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Tag Archives: Employee input

How to increase your employee’s trust in you through your actions?


ManagerBuilding a trust relationship with your employees is a tricky business in itself. Even though you can’t control your employee’s perception of you, you can affect their idea of you by your actions. And hence, in this blog, I will continue my conversation from my last blog about how to build a successful trust relationship with your employees through your consistent actions.

Listen to your employees: No relationship can be build successfully, if you are unwilling to listen. Same logic applies here. As a manager, you should seek to understand your employees, and try to show empathy towards their viewpoints. If you don’t agree with the opinion of your employee, then don’t try to shoot their idea immediately. Let them tell the thought process behind their idea, and you might be surprised with what they can come up with. Let’s say, you still don’t like their idea after hearing the entire story. In that case, you should try to explain your viewpoints to them and explain your thought process to them rather than rejecting their idea directly. With this approach, they will feel more connected with you and they will at least try to understand your perspective rather than just thinking that “my manager doesn’t like my ideas, so he always says NO”. If you can at least get your employees involved in the decision making process and seek their ideas before making the decision, you can build a better trust relationship with them.

Keep your commitments: Let’s say, you have a manager who tells you something (ABC) and does completely different thing (XYZ). Will you be able to trust his/her words again? Same goes for your employees. If you don’t keep your commitments often, then they will have a really hard time trusting you. Thus, in order to improve your trust relationship with your employees, you have to make sure that you do what you say you are going to do. By seeing your consistent behavior, they will develop an idea on what they can expect from you, and hence, they will try to trust your words on the basis of your past actions. Take this for an example, if the final decision about a problem is outside of your direct control, then it is better that you tell your employees that you will “look into it” instead of telling them that you can “fix it”. In this way, they will know what they can expect from you, which is a key component in building any kind of trust relationship.

Admit your mistakes: We are all humans, and hence, we are all prone to make mistakes. But if you make a mistake and don’t admit your mistakes, then it will send a wrong message to your entire team. They will consider this as the new precedence, and they won’t admit their mistakes either, when they make them. If you do something wrong, then it is very important to apologize and admit your mistakes. This behavior will bring you and your team members close together. When you accept your mistake, try to explain your intentions going forward and live up to the new expectations that you have established. Everyone makes mistakes, the difference is what you do when you have made one. If possible, try to share what you have learned as a result of your mistake so your employees don’t make the same mistake again. By sharing your experience, you will not only be improving your relationship with your employees, but you will also be teaching them a lesson that you have learned.

With these pointers, I am ending my two part series blog about – ‘manager-employee trust relationship’. If you have any other ideas through which we can increase our trust relationship with our employees, then please share your ideas with me through your comments here. Thanks – Bhavin Gandhi

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How should you provide personalized feedback to your employees?


Customized feedback

Everyone needs feedback in order to do their job effectively. What kind of feedback, and how often, that varies from person to person. Some managers think, if they keep on piling more feedback on their employees, then they would be successful at some point in time. But that is the wrong assumption. By following that approach, you might be unknowingly suffocating your folks, or giving them the impression that you are micro managing them.

As a manager, we need to tune in to the unique frequencies of each of the employee. Be observant, listen and remain alert for opportunities to give feedback, when they want/need it. One size doesn’t fit all. Base the frequency of your feedback on their tasks and responsibilities, their efficiency, their curiosity, and their working style.

Obviously, nothing will work out well in the first try. So, make sure to refine your approach regularly. Ask them for their feedback on your new process, and how it is working out for them. Make sure to ask very specific questions such as ….. Do you like to meet every week for our one-on-one session? Do we need to make this meeting shorter or longer? What kind of things would you like to discuss during this session? etc.

You should also make a note that every employee is different on how he/she consumes information. Thus, it would be a good idea to ask them about their preferred way of communication. Obviously, if your work is not getting done, then you can go to them directly to find your answers, after all you are their Boss. But if the work is getting done according your expectations, then you might want to give them some leeway on how you can provide them feedback. Some of the preferred methods would be …. e-mail, face-to-face conversation, a memo, or a telephone call.

No matter what kind of feedback mechanism you use, always make sure to note down your positive/negative feedback in a separate diary (or in OneNote/EverNote for you tech geeks out there). This approach will ensure that you can judge everyone fairly during your year-end review, and you don’t need to depend on only 2-3 month’s performance of your employees.

Do you have any other ideas through which you can provide personalized feedback to your employees?

Thanks – Bhavin Gandhi

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2013 in 21st Century, Leadership, Management

 

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5 practical ways to show your employees that you care


Recently, one of my friend arranged her 360-degree feedback. And to her surprise, some of the negative feedback that she got from her employees was that she doesn’t seem to care for her employees that much. Thus, she turned to me for some advice. And hence, through this blog post I am going to share some practical advice on how to show your employees that you care.

