Now would be a brilliant time for organizations to be thinking about how to engage their employees, and keep them happy, motivated and productive. There’s a lot of “activity” in the work world these days with data indicating that employees “ain’t too happy,” and that many of them are looking for new, more appreciative work environments. A recent Gallup survey showed that only 22% of employees are fully engaged and thriving.
What does that mean for you? When employees are engaged and thriving they are more likely to maintain strong work performance and less likely to leave. And we all know how costly it is when employees leave.
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has identified 18 critical factors that contribute to employee satisfaction and engagement. Four of those factors are related to an employee’s professional and career development:
1. Job-specific training
2. Organization's commitment to professional development
3. Career development opportunities
4. Career advancement opportunities
Employee development is an essential tool in building workforce capabilities and helping your organization compete in the ever-changing marketplace. Yet according to a SHRM survey that ranked employee satisfaction with the 18 critical factors, employee development is seriously lacking. In fact, the four related factors – job specific training, commitment to professional development, career development and career advancement – all ranked in the bottom half of the list, with career development/advancement right at the bottom.
Why is that? Because employee development is so often an after-thought, or the first thing to be eliminated when times are tough.
Employees need to feel valued, connected, challenged and recognized. Providing them with opportunities to build on their strengths, learn new skills and prepare for the future needs of the company demonstrates in a very real way that they are integral to the organization and its success. And when employees feel that kind of connection they will be more engaged and loyal.
Development can happen in many different forms: on-the-job training, personal development, cross-functional projects, coach and/or mentor, special projects, stretch assignments, training courses, reading and personal study, online courses, peer coaching, job shadowing… The important thing is that it is available and encouraged.
And it does make a difference. According to the SHRM survey, workers with training available to them were more committed (48% vs. 39%) to their work, were happier (45% vs. 37%) and were more excited (30% vs. 14%) about their jobs.
Till next time,
We’ve all experienced them. Those bosses who are incredibly good at the business or technical side of their role – be it finance, sales, technology or whatever their expertise –and who are painfully lacking when it comes to dealing effectively with the people around them. The constantly closed door. The blow up in meetings. Communicating via email vs. face-to-face. The total disregard of others’ feelings. It’s all about the business! The human connection is missing.
Sound familiar? If you can’t think of an example in your office, think about the recent incident when AOL’s CEO Tim Armstrong fired his creative director in front of 1000 employees. Although he apologized later, clearly he had checked any people skills he has at the door that day.
For many years the trend has been to promote people to leadership roles because of their domain expertise or bottom line results regardless of how many bodies they may have left in their wake. Thankfully, things are changing. In fact, Emotional Intelligence (EI), the “human” skill set, is becoming as important, if not more important, than the “hard skills” in determining leadership success. According to a TalentSmart study, EI accounts for 58% of a leader’s job performance. And among top performers, 90% of them rank high in Emotional Intelligence. But what exactly is EI?
Emotional Intelligence, as defined by EI expert Dr. Daniel Goleman, is the capacity for:
1. Knowing your emotions
2. Managing your own emotions
3. Motivating yourself
4. Recognizing and understanding other people’s emotions
5. Managing relationships, i.e., managing the emotions of others
How does this translate into the workplace and leadership? People with Emotional Intelligence are able to quickly build rapport and connect with others. They listen. They have the self-awareness to know how they’re going to respond in certain situations and can self-manage to direct their behavior positively. They can disagree without being disrespectful. They have empathy. They control their emotions. Great leaders recognize that human relationships and connecting with others is as important as their domain expertise in order to be successful.
Some people come by these capabilities naturally. For others, the skills must be learned. Wherever you are on the spectrum, it’s essential to understand that you can no longer succeed on expertise alone.
Till next time,