9TO KEEP YOUR EMPLOYEES
ON THE JOB THE SUPERVISORSâ€™ GUIDE TO IMPROVING EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT & RETENTION
9 STRATEGIES TO ENGAGE & RETAIN WORKERS As a supervisor, you play a critical role in the engagement level of your team. Higher levels of engagement correlate to reductions in turnover. And when the potential for losing good people is on the line, you want to make sure youâ€™re doing everything possible to retain them.
Data recently published by Gallup, Inc. shows
out of U.S. workers are NOT ENGAGED, meaning they are not putting energy into their jobs, are indifferent about work, and show up just to put in their hours.
Furthermore, of all workers are ACTIVELY DISENGAGED, meaning they are out to do damage to their employers. This guide provides you with NINE STRATEGIES for increasing your teamâ€™s engagement level. The best part? You can implement these strategies right now. Today. No upper management or budget committee approval required. 2
SO WHEN DOES EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT ACTUALLY BEGIN? LET’S FIND OUT. Meet MIKE and BETTY. Both have a strong work ethic, are eager to learn, and have the same set of skills. Both are excited to begin their assignments at ABC Company (ABC) through Elwood Staffing.
Meet MARY and JAMES, two supervisors at ABC. Both have been with the company for five years. Mary will be managing Mike, and James will be managing Betty. Let’s see what happens to Mike and Betty’s ENGAGEMENT LEVELS as they have two different employment experiences while on assignment at ABC. Looking at the gauge below, both employees start out focused and optimistic—with room to flourish.
50% 50% 3
STRATEGY #1 INTRODUCTIONS &
Mary greets Mike by name, recognizes his punctuality, and welcomes him to the team. She asks about Mike’s commute and shares some routes to take in the future that might avoid traffic.
Mike feels like his punctuality is appreciated, and he’s beginning to feel he is part of a team.
James greets Betty by asking if she is the new “temp.”
Betty feels a lack of recognition and that she is “just a temp.”
· Taking a little time to get to know new team members can help alleviate any anxiety they may have about their new surroundings. · Author and organizational trainer Dale Carnegie stated, “Using a person’s name is crucial, especially when meeting those we don’t see very often. Respect and acceptance stem from simple acts such as remembering a person’s name and using it whenever appropriate.” · Using the word “associate” is preferred over “temp” when describing Elwood associates. The words “temporary” and “temp” are viewed as not being inclusive to the team.
STRATEGY #2 GETTING ORIENTED
Mary walks Mike to the orientation room and points out the break room, restrooms, lunchroom, and emergency exits along the way. Before reaching the orientation room, Mary stops to show Mike pictures of the customers who benefit from the products ABC manufactures. Mary tells Mike that later she will walk him through the production process and share the importance quality has at each stage. Mary then introduces Mike to the orientation leader and lets Mike know he will meet the rest of the team at the end of the hour-long session. Mary encourages Mike to take notes and ask questions.
Mike feels Mary recognizes the importance of being familiar with and comfortable in his new environment. He feels Mary is prepared for his arrival, is eager to introduce him to the team, and has a plan to ensure his success. James points Betty in the direction of the orientation room at the opposite end of the building and tells her, “Wait for me there; I’ll come get you after you’re done.”
Betty’s uncertain where to go, how to get there, and if anyone is expecting her. Betty hopes she doesn’t get lost or get in the way of production. She hopes she won’t be late for the orientation and look bad.
When starting a new assignment, associates will have some level of anxiety or uneasiness until they get their bearings. Helping them to feel at ease increases engagement and allows them to focus on learning.
After the orientation ends, Mary is waiting for Mike outside the door. She asks Mike if he has any questions, and they chat for a few minutes. As they walk to Mike’s workstation, multiple employees stop to wave at or high-five Mary. It’s obvious Mary has great rapport with her co-workers and employees. Mary introduces Mike to his co-workers and points out how each person can help Mike in his new role.
Mike feels confident that once training begins, he will have a support system ready for him should he need it. Mike feels like he is making new friends. Betty waits in the empty orientation room for 45 minutes and eventually decides to go look for James. After wandering around, she finally finds James and asks what she should do next. James looks at his watch and says, “Let’s get you started on the line.”
