Empathy is an important element in growing and nurturing strong connections, in both our personal and professional lives. When someone takes the time to understand another person’s perspectives or emotions, it can cause a deeper relationship to bloom between the two. In a job setting, empathy can foster productive conversations and help resolve conflicts. A workplace that encourages empathy helps employees feel valued and appreciated, which can contribute to stronger engagement, loyalty, and productivity. It begins with understanding what empathy is.

Sympathy vs. Empathy

Sympathy and empathy can both be important factors in helping promote that human connection in your organization, but they are not the same thing. Sympathy involves feeling concern for someone, such as “feeling bad” about another person’s misfortune or pain, but without really knowing what it is like to be in their specific situation. Your emotions about the matter come from your own perspective. Empathy takes it a step further; empathy accentuates the giver’s compassion by trying to understand what a person is going through based on that person’s unique experiences or views.

For example, sympathy means you feel sorry for your colleague Tom whose family member is dealing with a difficult illness. A sympathetic response can look like expressing your support to Tom, sending him a card, or making a donation to a charity that funds research for the illness — all of which are great things to do. Empathy, however, helps you dive deeper into what Tom is feeling and why. You may see how Tom’s close relationship with his family member makes the illness hard on him, that Tom feels stressed over large medical bills and the ability to pay them, and other issues unique to Tom’s situation. Empathy gives you a more well-rounded idea of what another person is going through.

And empathy is not only for problems or difficulties; it also helps drive understanding when teams are discussing ideas, developing plans, and trying to come to an agreement about how to move forward with projects and strategies. When people feel that their ideas and views are given true consideration and that their managers and co-workers are interested in understanding the reasons behind those views, then collaboration and compromise often come much easier.

Ideas for growing an empathetic workplace

1. Start from the top down.

Empathetic leadership can have a trickle-down effect that impacts everyone in the organization. When employees know that management genuinely prioritizes understanding and relating to personnel, it inspires them to do the same for their colleagues. In addition to discussing the importance of an empathetic workplace to your staff, show empathy in tangible ways by asking questions, considering different points of view, and offering to help with problems or conflicts.

Institute an open-door policy for your team, and make sure they know you are available and willing to discuss any issues they may be dealing with, without judgment. Emphasize this idea by having regular meetings, in person or virtual, with your staff, and encourage open, respectful dialogue.

Knowing the communication styles of your employees is helpful when conducting these meetings. You can use a personality or behavioral assessment to show you who on your staff is expressive, outgoing, and prefers to talk through their ideas or problems and who are more reserved and need time to flesh out their thoughts internally before conveying them to others. Some people, especially in the reserved group, may prefer putting their ideas in writing more than verbalizing them in front of the group. Recognizing these differences and allowing employees to voice their perspectives or ideas in their own style can help facilitate richer discussions and stronger understanding within the team.

Employees might not be comfortable bringing certain topics up to management or in a public meeting, which is why having an empathetic peer group on the job is crucial. Leadership should encourage colleagues to set aside time to talk and share with each other in a low-stress way.

2. Listen, listen, and listen some more.

Empathy involves a genuine desire to understand someone else, and you cannot accomplish that if you do most of the talking yourself. Whether you are a manager interacting with your staff or working peer to peer, listen attentively to what the person is saying rather than thinking of how you should respond.

Pay attention to their non-verbal cues, like tone, facial expressions, and gestures, which can be easily missed if you are not focused on the other person. Additionally, make sure your own body language conveys that you are fully present and not distracted. Only after taking in all of what the other person has said should you consider how to respond.

3. When it’s time to speak, consider your response carefully.

Start out by repeating what the other person has said but in your own words to be sure you are not misunderstanding anything. Try starting with the phrase, “What I’m hearing you say is…” and rephrase the main points of the conversation. This gives the other person a chance to correct or clarify what they are trying to convey.

