a report is not what you expect. To achieve successful results during difficult conversations, corrective coaching should include these 5 key elements or C.L.E.A.R:
Lean into curiosity and vulnerability
Attitude - Accept others without bias
Respect and values
This strategy ensures the integrity of coaching and communication. I can remember several “coaching” sessions that ultimately resulted in me leaving my job. I had been with the company for several years and all of my year-end performance reviews exceeded the required metrics. I thought I was doing a great job, however, my one-on-one “coaching” sessions revolved around what I was doing wrong, or what I needed to do differently. My anxiety was almost debilitating. I dreaded going to work, especially on these days, because I expected to hear the worst. I felt unappreciated. When I received positive feedback from other leaders it motivated me to work harder. Coaching should result in growth and development.
Respect that is given not earned: Did you know there are two types of respect? Respect that is given is a level of respect that we tend to forget. It's the common courtesy we give to other people, simply because they are human. We are all born into a physical body; we all have blood running through our veins. Our opinions are part of who we are, a part of our environment, and a part of what we have been taught to believe. One belief system is not more right or wrong than another. Respect for others starts with understanding that no one travels the exact same path, and empathy is the greatest skill a person can learn. Respect that is earned is typically out of admiration for someone's accomplishments, personal character, and values. People like Mother Theresa or Gandhi exemplify this earned respect. While challenges with personalities, beliefs, and opinions may arise, we should strive to respect each person as an individual.
In short, if you want to hire, train, and retain great employees, the following are a must: be clear in your expectations; provide all the necessary information for employees to satisfactorily complete a required task; offer regular and timely coaching; praise twice as much as correct; and respect each person for who they are not whom you want them to be.
Author: Laurie Kroeger