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The Time Trap: Where Do You Spend Yours?

So, where do you spend your time?  I ask managers and supervisors this question a lot when discussing employees.  Do you spend your time with your high performers or your problem employees? The answer I typically get from managers is that they spent more time with their problem employees to correct mistakes and errors, as well as address behavioral issues.  

However, which would be more valuable to your business, spending time with your high performers or your problem employees?  I’ll get you a hint — it’s not the same answer…….

When I ask managers if they have one-on-one meetings with their employees, most shake their heads and say either “Nope, I have an open door policy so they can catch me anytime they want” or “Nope, they will come to me when they have an issue or question”.  Well, if that’s your mindset, your time is driven by issues, which will lead to spending your time with your problem employees.

Engage and Retain Your High Performers

As a business owner, you know the current state of the labor market.  It’s tight. It’s hard to find applicants, especially good ones. So the last thing you want to do is lose one of your high performing employees.  And remember, employees don’t leave jobs, they leave managers. You need to connect with employees, build trust and show them that you care.

Schedule Time with Them

The best way to ensure you are engaging and retaining your high performing employees is to make sure you are scheduling time with them.  

  • This doesn’t mean you have to schedule time with all your employees, but make sure you are scheduling time with the employees you want to retain.  
  • These don’t have to be weekly meetings.  Work with your employee to determine a good cadence for your meetings.  Maybe it is weekly. Maybe it’s bi-weekly or monthly. However, I would make sure to have a meeting at least once a month.
  • Don’t cancel.  If you have a conflict, you can reschedule.  But scheduling a meeting and then cancelling is worse than not scheduling one at all.  This employee is important to you and your business, therefore this meeting is as important to you and your business.  

What Do You Talk About?  

This is a great opportunity to connect with your employees.  Here are some items to discuss:

  • Talk about them.  Employees want to be cared about for who they are, not just what they do for you.  Ask them about what’s going on in their lives and what is important to them. Be interested in them as a whole person, not just as an employee.  
  • Talk about what keeps them working for you.  In an earlier blog we talked about the importance of stay interview questions.  Questions that will keep employees engaged and help you understand what you need to do to keep them.  So questions like, “what’s going well”, “what’s NOT going well”, “what do you like about your job” or “do you feel recognized for the work you do?”.  Check out our previous SPARK for more stay interview questions.
  • Talk about their development.  I recently read that 94% of employees say that they would stay at a company longer if it simply invested in helping them learn.  So find out what that means for your employee. Ask questions like “what do you want to do in your career?” or “where do you want to be in 5-10 years?”.  Once you know where they want to go, you can discuss what skills and experience they need to have to be successful and how you can help them build those skills and have those experiences.  
  • Help them connect the dots. Show them how their contributions are moving your business ahead. Show them how the things they do to provide excellent customer service are not only helping customers stay with your business, but that they are also telling their friends and others about your business. And help them understand that the behaviors and excellence they are showing is setting the kind of example for the rest of your team to follow – and that you appreciate all that they do.

It’s Worth It!

Assuming you schedule an hour long meeting with an employee once a month.  That’s 12 hours of your time per year. Compare that to how much time you would spend filling an open position if that same employee were to leave — I guarantee it would be more than 12 hours.  And as a result, you will have a committed and engaged employee who will work even harder to make your business successful.

To learn more about how engage and retain your employees, contact Kristen or Erin directly today.  We would love to connect with you!    Get more tips and tools by staying in the know with People Spark. Join our list today!

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