It can be tempting to say, “I know exactly how you feel. I had the same experience when…” but resist this impulse. You may intend to use this to build a connection, showing how you understand what the person is going through, but doing so can make it feel like you are making the conversation about yourself. When trying to show an empathetic response, recognize that the person’s experience is unique to them; you are trying to understand them and their perspectives, not merely trying to draw parallels to your own life.

Remember, empathy isn’t about fixing someone’s problems; it’s about building a connection through understanding. It’s fine to offer your thoughts or ideas if the person asks for them, but sometimes being there to listen without judgment can provide exactly what the person needs while growing a sense of trust and appreciation.

Omnia has helped organizations recognize and understand their employees’ unique attributes, strengths, and motivators for nearly 40 years. Our dedicated Client Success Managers act as trusted advisors for our clients, helping them learn how to take this valuable knowledge and use it to enhance their workforce. Let us partner with you to put the power of insight to work in your business.

Business is constantly evolving. Sometimes that evolution is gradual and at other times it is faster than we can wrap our heads around. The pandemic catapulted many businesses into a new era; it created new challenges and new opportunities. Some companies took the opportunity to reduce rent overhead and embrace a new hybrid or even fully remote workforce.

This “relocation” of people meant we lost the face-to-face, water cooler connection with both peers and leaders. As a result, we desperately needed to rethink how to recognize and reward employees. The last thing you want are shrugs and eye rolls when you hand over (or ship) that crystal paperweight.

Having to master the art of employee recognition, motivation, engagement, and ultimately retention is nothing new. We know that relating to your employees goes a long way in maintaining harmony and increasing productivity. Once you understand people, you can more successfully motivate them and improve the overall climate of their work environment, even at home. Being able to tap into the intrinsic motivators of your staff can be your greatest secret weapon as a manager.

In order to hire and keep the best, organizations offer different things to entice and continually engage their people. Benefits are often government-mandated; they are considered non-wage compensation, like health insurance and PTO. Incentives are used to entice action and results out of employees, like bonuses and sales contests. Rewards are used to show appreciation to an employee for doing great work, accomplishing a major goal or going out of their way to benefit the organization. In this blog, we’re talking about incentives and rewards.

Not too long ago, awards were standardized versus personal. An employee might get a coffee mug with the company’s logo from the swag closet whether or not they even drink coffee. Or, the dreaded paperweight… because papers blowing away in the wind is a big problem? We all want to be treated as individuals and to feel some form of personalization especially when we do something extraordinary. That’s not to say employees don’t like company swag, just that the key is to keep recognition strategies fresh and varied. Keep it surprising.

Let’s talk about some more contemporary ways to show appreciation to those who go above and beyond. First, think about the person and their role. For example, your support staff and customer service reps are naturally helpful and team-oriented. They can be outgoing or reserved, but their one commonality is likely their strong desire to be seen by upper management as effective, efficient contributors to their company's goals. Your sales staff are naturally assertive and focused on individual achievement. They can also be outgoing or reserved, but they all want to set themselves apart and work towards a win.

Of course, there are some motivators that appeal to everyone. Who doesn't want extra paid time off? You might consider offering a long weekend or an abbreviated workday to a top performer. However, an incentive like this might soon be seen as an entitlement. A half day off on Friday when they are going above and beyond could change to something that employees come to expect. Look for other ways to motivate that are more individualized and still much appreciated.

Consider motivators from any or all of these sources:

Rewards.  Different people respond to different rewards. Most often, a person's dominant traits steer them toward one incentive or another. For example, independently-minded workers like leeway to make their own decisions or come and go as they please. They see freedom as a desirable reward for a stellar performance.

Risk takers may like the opportunity to earn commissions or bonuses tied to beating out others; they're competitive, assertive, and win-driven. They're often your future leaders. They might seem aggressive to less assertive peers, but they have a sense of determination, drive, and purpose that is impossible to ignore.

Conversely, your passive personalities may find performance-based pay more intimidating than motivating.

