Regular conversations with your people

Do you remember what it’s like to land a new job? The interview process, the hope, the anticipation? You turn up on ‘Day One’, bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready. Ready to make a difference, ready to learn, ready to make connections, and ready to be part of a new work family.

The interview process is your first exposure to your new organisation. Hopefully you’ll have a realistic expectation of the workplace, the culture, the challenges, and what it is like to be a member of the team.

Revolving Doors, our latest insights paper looking at expectations at the beginning and the end of workers’ employment journey, show that employees’ initial expectations are significantly out of alignment with their reality, indicating a lack of trust and connection with the organisation and its leaders, that ultimately leads to resignation. While concerning, the findings are addressable. There is a lot that leaders can do to make a difference, and it all starts with communication and clarity.

Our top tip for leaders: have regular conversations with your people, about their expectations and yours. Leaders are skilled, but rarely are they mind readers, so be sure to check in often with your team about how they’re doing, and what their expectations are. Take the time to listen, acknowledge what’s being said and the sentiment behind the words. Where you can, look for opportunities for improvement. If you need time to think, buy time, but commit to a timeframe for response, and stick to it. And when the time comes, if the answer is a no, be prepared to explain why.

Employees’ initial expectations are significantly out of alignment with their reality, indicating a lack of trust and connection with the organisation and its leaders, that ultimately leads to resignation.

Your team member trusts you to give them the feedback they need to be successful, so don’t let them think everything is going great when it’s not. Revolving Doors showed that support had dropped by 15% on exit, which means that managers are short-changing their direct reports, denying them vital support, and in the process eroding culture. Consider all feedback as a gift; either a “well done, keep going”, or a “I’ve got your back, but we need to do things differently next time to get a better result”. Delivered with finesse, your candour will be appreciated and your team member will have opportunity to do better next time.

Don’t let the gap between reality and expectations get too big, if you want your team to feel empowered and engaged. Talk about how the organisation is performing, how it is changing, and where it is going. And most importantly how the individuals in your team, and the team as a whole, contribute to the overall plan.

Make communication and feedback an integral part of your team’s culture and keep the conversation going.

If you’d like to read our Revolving Doors insights paper in full, you can download a copy here.

Date: 20th December 2023
Category: Leadership
Author:
Chris O’Reilly
Chris O’Reilly
Chris co-founded AskYourTeam as a way to make it easier for leaders to ask their teams the most important (and the least-asked) question in business: “How can I help you do your job better?”
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