In my upcoming book, The Art of Active Listening, I center it around how to make people in the workplace feel seen, valued, and heard. In order for organizations to keep their employees happy and continue organizational success, these become essential in any workplace. Acknowledging your people within your leadership approach by letting them know that you see them, and hear them with every action you take on a daily basis, could turn a once unenjoyable place to work into one of the best places to work. Here are just 5 ways that some top workplaces become some of the “Best Places to Work”.
Surprise! Listening, of course, is the core to having a well-established, employee-centered culture, and it’s to be done in many kinds of ways. When there’s a disconnect between leadership, management, and even individual teams, that’s when employees start feeling like they don’t matter and aren’t valued. That’s where the steps in the Listening Cycle come in:
Recognizing the Unsaid – Unspoken things in your culture’s organization to recognize that your people aren’t telling their entire truth.
Seeking to Understand – Leaning in to understand someone’s perspective and really hearing them.
Decode – Take time to reflect, investigate, and then ponder about the feedback you have been given and what to do about it.
Take Action – Act upon what you’ve heard, so your people know their voices are powerful and that you will do something about the feedback that is given.
Closing the Loop – You’ve acted on the feedback you have been given and then acknowledged what you plan to do or are already actively doing about it.
Taking the time to follow these steps to active listening AND follow through is vital to having a close connection from the top of organizational leadership down to your front line to maintain any type of company success and retention.
Put Your People in the Right Seats
So what exactly does this mean? It means trusting those in your organization within the roles you have put them in. You hire or promote from within, and you fill a position, which builds trust with that individual to be sure they know they are in the right place. This trust shouldn’t be broken with micromanaging and uncertainty in the delegation process. Build your teams and management with great communication in mind, and do your part to provide them with everything that they need to do their job efficiently and with success.
Create a Great Career Path
Continually engaging with your employees and keeping the focus on them by opening the doors for growth and development opportunities for career advancement and training is a great way to increase employee retention. Most of us take a job because we know there are opportunities for advancement. Taking the steps to empower your employees to move up the ladder and push them in the right direction will help them not remain stagnant. The best companies keep their employees challenged, constantly developing new skills and in a state of learning.
Acknowledgment and recognition. We as humans crave this, whether we realize it or not. Many of us also thrive off of human interaction, and it’s a huge piece of what gets us through our day. I remember a story of a CEO – who was operating a multi-billion dollar company – who greeted every single person who walked through his building doors each and every day. That simple “hi” or “goodbye” and greeting those by name at the beginning or end of the day can really go the extra mile in showing your employees you care and creating a better place to work.
Make the Workplace Fun
Last but not least, make the workplace fun! We spend the majority of our week at our jobs, and many of our colleagues eventually become like family to us over the years. There’s no way we could be expected to take things seriously ALL the time! Having workplace trivia or team-building activities inside or outside of work allows your people to build connections, friendships, and collaborate together. Highlight the fun points in your organization and give your people the break they deserve.
We all remember the best career and place we’ve ever worked at. My hope is that you’re currently in it! But we also remember the worst jobs we’ve ever had, and the reasons why probably come to mind quickly. Leadership is a journey, but it starts from the top. It starts with your organizational leaders embracing some of the best practices from some of the world’s best workplaces. Creating a culture of listening, trusting your people, sincere appreciation, and growth opportunities for employees are at the forefront, and just some ways your organization can become known as a “Best Place to Work” too! Have fun!