Gamify.  If your staff is composed mainly of extroverted, bubbly individuals, they'll probably respond well to team games and fun social activities. These people want to enjoy their work! Gamify your service activities; team members can earn badges for achieving various service levels. Along with bragging rights, they can earn both individual and team awards for achieving new badges. Such as:

Organized games or events backed by the company can appeal to gregarious individuals. They enjoy working in exciting, upbeat environments and will appreciate a manager who finds ways to instill a sense of team in a social, light-hearted way. If your team is fully remote, consider Zoom happy hours or an afternoon “coffee break” where the team is encouraged to talk about anything except work.

Acknowledgment and appreciation.  Everyone wants to be acknowledged and appreciated for their achievements, but only those who like being the center of attention will have any desire to be recognized in a public forum. Introverted employees might feel uncomfortable in large group settings, especially if they are—or might possibly be—the focus of attention. You'll notice these people sitting quietly at meetings, trying to avoid making eye contact with anyone who might call them out. Because they shun the limelight, these individuals need more subdued forms of acknowledgment to stay motivated.

These include:

Challenge.  Some individuals are self-motivated and simply like to challenge themselves. These are people who enjoy learning new skills, looking for new opportunities, and climbing the next mountain. They are goal-oriented, like to stretch their limits, and explore previously untapped potential. It can be more difficult to motivate them, but here are a couple of suggestions:

When trying to determine the best ways to recognize your employees, it helps to know their personalities, interests and current life events so you can use that information to personalize recognition rewards.

Here are 8 modern ways to say thank you for a job well done while factoring in the individual:

  1. Culture passes (tickets to the theater, a museum, a historical tour, or some other cultural event)
  2. A diaper and wipes subscription for a new parent
  3. Fitness classes for exercise buffs or someone who has expressed a desire to get fit
  4. Cooking classes for budding chefs
  5. In-office massages or a gift card for a massage
  6. A mental reset pass; maybe it’s for a day, a half day, or even just a couple of hours. Employees can turn in their pass when they just need to step away and reset.
  7. Grocery delivery
  8. For when inspiration doesn’t strike, there’s always a prize catalog; employees can choose what they want.

There's more to it, of course. One of your goals as a manager is assembling a team that scores wins and brings about the desired results. Remember, though, that while there are distinct ways to increase a person's motivation, someone who is totally wrong for a job or totally wrong for an environment may  never  be happy enough to produce at the level you want. The desire to perform well starts from within.

I’ve always had a strong work ethic. I blame (and thank) my mom for that. On my 15th birthday, she dropped me off at Kroger (a grocery store chain, in case you don’t have them in your neck of the woods) and told me not to call home until I had a job. She had a job through high school, her parents had jobs through high school, and I was going to join the generations-old tradition of having a job through high school. And I took immense pride in my work. I still do.

The problem was I was already starting a burnout process that would take 12 years for the bubble to burst. Through high school, I worked as much as I could. The summer before my senior year I had worked my way up to an Assistant Manager position at a Hollywood Video, often closing the store at 1 am on school nights. The building still sits empty a mere 2-minute walk from my house, glaring at me. In my 20s, I worked for a business process outlining firm and traveled the world. I would spend 36 hours flying to the Philippines to spend 12 hours working, crashing at the hotel for a few hours and moving on to the next site.

At 27 years old, I was living in Manhattan and taking pride in overworking. It had become glamorous. I posted social media selfies at 9 pm as the only one at the office. What I didn’t know was I was sacrificing my own health and wellbeing for a company that wasn’t paying me any extra money for the often 20 hours I worked over my salaried time.

I had a breakdown. I was exhausted. I was mentally, emotionally, and physically depleted. Finally, I’d had enough. I left my office job, left “the daily grind,” and started a new life finding peace in work/life balance.

Here’s my advice to business owners, managers, and those in the trenches experiencing burnout.

What Is Work/Life Balance?

