Archive for the ‘Employee Retention’ Category

Turnover…Yet Another Hidden Cost

It’s no secret, people don’t leave companies.  They leave people.  The #1 reason good employees quit is due to dissatisfaction with their immediate supervisor. Continue Reading Turnover…Yet Another Hidden Cost »

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3 Simple Skills to Improve Your Communication (part 3)

by Pamela Jett, CSP

It’s no secret, communication is the #1 skills set professionals at every level ought to be polishing.  Research reveals that 80% of problems in most workplaces are caused by poor communication.  Whether you are a support staff person, a mid-level manager, or a C-suite level leader, better communication skills will help you achieve your goals and make a positive difference.

So, how can we begin to communicate more effectively starting today?  By following a few simple rules.  In previous posts I shared that rule #1 is to communicate in the positive and rule #2 is practice future focused communication.  Here is rule #3.

Communicate with an “Effective” Focus.  Almost every person I know, myself included, likes to be right.  We like to get in the last word.  We like to win.  We are tempted to say “I told you so.” We don’t like to admit when we are wrong. And we often struggle to apologize.  Many of us dig in our heels.  We become stubborn.  We might be a “my way or the highway” type of leader.  We even become difficult to work with and for.  This approach to communication can have severe consequences:

    • Conflict can escalate or turn destructive.
    • Minor issues can cause major relationship damage.
    • Even inconsequential things become a battle.
    • Relationships can suffer, teamwork suffers, and turnover increases.

One simple way to alleviate these consequences is to focus on effectiveness instead of being right.  A focus on effectiveness means that sometimes we sacrifice our need to be right in order to achieve a greater good or higher objective.  One simple way to do this is to replace the phrase “I disagree” with “I see it differently.”  “I disagree” sets up an “I’m right – you’re wrong” dichotomy.  “I see it differently” doesn’t create that dichotomy and is less defense or confrontation producing.

Communication is a vital tool for our success.  And, by following these simple rules for better communication, you can be a better communicator today!

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3 Simple Skills to Improve Your Communication (part 2)

by Pamela Jett, CSP

It’s no secret, communication is the #1 skills set professionals at every level ought to be polishing.  Research reveals that 80% of problems in most workplaces are caused by poor communication.  Whether you are a support staff person, a mid-level manager, or a C-suite level leader, better communication skills will help you achieve your goals and make a positive difference.

So, how can we begin to communicate more effectively starting today?  By following a few simple rules.  In a previous post I shared that rule #1 is to communicate in the positive.  Rule #2 is:

Communicate with a Future Focus.  How many times have you sat in a meeting where past mistakes or issues seem to dominate the conversation?  How many countless hours have been spent talking about the way things used to be done?  How much time do you spend in your relationships, both personal and professional, bringing up the past?  Chances are, the answer is too often, too many, too much!  When too much time is spent focusing on the past several things happen:

    • We don’t make much forward progress.
    • We can experience frustration because we can’t change the past and hopelessness can set in.
    • We might feel constantly “punished” when others refuse to let by gones be by gones and this can damage relationships.
    • We aren’t given the chance to learn, grow and evolve which can lead to disengagement.

Great communicators know that while it is important to acknowledge and learn from the past, including past mistakes, in order to foster an environment where productivity, creativity, and innovation thrive, a future focus is best.  And, a future focus also helps foster better, more positive relationships – a plus in any environment.  One simple technique you can experiment with today is to add the phrase “next time” to your conversations, especially those conversations that revolve around errors.  For example, if a problem occurs you can say “That is a problem.  What can we do next time to make sure it doesn’t happen?”  This small change can keep things moving forward and not stuck in the past.

Continue reading Pamela’s blog for rule #3.

 

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3 Simple Skills to Improve Your Communication (part 1)

by Pamela Jett, CSP

It’s no secret, communication is the #1 skill set professionals at every level ought to be polishing.  Research reveals that 80% of problems in most workplaces are caused by poor communication.  Whether you are a support staff person, a mid-level manager, or a C-Suite executive better communication skills will help you achieve your goals and make a positive difference.