  1. Write a thank-you note to your hard working employee by saying how much you appreciate the time that they have put in the project. Trust me, in the world of electronic communication, sometimes a personalized sticky note on their desk can make a difference.
  2. Put together a slideshow of your staff’s accomplishments or your client’s feedback, and then keep it on display in a shared conf. room or during your team meeting. If you don’t have those high tech displays, then you can just print these slides on one page in a collage format, and distribute it over your regular team meetings.
  3. Depending on your schedule, make sure to check in on your employees everyday. If your schedule gets overbooked often, please reserve half an hour in your calendar beforehand, so that no one can double book that time. And you get at least 5 min to talk to each of your employees. Try to be personal with your employees during this time by asking about their day, their weekend, or any other issues. Once they know that you care, they will definitely respond the favor.
  4. Track the dollar value of your employee’s service and present them with a “mock” check at your annual recognition event. It might be a good idea to host the annual recognition event somewhere outside, where you can invite your employee’s friends/family, and recognize their achievements in front of them. This approach will not only display your employees that you care, but it can also help you to attract best talents. After all, great minds know other great minds.
  5. Recognize your hard working employees (who put in lot of overtime) with unexpected perks such as treats in the break room, extra paid time off, or a visit and a handshake from your VP or CEO. Though these kind of small appreciation techniques sound silly, they make a big difference. Just try to look at the expression on your employee’s face, when they meet the VP or CEO of your company. 

Do you have any other ideas through which you can show your employees that you care? Please do share your ideas through your comments. I would love to hear them.

Thanks – Bhavin Gandhi

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2013 in 21st Century, Leadership, Management

 

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How to communicate tough strategic decisions to your stakeholders?


Have you ever been in a situation where you needed to layoff someone? Or imagine yourself in a situation like Yahoo!, when their CEO resigned and no one knew where the company was going. How would you have handled that situation as a leader? No matter how hard you try to keep your employees safe from the corporate decisions at the top, sometimes those decisions will affect your employees regardless of your efforts. So, how will you handle those situations? In this blog, I will provide you with few pointers through which you can communicate these tough decisions to your employees very easily.

Announcement meeting: After a decision has been made, the communication to the outside world and the larger community of workers has to be handled with firmness, transparency and candor. Let’s say, your CEO resigned, and you only communicated the news through an e-mail. Chances are……….your employees will have lot of questions about the company’s future, and there is no interactive way to address those concerns. Thus, I would recommend you to have a conference call (or a meeting) with your line managers, before various rumors start churning. And yeah! While doing this, provide them the opportunity to ask their questions. Answers to their questions will make your strategy clear in their minds, and hence, they would be able to communicate that to their employees very easily. Encourage all of your line managers to have a quick sync-up meeting with their employees to communicate this decision with their employees. If possible, have a company-wide hands-on meeting 2-3 days afterwards.

Communicate with media: Imagine, if your company had a big layoff, and you heard about this news from the media. How will you feel in that situation? In the similar manner, your employees will feel cheated, if they heard this kind of a news from the media, instead from their supervisor. And hence, it is very important to communicate these decisions within your organization, before you go public. News conferences and news releases should be given only after talking with the staff . The staff should not read about it first in the media. You need to also make sure that the media doesn’t hear about this news from the grapevine. Thus, you should keep a very small time difference between notifying this news to your employees and the media.

Notify other stakeholders: If you are laying off few people, then you might want to talk with relevant governmental agencies to notify them about the decision. If your company buys any kind of an unemployment insurance, then you definitely want to make calls to those insurance providers for notifying them about the situation. If your decision is affecting any of your commitments to your customers, you might want to talk to them immediately. Obviously, you need to notify your customers, suppliers and the community leaders through an e-mail and/or a conference call. And yeah! Don’t forget to define your future plans in your communication. I have seen many notification e-mails with the description of the problem without any clear path for the future. So, do yourself a favor, and define your future path before you go ahead with any of these communications.

I hope, these tips will help you to communicate any tough strategic decisions to your stakeholders. If you have any other ideas through which we can communicate these kind of news through transparency and sensitivity, then please feel to share it with me here.

Thanks. – Bhavin Gandhi.

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2012 in 21st Century, Leadership, Management

 

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Why should you listen to your employees while taking tough decisions?


It is never easy to deliver the bad news to your employees, but bad things can happen to any companies. Sometimes, few external factors like economy or exchange rate can affect your company’s bottom line. And at that time, company’s very survival might be at stake. And hence, you might be put in to the situation, where you have to take those tough decisions as a company’s executive. The primary challenge during these situations is – Communication. If handled incorrectly, you might risk of losing your employee’s trust and tumbling their morale. In this blog, I would like to share one of the success story, where listening to employee’s input while taking these tough decisions have helped the company.

While taking tough decisions such as layoffs, restructuring, outsourcing, etc.; you should involve your stakeholders in the planning and implementation stages. You might not be able to involve all of your employees while taking these tough decisions, but you should at least engage your senior management and department heads in the consultation process. Depending on the situation, you might want to keep employees/employee representatives apprised of the situation to avoid any surprises. On various occasions, this strategy might prove to be helpful.

Take this company for an example (company X), where I recently consulted them for downsizing. Company X had really bad financials. It was clear that they had to cut down two of their product lines, which were not performing at all. And hence, they had to layoff few of their employees due to tumbling financial situation of the company. So, instead of announcing few layoffs, the CEO announced voluntary retirement program and some pay cuts. Surprisingly, I was able to collaborate with majority of their employees and get them to agree upon a pay cut and retraining program. As a result, we didn’t need to layoff anyone. Though this was a success story, it might not work for everyone. But one thing is clear. If you are willing to share information with your employees, they will not only value your decision but they might also come up with a plan to handle the situation better.

I hope, this example can inspire you to consider your employee’s input while taking these critical decisions. Have you ever encountered similar situation like this? Are you aware of any workplace/organization that considers their employee’s input before taking tough decisions?

Thanks. – Bhavin Gandhi.

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2012 in 21st Century, Leadership, Management

 

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