At first glance, work/life balance may seem like equalizing a seesaw, with work on one side and attending to personal needs on the other. In this view, one may mistake work/life balance as the attempt to maintain stability on the “seesaw.” To do so, many people attempt to find productivity hacks, software that promises a more hassle-free way of doing repetitive tasks, or even a job with a flexible schedule.

However, time management isn’t the solution, nor is the lack of time the reason why one fails to have work/life balance. Instead, a well-balanced work and personal life revolves around having healthy attitudes surrounding your job and personal life, including:

Given these attitudes, a work/life balance is basically feeling content in every decision that is made. It does not begin with someone managing their time to accommodate the task in front of them. Instead, it should start with how someone is going to approach such tasks.

Importance of Work/Life Balance

When employees feel that they’re not in control of their time, burnout and various illnesses are inevitable. I felt this a lot. My hours were not my own. I was on someone else’s clock, even when I shouldn’t have been. One study shows that when employees no longer have time for themselves it will ultimately lead to absenteeism and stress, which can affect how they’ll function at work. Another study reveals that companies failing to help provide work/life balance will have more dissatisfied employees.

Decreased Likelihood of Burnout

All people experience stress in their lives. However, just because it’s a common occurrence doesn’t mean that burnout or stress coming from the workplace shouldn’t be addressed. Burnout on the job is usually experienced when employees feel overwhelmed by their work responsibilities; it may be too much for them to handle.

With that said, since workplace stress is unavoidable, it’s in every business owners’ interest to exert any effort to make sure that their employees don’t feel unnecessary burnout due to their work. One solution you can take is to encourage team members to take some time off work or even incorporate a paid-leave program for your company. By doing so, you’re giving employees a chance to live their lives as they see fit without worrying about any penalties.

Enhanced Employee Productivity

Giving employees the freedom to choose their work hours does more than enabling them to accommodate both job and personal responsibilities. Offering a flexible work schedule also allows staff members to work during their most productive hours.

Some people love working during the day, while others work best burning the midnight oil. Also, since children may be a distraction for many, some may find that they’re most productive if their children are in school. Essentially, work/life balance enhances productivity. Employee productivity translates to more profits for your business.

Increased Company Profitability

In addition to increasing productivity, promoting a healthy work/life balance will bring benefits when it comes to company profitability. For one, a balanced work and personal life boosts physical and mental health, which means fewer sick days. Secondly, attaining work/life balance implies having control of one’s finances, eliminating the need to take on more tasks than an employee can handle.

Lastly, when staff members are not drowning in their assignments, they will be more receptive to constructive feedback and additional training to foster personal growth. As a result, you’ll have staff members with varying skill sets and valuable industry experience, eliminating the costly need to hire more employees.

How To Assess Work/Life Balance

Step 1: Mental and Emotional Checks

First things first, always encourage your employees to take care of their mental and emotional health. An employee who is overly stressed out will likely experience fatigue and sickness –– the brain’s muscles will go into “overdrive,” resulting in body aches and lethargy.

Let your employees know that if they are experiencing any of these signs, then they may already be struggling emotionally and mentally:

Benefits of Prioritizing Employees’ Mental and Emotional Health

Once one or more of your employees have experienced any of the signs above, and it’s clearly work related, it’s part of your job to intervene. Not only is taking care of your employees’ mental health crucial, but doing so will allow your company to enjoy the following benefits:

Step 2: Encourage Employees to Receive Feedback

One of the ways for an organization to have long-term success is by giving and receiving feedback. However, for your employees to have work/life balance, it’s not enough to give them a performance review, although this is an essential part. Encouraging feedback in all areas of life will be beneficial for them, which is why this mindset should be promoted in the workplace.

A close friend, family member, or trusted colleague has a front row seat concerning any changes in an employee’s demeanor. By asking them about any negative changes, an employee can reevaluate how their work has hindered them from attaining happiness. This way, employees can think of ways to avoid becoming consumed with their work, such as taking a lunch break or catching up with a friend or colleague.