So, how can we begin to communicate more effectively starting today?  By following 3 simple rules.  Here is rule #1.

Rule #1 – Communicate in the Positive.  So many of us spend time communicating in the negative.  Think about it.  How many of your conversations, especially if you are in a leadership or supervisory role, revolve around what went wrong, errors that need correcting, what you don’t want employees to do?  For many professionals (and even parents) negative communication is the norm.  “Don’t do that.”  “This is incorrect.”  “You’ve made a mistake.”  When we as professionals are bombarded with negative messages several things happen:

    • We can start to feel unappreciated which can lead to disengagement.
    • We might stop taking risks or trying new things because it isn’t safe to fail.
    • We don’t enjoy coming to work and might start to show it with a bad attitude.
    • We don’t do the right things because we’ve been told what not to do, but not what to do instead.

This last consequence points to the solution.  The next time you are tempted to tell someone what “not to do” ask yourself “what do I want them to do instead?”  And, communicate that!  Stop telling people what not to do and start telling them what to do instead.  This is one of the easiest way to begin to communicate in the positive, today.

Continue reading Pamela’s blog for rules #2 and #3.

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Employee Engagement is Everyone’s Job

by Pamela Jett, CSP

Research indicates that only 1 in 5 employees is actively engaged at work.   What a scary statistic!  We are in the midst of an employee engagement crisis.  I believe we as individuals are the key to improving engagement.  Employee engagement is everyone’s job.  Regardless of our position or job title, we are each tasked with helping others know that what they do matters.  Here are 3 key actions, all revolving around communication, to engage in today to help others feel more engaged at work.

  1. Catch people, your colleagues and those you might lead, in the act of doing something right! When you notice someone doing a good job, tell them so.  This doesn’t have to be formal or over-worked.  Simply say “I like that” or “you did a great job on that – I’m impressed.”  Help people feel good about their contributions.  The more people feel like someone notices or cares about what they are doing, the more rewarding and hence, more engaging, the task is.
  2. When someone does something for you or to help you – say “thank you.” Basic good manners matter.  Even if what they have done is small, it is still a great employee engagement strategy to say “thank you.”  The interesting thing about “thank you” is that people don’t often notice when we say it.  However, they notice when we don’t.  A “thank you” costs us nothing and can help people feel appreciated, a key to employee engagement.
  3. Point out the impact of actions when possible. So many people have no idea how what they do makes a difference.  Understanding how tasks, even routine tasks, impact an organization’s success is a key to employee engagement.  People need to know that what they do matters, even if what they do seems small.  When you catch people in the act of doing something right or say thank you, consider adding an impact statement.  Thank you for all the detail in this report.  That sure helps us at audit time.

Regardless of your job-title or position in the organization, you can leverage these 3 very simple communication tools to do your part to enhance employee engagement.  And, the added benefit is, when we help others feel more engaged, we become more engaged ourselves!

What are your thoughts?  Do you have any simple communication strategies that you use to enhance employee engagement?  Are there strategies your leader uses that are effective?  Post a comment and let me know.

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Communicating Praise that Makes an Impact

by Pamela Jett, CSP

Giving praise is one of the most positive forms of communication.   However, if all we say is “thanks” or “good job”, we miss an opportunity to get make a real impact.  Well delivered praise  rewards and increases the likelihood that people will continue the praiseworthy behavior.  Here is a simple process to give praise that is meaningful and effective every time.  (BTW, I sure wish I could remember where I learned this system – I would love to give credit where credit is due.)

1.  Use names – people like to hear their name associated with the positive.  Research also reveals that every time we hear our name, we get a tiny endorphin rush (the happy hormones.)

