Imagine going to work every day and hating what you do. Unfortunately for many, you don’t have to imagine. Those people are you, and it appears that you have a lot of company. Less than a third of U.S. employees were engaged with their jobs in 2014, found a new Gallup poll. Managers have the greatest impact on employee engagement, yet, only 35% of U.S. managers are engaged in their jobs! February is the perfect time for a heart-to-heart discussion on how to get your employees to fall in love with you over and over again.
Be authentic. If you’ve dated more than one person in your lifetime, then you know what it’s like to be enchanted the moment you meet someone. Everyone is on his or her best behavior. Flash forward a month or two later, and you realize that you may have been sold a lemon. You quickly depart.
I’ve spoken with enough candidates who have broken up with their employers to know that many hiring managers aren’t being completely truthful. The job they are presenting to prospective employees isn’t quite the same as the job these people are accepting. Prospective employees and those in your employ prefer transparency. Always be yourself, and understand that you most likely aren’t right for everyone. That’s okay, as you are looking for that one-in-a-million who will say yes and commit to you long-term.
Be nice. You’d think this would go without saying. I’ve worked for several really mean bosses who would make Meryl Streep’s Miranda Priestly, of The Devil Wears Prada fame, look like a dream boss.
If you’re finding that it’s really that difficult to be nice, then perhaps management isn’t for you. Lots of people are successful being solo contributors. You can be as well.
Treat employees like you really do care whether they stay or leave. I’m now in love with Jason Fried, CEO of Basecamp (don’t tell my husband). Fried, who just agreed to speak with me for my new book, The Magnetic Leader: Attracting Employees, Customers and Profits, really cares for the hearts and minds of his people. He’s working against the technology grain to create a sane workplace.
Employees at Basecamp, which develops project management software, not only receive paid time off to take vacations, but the company pays for their vacations as an annual "gift" to those with at least one year's tenure. And believe me when I tell you these aren’t camping trips. This year they can get to choose among travel to such places as Martha's Vineyard, the Grand Canyon, Ethiopia, and Verona, Italy. Sign me up!
As you’ve probably figured out by now, relationships require continuous effort. Just because an employee falls in love with your organization doesn’t mean they will automatically remain in love with you. Unless of course you keep reminding them daily of why they fell in love with you in the first place.