Step 3: Workload

An overstuffed workload can be detrimental to an employee’s health, regardless of how fast or efficiently they submittheir work. Hence, make sure to assess every employee’s workload.

Business managers who regularly communicate with their teams will be aware of who’s stressed out or unnecessarily busy and who has the capacity to efficiently work on a task. By catching up with employees, managers can determine if an employee is:

Comfortable With Their Tasks

A team member who is uncomfortable with their job means they can’t handle it in the first place. To avoid giving assignments to the wrong employee, be open to any possible concerns employees may have with their tasks. It’s best to always remind employees that they can speak up about any difficulties or problems they’re currently working on.

Feeling Overwhelmed

An employee who is considered the “go-to person” in the office is usually the one who’s juggling different tasks and assignments, especially if they’re already expected to back up or correct the output of less productive co-workers.

The solution, then, is to review how your company assigns tasks. This means that you must make sure that the daily assignments every employee receives are achievable. You can even add some padding hours to make room for contingencies.

Moreover, employers should encourage employees to avoid taking on extra work if they’re already feeling stressed and overwhelmed. This is especially true if adding to their workload will intrude on their ability to handle non-negotiable personal responsibilities, like spending time with their children.

Step 4: Personal Life

Of course, having work/life balance isn’t possible if employees spend the majority of their time working. So, make sure that you always encourage employees to take some time to devote to their hobbies, take vacations, and have good quality sleep.

Furthermore, giving employees time for themselves is beneficial for a company, too. In fact, one piece of research shows that employees who are still in touch with their hobbies are more satisfied with their jobs and have a lower chance of burning out.

Step 5: Have A Workplace That Employees Love

Not everyone you hire will excel in the job they’re in. If you have an employee who is really struggling with their role, it’s time to have a difficult conversation with the employee concerning what comes next –– whether you terminate them or assign them a different role.

Ensure Employees Love the Job They Do

The whole hiring and recruitment process can be expensive. In fact, it’s estimated that the whole process can cost around $240,000. To make sure your company only hires the right people –– those who are fit for and passionate about the roles they’re about to take –– have a reliable pre-employment assessment. Doing so will increase your company’s chance of finding the right employees and even increase employee retention.

Promote A Flexible Work Environment

The main purpose of a flexible work environment is to remove stressors, boost job satisfaction, and even urge employees to incorporate healthy habits into their lives, like exercising and eating the right types of food.

Here are some aspects of a flexible work environment you can apply:

Provide a Non-draining Work Environment

Just because an employee loves their job doesn’t mean they’ll no longer feel drained by their work. Hence, in addition to giving team members a flexible work environment, also ensure that you’re giving them a non-draining atmosphere.

A non-draining work environment is crucial to the point that 94% of executives and 88% of employees agree that it’s an essential part of a successful company. A positive corporate culture can:

I’m very fortunate. I got out of the grind and found a company I love that promotes work/life balance and associate well-being. If you’re looking to improve employee retention, use The Omnia Assessment to find out what motivates people in order to create more effective teams and build stronger relationships. The Omnia Assessment is the best tool in any company’s playbook.

One of the many cool things about personality assessments is that they are a springboard for any human resource initiative, problem, or interaction. Filling an open position? Assess your top performers to build a job benchmark. Having conflict on a team? Use the Omnia assessment to understand the communication style of the parties involved. Getting ready to facilitate a training class? Start with the assessment to determine the learning preferences of the participants. Ready to promote employee well-being? Our assessment can even help with that.


Certain kinds of stress can be good, like the stress that accompanies reaching for goals or going through positive life changes, even the stress we feel exercising. But when we think of stress normally, especially at work, it’s not in a good way. Bad stress can be quite insidious and unhealthy.

