This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Empathy---Critical
in Normal 2.0

 

  Retention Reminders Sample
Listen-Listen-Listen

"Pay attention to me! I have value. And I have something to say. Listen to me!"

Employees have always had something to say. Sometimes they've been vocal about their ideas, concerns, and complaints. In other cases, they've been relatively quiet, sharing their concerns with co-workers but not telling management. "It doesn't matter," they'll explain. "They don't care, and they won't do anything anyway."

Today's workers are becoming more vocal. They have suggestions about how things can be done better. If something isn't working the way they feel it should, they're much more likely to raise the issue. They want to be more a part of what's happening, involved in the decisions that affect them. If they don't feel anyone is listening--paying attention--to their opinions, their contributions, they may want to leave to go where they're appreciated.

Simple as it sounds, the solution is to listen. Listen. Not just to the words, but to the emotion, the motivation, the deeper concerns that may be represented by the employee striving to communicate with management. People in management--at all levels from the CEO to the front-line supervisor--must listen . . . and respond. How do I know you're really listening, if I don't see you taking any action?

Show people that you really are listening. Practice what's called "active listening"--paraphrasing back to the speaker what you think you heard. Clarify to be sure you're understanding correctly. Ascertain what the worker wants from you, what's expected as a response from you and/or the company. Use eye contact, take notes, concentrate so the employee knows that you're really listening.

Take some kind of action in response to what you hear. That response could be a simple and direct as thanking the person for the input and chatting about what was presented. Or it could involve exploring changes in policy, procedure, rules, or other aspects about company operation.

If you don't have all the answers right away, acknowledge that you've heard the message and that you'll look into the issue. Promise that you will follow through and that you'll report back to the concerned employee by a certain date and time. Then, start checking on the situation. The key here is to report back to the employee by the appointed date and time. Even if you've made no progress, by reporting to the employee as promised, you've kept an important agreement . . . and shown that you can be trusted.

You listened, you confirmed, you promised, and you fulfilled. Of course, if the problem isn't solved yet, you're not done. But, you have listened and the employee knows you listened . . . and heard . . . and responded.

Retention Reminders is produced by Roger E. Herman, Certified Management Consultant, CEO of The Herman Group, Greensboro, North Carolina.

Copyright 2001, Roger E. Herman. All rights reserved. Duplication in any form without written permission is a violation of copyright laws.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            


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