When I ask managers what’s important to their team members it’s usually quite revealing when I get an all too common responses of “money and a quiet life”, or “I don’t know what makes them tick”.
The former might sometimes be the case to an extent, but sadly it’s often an assumption. The only reason managers don’t understand this is because they’ve never asked the question. They then wonder why they have a problem with employee retention!
Spending time with team members and finding out what’s important to them is just as important as you or your team spending time with customers, finding out their needs.
Ask what they enjoy about certain tasks and why; how they feel about particular aspects of their job. Conversely ask about the things that disappoint or frustrate them, and what they’d change if they could.
Whilst some love the sense of achievement or recognition others get a buzz from supporting others. Some love to have their say and see their ideas put into practice, whilst others are happiest when they’re learning or being stretched.
Finding out about what people value outside work as well as in work can often be an insight. Ask casually about their weekend or what they have planned for the evening ahead or their day off, and show an interest in what they get up to in their spare time.
Talking about interests amongst the team can be useful for you, but can also elicit a sense of pride in the things they do outside work and helps each of your team understand what’s important to their fellow team members.
But, how does knowing what’s important to someone outside work help you with employee retention or engagement, or help them in work? Obviously it’s not going to be possible to have them practising their hobbies all day long!
But by looking at the attributes and skills for their activities when they’re away from work can give us an inkling as to where their strengths lie and clues on how these can be applied in the workplace.
For example, do they have a creative streak in them; do they get involved with highly competitive sports or activities; do they have a role of helping the community, supporting and caring.
Of course, it won’t always be practical or possible to fully incorporate their interests but if you aim to do this wherever you can you’ll soon start to get the best from the team, which will invariably have a knock-on effect on customers too, notwithstanding making your life easier into the bargain!
So, stop trying to suss out what makes team members tick. Ask them!