Picture this:

A manager, we’ll call her Joan, sends an email first thing Monday morning to her employee; we’ll call her Maeve. Joan writes, “I’d like to see you in my office at 2 pm” and immediately sends out a calendar invite. Location: Joan’s office. Joan just wants to check in, see how Maeve is doing, and thank her for always doing such a great job. Joan respects Maeve, enjoys working with her, and feels confident Maeve’s assignments will get done right without any intervention from her… she wishes more employees were just like her. She also wants to ask for Maeve’s opinion on a project that the product team will be working on. She knows Maeve is an expert with terrific insights. Joan just has to draw those insights out sometimes.

Sounds great, right?

Not so much. At least not for Maeve.

That email created a high-anxiety, stressful, worry-filled day.


Well, not if you understand Maeve’s personality type. Maeve is a supporter. She’s naturally cautious, reserved, and analytical. It’s what makes her so great at her client service job. She falls into the Administrator personality group (one of Omnia’s 17 personality groups). She is naturally accommodating and always wants to be counted on to get things right. She has natural attention to detail and works hard to avoid criticism. She is conscious of people’s feelings; she never wants to be perceived as pushy or demanding though she demands excellence from herself. Individuals in this personality group can dwell on mistakes, analyze conversations a bit unproductively, and operate within a fairly constant state of tension…and that’s on a regular, stress-free day!

As a result, Maeve worried about the conversation with Joan. Did she do something wrong? Did she make a mistake in her documentation? Did she say the wrong thing to a customer or to Joan? Maybe she forgot to log off her computer and run the required updates? Was Joan upset that she needed to leave a little early last Tuesday? Was the company downsizing? Was she going to get fired? She’s seen people get terminated in that office -- why does it have to be in Joan’s office?! And as she spiraled just a little bit more and more between Joan’s email and the meeting at 2 pm, the stress in her was, of course, building.

That kind of stress is, simply put, bad for our health and our emotional well-being. The last thing you want is for your employees to get heart palpitations from a meeting request or feel any unnecessary stress at work. We all have plenty of stress as it is without, however unintentionally, creating more.

So, what could Joan have done?

It was all so simple really. Reading Maeve’s Omnia report, Joan would have had the answers. Most analytical supporters, like Maeve, need information and time to process their thoughts. The meeting request simply needed details or at the very least a reassuring word that the meeting was going to be a positive one.

Here is an example of various ways to avoid the stress-spiral day.

Email 2 (we know how email 1 turned out): Good morning, Maeve. I’d like to meet with you at 2 pm. All good stuff, need to talk about a project. Invite to follow.

Maeve has an okay day, though she worries that she should have something prepared for the meeting. What project? Her hands are so full right now, what if she can’t do the project. At least she’s not getting fired.

Email 3: Good morning, Maeve. I’d like to meet with you at 2 pm. All good stuff, you’re doing a great job. Would also like to talk about a project that the product team is working on. Invite to follow.

Maeve feels good, but insecure because she hates being put on the spot. She wishes she knew more about the product project so she can think it over and come to the meeting prepared. Being put on the spot is the worst!

Email 4: Good morning, Maeve. You’re doing such a great job! I’d like to meet with you at 2 pm and just touch base on how things are going for you. We haven’t connected one on one in a while. Is there anything you need? Also, the product team is working on a new usage-trend report for clients and is looking for some advice on what should be included. Since you talk to our clients every day, I’d really like to hear your thoughts.

Eureka! Maeve is excited. How nice to hear that Joan thinks she is doing a great job and just wants to see how she’s doing. That’s so thoughtful. And, YES, she does have ideas about usage trend reports. A client was just asking about something like that the other day. She’s glad she has most of the day to get her speaking points together. Joan is the best manager ever!

Joan, feeling confident now, sends a similarly detailed message to Jared, a top sales rep and a member of Omnia’s Visionary personality group. He’s assertive, talkative, fast-paced, and big-picture-focused. Jared doesn’t read the whole email, wishes Joan would just send a calendar invite and save the info for the meeting. Jared is briefly annoyed he had to open an email in the first place. “It’s such a waste of my time, I need to be selling!”