2.  Praise immediately – psychologically, your praise will make a bigger impact if it is delivered as close to the praseworthy act as possible.  Leaders, don’t hold on to all the good stuff for performance reviews.  You can double-dip.  If it is fantastic, praise immedaitely and share during a review.

3.  Be specific – don’t simply say “good job.”  Make it clear what you are praising.  That way, people will know what to keep doing.

4.  Point out the impact – this is HUGE!  Of all the steps, this is the most neglected and the most important.  Telling people why what they did matters (pointing out the impact) creates better employee engagement, a greater sense of commitment, and greatly increases that likelihood that the praise will be remembered (and acted upon in the future)

5.  Ask for a repeat – simple and effective.

Susan, you did a great job organizing the data in this report.  Well organized data is what really makes a difference during the monthly review. Keep up the good work.

Following this pattern for giving praise (it also works as a guide for writing thank you notes as well) will increase the likeliehood that your praise will be received as sincere.  Leaders (and parents) who use this system increase commitment and engagement while empowering employees (and teens).

What are your thoughts on giving praise?  Please post a comment and share this blog with others.  Pamela Jett is a communication skills expert who believes that “Words Matter.”  Find her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, connect on Linked In and sign up for her “Brain Wrinkle” on this website.




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Employee Retention and Communication

by Pamela Jett, CSP

According to Deloitte’s fourth annual Ethics & Workplace Survey, one-third of employed Americans plan to look for a new job when the economy gets better.  Yikes!   Since turnover is extraordinarily expensive, it is in the best interest of organizations to focus now on preventing this massive loss of talent and intellectual capital.  Why do people plan on leaving?  48 percent cite a loss of trust in their employer and 46 percent say that a lack of transparent communication from their company’s leadership are their reasons.

Here are a few simple steps that anyone at any level within an organization can take to improve trust and communication.

Keep people informed. It is a fact of organizational life that when people begin to suspect that “something is up” the rumor mill starts working overtime.  And, the scary part is that in absence of good or reliable information, people will simply start to make things up.  They speculate, they guess and pretty soon those speculations take on the power of truth.  A good leader (at any level of the organization) keeps people informed to the best of their ability.  Even if they, the leaders, don’t have all the answers, a great leader will communicate that they are aware the concern exists and they will share information as it becomes available.  Employees would much rather know that their leader doesn’t have all the answers than to suspect their leader is holding out on them.

Point out the impact of contributions. Help people feel like what they do matters by pointing out the impact or the difference they make on a regular basis.  Instead of simply praising someone for a job well done, offer the praise and let them know why what they did is valuable.  When employees know that what they do matters, when there is no mystery around the role they play and the value they add to the organization, they are more likely to stay even when other opportunities are on the horizon.

Communicate awareness of career development. Although in the current job market the temptation is to “protect” and “hoard” opportunities, a great leader knows that delegating and putting opportunities for career development in the path of others is a great way to stay valuable to an organization.  If you are in a leadership position, demonstrate your awareness of the career development needs and wants of others.  Do what you can to acknowledge and support that need.  Spread the “high-profile” assignments around instead of relying on one or two “go to” people all the time.  Communicating and demonstrating an awareness that people need opportunities to shine in organizations makes you a more trustworthy leader.

While people may currently be happy to have any job, turnover will happen and it will happen sooner than later.  Now is the time to put your remarkable communication skills to work so that you are the kind of leader or colleague others want to work with and for.    Not only will this help prevent good people from leaving in the future, it can make your current work environment more rewarding, it can improve employee engagement, and it can make you a better leader (regardless of your title or job description.)

Pamela Jett, CSP is a communication skills expert who believes that communication is the most important skill set any professional can develop.  As a a keynote speaker, workshop leader, and coach, she works with professionals worldwide to develop remarkable communication skills for remarkable results.  If you enjoyed this blog post, please share with others, leave a comment, tweet it, or post it to your social networks.  For more information about Pamela, click here.

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