Betty feels put off by James’ insensitivity and is less confident he will keep any commitments. She’s no longer sure she can trust what she is told, and she realizes she hasn’t even been introduced to a single teammate who could help her. She is lonely and frustrated.
·W hile companies often pay significant attention to organizational loyalty, the best employers recognize loyalty also exists among employees toward one another. All employees have “leaving moments” when they examine whether to leave or stay at an organization. The best managers in the world observe that the quality and depth of employees’ relationships is a critical component of employee loyalty. -Gallup, Inc.“Item 10: I Have a Best Friend at Work.” 8
STRATEGY #3 TEAM INTRODUCTIONS
65% 35% 9
STRATEGY #4 TRAINING
Mary partners Mike with Jules, a training mentor, for the next two weeks. Jules started out as a temporary associate before being hired on by ABC. Jules has trained over 40 new associates and tells Mike she sees it as her job to help him succeed. Jules clearly articulates ABC’s goals and the critical role Mike will play in helping meet them.
Mike’s eagerness to learn is encouraged and supported by both Mary and Jules. He knows there is a training plan in place for the next two weeks, so he does not feel anxious or confused. Mike feels like he is already part of the team. He likes Jules and feels she cares about how well he does at his job. James takes Betty to her workstation and quickly shows her what to do. He tells Betty he has to run to a meeting and to talk to Ned, a lead associate in his department, if she has any questions. Betty tries to make small talk with Ned by asking him how long he has worked at ABC. Ned responds, “Too long!”
Betty does not feel supported or cared about by her manager or co-workers and is not confident she is performing her job correctly. Betty begins to wonder if, like Ned, she has already been working at ABC for too long!
· Co-workers play a critical role in making new employees feel welcome. Never partner new employees with a “negative Ned,” even if he or she has been with the company for a long time. Training mentors should be positive, representing you and your organization with excellence. · According to CareerBuilder, 92% of employees are more loyal to employers that have invested in their skills by training them. Training new hires should commence immediately and be an ongoing, structured process. 11
When Mike makes a mistake or fails to meet a daily production goal, Jules calmly explains what he did incorrectly and shows him how to improve. She is also quick to praise Mike for a job well done. Jules checks in with Mike frequently to make sure he has everything he needs to be successful and to ensure he feels like part of the team.
Mike knows exactly what is expected of him and how he can achieve his goals, so his mind is at ease. He appreciates the constant feedback and transparency he receives from both Jules and Mary. He feels comfortable asking questions. Mike puts forth effort above and beyond the minimum required. He wants Mary and Jules to be proud of him and knows they will acknowledge a job well done. When Betty has a question, she is not certain who to reach out to. Ned isnâ€™t always available, and Betty rarely sees James. When she asks Ned a question, Ned makes her feel stupid. It gets so bad that Betty asks one of her coworkers for help. Her co-worker shows her a process shortcut he says works better. When Ned sees Betty performing the short-cut, he tells James. James asks Betty why she is doing it that way and tells her she should only come to Ned or him with questions.
Betty feels confused and like there is no consistent way to do things. Betty feels singled out by Ned and is frustrated that James only seems to talk to her when there is a problem. She doesnâ€™t care about learning the job anymore; she is just doing enough to get by. Betty starts looking for another job. 12
STRATEGY #5 PERFORMANCE FEEDBACK
Âˇ Providing constructive feedback or praise in the moment is incredibly important, especially to millennials who will make up as much as 75% of the workforce by 2025. Checking in with employees on a regular basis is also beneficial, allowing you to unearth conflicts, concerns, and ideas in a timely manner. Âˇ People leave managers, not companies. In fact, according to a recent Gallup study, 50% of adults left their job to get away from their manager to improve their overall life at some point in their career. 13
STRATEGY #6 COMMUNICATION
Every morning Mary holds a quick meeting with the team to touch base on the objectives for the day, talk about challenges or process changes, recognize team members who are meeting their production goals, and celebrate birthdays and anniversaries. Mike’s co-workers even celebrate his birthday shortly after starting, complete with cake and a gift card to one of his favorite restaurants. In addition, Jules checks in with each team member at certain times throughout the day to make sure things are running smoothly.
Betty still doesn’t know most of her co-workers’ names. The only time James comes out on the floor is to yell at the line when they are not making production goals.
Employees withhold information from one another to try to look good in James’ eyes. There is a serious lack of teamwork within the department. Betty begins interviewing at other companies and no longer cares about meeting her goals.
Mike looks forward to the team meeting each morning. His co-workers are starting to feel like family. He feels cared about and supported. Communication between team members is strong, due in large part to Mary’s excellent leadership skills and ability to bring her team together.
· Short meetings at shift-start are a great forum for recognizing employee accomplishments, celebrating events like birthdays and anniversaries, communicating process or scheduling changes, and promoting company culture—all while growing team relationships. Meetings don’t need to be lengthy, formal events. Consider meetings where employees participate while standing, thus keeping everyone focused, productive, and efficient. · Elwood’s associate engagement survey finds communication to be the No. 1 employment experience influencer. In 72% of facilities where surveys were conducted, at least 20% of interviewed employees said they want constant feedback—both positive and constructive. 15
STRATEGY #7 PART OF SOMETHING BIGGER
Mary continues to share with Mike and her team the effect their attention to detail and quality of work has on the customers who use the products they make. Whenever possible, Mary also shares customer feedback and success stories of those lives positively impacted.
Mike clearly understands his role in making the products is a critical piece to helping the people who use them. James tells Betty to keep her head down and not mess up because it will cause more work.
Betty only understands the immediate impact of her work quality. Betty feels this is just a J.O.B.
Employees want to know their work matters.
Âˇ Remind employees of the importance of their roles. Âˇ Show employees the end result of their work along with who and what it impacts.
Mary approaches Mike with the opportunity to mentor some new team members joining in the weeks to come. Since Mike caught on quickly and had a mentor when he started, Mike is familiar with the importance of mentorship.
Mike feels valued and recognized for being a quick learner. Mike’s positive experience is now being passed on to the new team members coming aboard. James tells Betty to show some of the new temps how to not mess up and get the job done.
Betty isn’t sure why she was picked to show the new starts what to do. Betty isn’t sure she is doing her job right to begin with, and she resents being asked to perform the job of a supervisor.
”Next to physical survival, the greatest need of a human being is psychological survival, to be understood, to be affirmed, to be validated, to be appreciated.” -Stephen R. Covey is rewarding for good employees to lend a It helping hand to new employees by contributing to their career development.
Your role in facilitating a mentoring system gives experienced employees an added sense of accomplishment and ownership. 18
STRATEGY #8 DEVELOPING MENTORS
90% 10% 19
STRATEGY #9 GROWTH OPPORTUNITY
Mary takes time each week to validate Mike knows his opportunities for growth, including vertical and lateral career moves, development training, learning new tasks, and converting to an employee of ABC.
Mike feels accomplished, valued, invested, and prepared to do more for and with other members of the team. Mike sees the benefits beyond a paycheck.
James finds out his department lead quit and looks for Betty so he can ask her to fill the role, only to find she quit, too.
Betty works for another company down the street and tells everyone how awful it was to work at ABC.
Many employers use contingent staffing as a way to perform a working interview, evaluating whether or not an associate should be offered a permanent position. What most employers donâ€™t realize is associates are evaluating them too. Each day on assignment validates an associateâ€™s decision to make his or her job a new career or end it in search of a different one.
ENGAGEMENT PULSE CHECK: HOW DO YOU RATE? If youâ€™re responsible for managing and retaining employees, take a couple minutes and decide the degree to which you agree or disagree with each statement, using the following scale:
I BELIEVE ASSOCIATES...
1. F eel like a member of my team and not a temporary resource.
1 2 3 4 5
2. Feel empowered to share ideas openly.
1 2 3 4 5
3. F eel they have adequate training and have the tools to do their jobs well.
1 2 3 4 5
4. Feel they have a mentor at work.
1 2 3 4 5
5. Feel invested in.
1 2 3 4 5
6. F eel they receive fair treatment during performance reviews.
1 2 3 4 5
7. F eel expectations are clear and understand what they need to do to grow within the company.
1 2 3 4 5
8. F eel recognized for what they do right/well and receive clear communication when something is done wrong/incorrectly.
1 2 3 4 5
9. F eel like what they do has value and they are part of something greater than just a job.
1 2 3 4 5
SO, HOW DO YOU RATE? Add up your score, and see where you fall.
TEAM MIGHT BE PLOTTING A COUP
You’re likely glad you’ve got us—and this guide—in your corner. Your workplace culture probably fosters disparity between employees and lacks focus on individual value, leading to feelings of apathy, decreased motivation, and the desire to seek out new employment. Your employees are likely detractors, spreading the word about their dissatisfaction to co-workers and anyone else who will listen.
27-36: YOU COULD USE SOME HELP
37-40: GOOD, BUT NOT GREAT
You’ve got some great workplace practices in place, which means you’re on the right track. Fine tuning these best practices and integrating a few more (good thing you’ve got a few to choose from!) will get you closer to that personalized “boss of the year” coffee mug.
While employees aren’t lining up to leave, it may not be long before the thought enters their heads. Talk to your employees, gather their input and perspectives, and start making changes immediately. When they see real changes that reflect your commitment to their satisfaction and success, you’ll begin to notice improvements in morale, productivity, and cohesiveness.
41-45: BOSS OF THE YEAR
Pat yourself on the back! You’re so good, you could have written this guide! You clearly understand what motivates, excites, and challenges your employees, and for that, you have earned their trust, respect, and loyalty. Your employees sing your praises and don’t hesitate to recommend your company as a great place to work.
THE NEXT STEP?
Ask your employees these same nine questions, then be prepared to put some new engagement strategies to work! And remember, you can implement these strategies right now—no upper management or budget committee approval required! 23
BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER A CHECKLIST FOR MAXIMUM EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT
#1 INTRODUCTIONS & FIRST IMPRESSIONS You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Take the time on day one to make proper introductions, and make it a priority to remember and use names.
#2 GETTING ORIENTED A new environment with new expectations and new responsibilities is a lot for anyone to process and adjust to. Help employees start off on the right foot—focused and ready to learn—by supporting them as they familiarize themselves with and get comfortable in their new environment.
#3 TEAM INTRODUCTIONS Make sure new employees know their co-workers, the roles they play, and how they can benefit from one another’s expertise and experience. The bottom line: Everyone wants to feel connected to people and their environment—they want to stay where they feel they belong.
#4 TRAINING Leadership development and training opportunities fulfill personal and departmental growth needs, and employees view them as a sign they are valued members of the company. 24
#5 PERFORMANCE FEEDBACK Providing constructive feedback or praise in the moment is incredibly important. Checking in with employees on a regular basis is also beneficial. Frequent and timely feedback allows conflicts, concerns, and ideas to be shared when it’s most powerful.
#6 COMMUNICATION Employees crave open, honest communication—it’s the No. 1 factor affecting the employment experience according to our associates. When employees are informed, understand goals and expectations, and feel comfortable voicing their opinions, you establish a culture of trust and respect.
#7 PART OF SOMETHING BIGGER Who isn’t interested in being part of something bigger than themselves? When employees know their contributions impact others—the company, the economy, the client, or the end user—they gain a sense of purpose and pride. And that’s stimulating and motivating.
#8 DEVELOPING MENTORS Facilitating a mentoring system gives experienced employees an added sense of accomplishment and ownership and allows green employees to tap into a valued adviser, while forming a strong workplace connection—it’s a win-win.
#9 GROWTH OPPORTUNITY Good managers promote opportunities to learn and grow. From building skills and increasing responsibilities to special projects, promotions, and lateral movements, the more possibilities employees see, the more motivated they are to stick around, reap the rewards, and give it their all.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES WHITE PAPERS
To download these and other white papers, visit Elwood’s Business Resource Center at www.elwoodstaffing.com/BRC. Becoming An Employer of Choice Employee Engagement: The Antidote to Turnover Employee Retention: When Traditional Benefits Aren’t Enough A Ticking Time-Bomb, No More: Executive-Sponsored Mentorships Can Help Your Company
SUBJECT MATTER EXPERTS
The following Elwood Staffing teams are available to provide additional engagement and retention resources and support. Elwood’s Learning & Development team: formal onboarding and supervisory training programs (firstname.lastname@example.org) lwood’s Associate Engagement team: employee E engagement resources and Net Promoter SystemSM (NPS®) best practices (email@example.com) Elwood’s Workforce Intelligence team: local and national workforce data (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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Published on Nov 1, 2016
This book is a pocket guide for supervisors, and it provides engagement and retention strategies that any supervisor can implement without u...