Joan decides to take a nice, long vacation.

Want to know the communication preferences of your team? Omnia can help. Our quick, accurate personality assessment is ideal for selection, retention, engagement, and yes, even employee well-being. Stop the stress spirals today!

Turn on the evening news, read the latest AP wire, or open your Apple News notification and you’re likely to come across someone talking about The Great Resignation. Most likely, as a leader, you’ve had it happen to you and are desperately trying to fill empty seats while struggling to serve your clients with a reduced staff. Finding talent is a challenge; keeping them doesn’t have to be. Here are some tips to be sure that, once you fill those seats, you bring out the best in your employees and prevent them from walking out the door.

  1. Get to know your people. Make the time to get to know your individual employees. Take a sincere interest in getting to know them personally – their interests, hobbies, and about their loved ones. This goes a long way in showing you care and that you’re invested in them as a person. Then help your team get to know each other. When you’re hiring, a great way to do this is to benchmark your team to better understand the unique profiles of your existing staff. You’ll be able to see which candidates will blend nicely and align your team culture. When you introduce new players to the team, take time for everyone to get to know each other by sharing their profiles. It helps speed up the onboarding process and boosts team productivity. Imagine how much faster a team can become productive by knowing how their peers prefer to communicate, solve problems, and make decisions.
  2. Create an environment of open communication. Regular communication is an essential part of management. This is not just about you communicating with them; you’ve got to get your employees to communicate with you. Ask people about their day and workload, and solicit their opinions and ideas for streamlining operations. Frequently ask what’s getting in the way and involve them in the solution. Commit time each week to having regular team meetings where colleagues share with one another, and you listen.  Schedule regular 1x1’s that are a two-way dialogue where each employee shares updates on their progress toward goals and their developmental needs.
  3. Show Respect. Treat others the way you would like to be treated. If you want your team to be professional, don’t treat them like children or talk down to them. Respect their efforts and be tactful and diplomatic when pointing out areas that need improvement. Give your people latitude to make decisions. Empowerment, the business buzzword of the 90’s, is an idea that should never lose its flavor. Your people want to know you believe in them and have confidence in their ability to succeed.
  4. Foster a spirit of continuous learning.  Every member of your team has unique qualities and skills that can help make the team more productive and efficient. The best leaders find ways to foster continual learning and involve their employees in sharing their expertise. The business world is filled with so much pressure, and if you’ve hired a team of A Players, they all came with their own self-induced performance pressure pushing them to achieve. That’s great, but it can also create an environment where people don’t feel safe showing vulnerability or asking for help. Create a culture where trial and error are not only OK but appreciated, and create space where your employees can share their insights and help each other grow.
  5. Provide ongoing recognition. Being recognized and appreciated is a fundamental human need. You don’t have to implement a costly employee recognition program to have an impact. It does help to know the individual (back to getting to know your people) and to understand that people like to be recognized in different ways. A behavioral assessment is an ideal way to uncover these unique preferences. Provide ongoing recognition for achievements, reaching key milestones, helping others on the team, and personal life events and work anniversaries. A personal handwritten note or a shout out at a company meeting (depending on the preference of the individual) goes a long way.  And we all are likely to appreciate that occasional free lunch, Starbucks card, or UberEATS gift certificate. No matter what form the recognition takes, everyone enjoys having their efforts and achievements celebrated.

In the years ahead, there will be plenty of analysis and reporting on these times and what caused The Great Resignation. For now, studies are already pointing to how people gained clearer insight during the pandemic of what type of work environment they prefer and switched jobs if their current position didn’t support their well-being. Studies also show that fewer people are willing to work for a company that does not align with their values. Getting to know your people and investing in a supportive culture where unique qualities are valued goes a long way in helping retain and get the most out of your team. Begin by showing every member of your team that you care.

