How can you know and grow your employees?

Jun 10, 2019Business Leadership Transformation

As an employer, it’s important to hire the right people and have the right employees working inside of your company.

It’s easy to only think of our employees for what they bring to the office on a day‑to‑day basis. What we forget is employees have a life outside of the office too.

Many times, what is happening outside of the office can be brought into the office, whether we realize it or not. If we choose to only know our employees during working hours each day, then we are missing out on what is affecting their lives. We also begin to understand where their greatest joys, concerns, and frustrations come from on a day‑to‑day basis.

Have you ever considered knowing and growing your people professionally, personally, and spiritually could be the greatest pursuit any employer could have? I share this because I’ve experienced it inside of my own company. At the end of the day, knowing and growing your people has the potential to return more than you ever expected. Let’s talk about these areas individually.

First is knowing your people professionally. It’s important to sit down and understand what their career ambitions are.

When you interviewed and hired them, you probably asked them where they expected to be in three‑to‑five years. Have you ever asked them that question again, after three‑to‑five years?

Are they still on track for where they want to be? Do they have different ambitions? Are there educational pursuits that they’re interested in?

Many times, reviews are spent giving employees feedback on how they’re doing their current job. How often do we use that time to also talk about what they would like to pursue or how they see their growth going forward? Even if we discuss those topics, too often it’s centered around their current career and not their future ambition. It’s possible we are missing the best for our employees when we focus only on how they can help us professionally instead of how we can help them.

Second is knowing and understanding your employees personally. Many times, there are things going on in their personal lives that follow them into work, even if you don’t see them on the surface.

Did they have a fight with their spouse this morning? Is their child struggling in school? Perhaps their mother or their grandmother is sick and not doing well right now.

That can affect everyday employee performance. And, there’s a probability that the employee may never mention it.

It becomes imperative that we create a safe place. Our employees should be able to have conversations with us about how they’re doing personally and how we can support them, when things are good and when things are bad.

This may take you a little out of your comfort zone, but my experience tells me it’s one of the most important areas where you can connect with your employees.

Third is knowing your employees spiritually. This may be one of the most difficult conversations to initiate. It certainly depends on the culture you’ve created inside your business.

For those of us who are running businesses based on Christian principles and the idea of wanting to live out our faith inside of our business, creating an open environment for your employees to ask questions about and explore faith in their own way becomes very important. I would encourage and caution you to not use this as a time for evangelism.

Instead, it is an opportunity to understand where the employee is coming from. Give them freedom to ask questions and be in a position where you can love them the same way that Christ loved people.

What we know more than anything is that the way we love people and give them an opportunity to express themselves goes much farther than any attempt to try and get a conversion to faith. That’s not the point of this conversation.

Don’t think of this as a topic you should stay completely away from, because I’ve found in my career even people who don’t claim to be spiritual are open to having you pray for and with them. What greater gift is there than that?

So, how can you do all three of these things on a regular basis? At Paradiem we have instituted what we call the one‑on‑one walk and talks.

At a minimum of once a month, I meet with my direct reports, individually. We go on a walk for anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. The idea is to get them out of the office, let them talk about how they’re doing, and leave the agenda up to them. Each of my direct reports does the same with their own direct reports.

Ultimately, the goal is not to spend much time talking about what’s going on at work but really coming to understand who they are and what they dream about when they’re outside the office. You might be surprised by how much this little habit can make a difference in the energy, the commitment to culture, and the productivity of your employees.

For this to work, you need a culture that creates a safe environment where any information your employees share will not to be used against them. The idea is to create an environment that builds them up.

If you would like to know more about how we’ve instituted this, or ask any questions, give us a call at (985) 727-0770 or email [email protected]. We’d love to help.