It’s that big gift. Remember the one, when you were a kid? The one thing that you weren’t expecting, but it made your eyes light up. And you kept playing with it long after the holidays. Maybe for years. It’s the one that pops into your mind when someone asks, “What is the best gift you’ve ever received?” It was special because it lasted and made a difference, and it showed you that the giver really knew you.

That’s what employee engagement is. Going into each day with interest and curiosity, feeling seen and understood by management, feeling important, knowing you can make a difference, having room to grow in your career… all this wrapped in a package called Employee Engagement is an eyes-light-up kind of gift.

But this isn’t just a gift for the recipient – it’s one for the giver, too. According to Natalie Wickham at Quantum Work, leaders who invest their time, effort and resources into employee engagement receive the following benefits in return:

And much more. Talk about a gift that keeps on giving!

Act now! Even though there is no one place to click or operators standing by, employee engagement is not too difficult to obtain. Here are 7 important parts of employee engagement.

1. Respect: Having a culture of employee/employer respect is crucial. This is the most basic aspect of engagement. On its own, it’s probably not enough, but without it, nothing else will work. To foster a culture of respect: Treat people fairly/equitably, offer corrective performance advice in private and diplomatically, discourage gossip, follow through on commitments, hire sufficiently to keep workloads manageable, listen to and address concerns, and be prepared to apologize.

2. Appreciation: Let employees know their work is valued. When someone goes above and beyond, acknowledge it. Say thank you out loud and in public if the employee is the outgoing type who likes being in the spotlight. Email a thank you to the ones who would rather not. But go ahead and cc the team because, even if the employee is reserved, it feels good to be acknowledged.

3. Getting to know people: While we’re on that subject, knowing what type of recognition a person prefers is a great way to keep them engaged. Engagement, like most aspects of leadership, is not a one-size-fits-all matter. Learn about each person’s personality. How do they prefer to communicate? When do they seem to do their work best? What seems to stress them out? A leader’s job is to remove obstacles from a performer’s path. You do that by getting to know what makes them tick. If you’re not sure or you want to dig deeper, consider a personality profile, like the Omnia Assessment.

4. Openness: This goes along with respect. As a leader, you may not always be able to tell your staff everything, but be as open as you can about what’s going on in the company, projected problems and possible changes that will impact everyday life for the employee. Secrecy shuts people down, but feeling like management is being open and authentic makes employees feel involved and engaged.

5. Opportunities: Make sure there are opportunities for growth. Few people are comfortable doing the same thing over and over forever. Some are – hold on to them, and check in with them regularly to make sure they still have everything they need. For the others, talk to them about the future – their future with the company. Make sure they know you want them there in the future. Keep in mind that not all opportunities have to be advancement to management. Consider cross-training, introducing new technologies, offering courses in employees’ areas of interest. What they learn can benefit the company as well as them.

6. Flexibility: If these last two years have taught us anything, it has been the need for flexibility. Most companies learned that they could move ahead and even thrive by being flexible. Don’t forget that lesson when it comes to making adjustments that benefit your employees. If someone is more effective at different times, if family concerns make certain schedules impossible for star performers, if a different approach to the job produces the same results, make a change. It’s not always possible, but we’ve learned that a lot more is possible than we ever thought before. If you feel like saying “no” to an ask, explore why. “Because it’s always been done this way” is not a good enough reason to disengage or lose an excellent employee.

7. Innovation: One step beyond flexibility is innovation. Explore with employees the different ways of approaching goals, processes and operations. An engaged employee is not a cog in a lifeless machine. This is a person you selected because of experience, intelligence, personality or an undefinable special something. You’ve trained them, and they are succeeding. Now, let them train you. No matter how much you think you know about a job, someone who does it every day knows more. This is what you want! Listen to them, act on ideas, and reward successes.

I know, there is no “add to cart” button or free express shipping on employee engagement! It’s a little more complicated, but it is a gift that is worth giving. It’s so good, you might want some for yourself!

Live Chat
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram