As a good leader, you’ve tried to keep an open-door policy with your team members. You’ve encouraged them to come to you with any problems or concerns, and for the most part, they’ve talked to you. But your employees aren’t telling you everything. There are things they want to tell you, but they won’t risk it. Some of these statements could be simmering below the surface:
1. I’m swimming in debt and it’s overwhelming.
Did you know that 70% of your team members live paycheck to paycheck? And 64% of them can’t cover a $1,000 emergency without borrowing money. Your employees can’t even think about their kids’ college because they’re focused on the next paycheck. They’re seriously stressed out. Why does that matter?
Because stress costs American businesses around $300 billion a year! Stressed-out team members are unproductive, and that affects your bottom line. To help them, offer a financial wellness program like SmartDollar, an online program that equips your employees to better handle their finances so they can retire with dignity. Considering the money you’ll recoup from lost wages, providing financial help is a no-brainer!
2. I don’t need you looking over my shoulder.
Some leaders think they’ll get more out of their team by being overly involved—frequently asking for updates, always correcting employees’ work, asking to be cc’d in emails. You might think that’s good management, but it’s not. Your team would tell you to back off! You’re not increasing productivity. You’re killing it! Instead, empower your team members. Show confidence in their skills and abilities and let them loose! If you’re not confident in team members’ skills, train and equip them or hire more qualified people!
3. I’m jealous of your success.
Translation: I work just as hard as you do, but my paycheck doesn’t show it. Yes, you’re the top dog, so you should have the biggest salary! But if your paycheck keeps getting bigger while team member salaries stay flat, that’s not okay. As your business grows, your employees should get to see that in their checkbook, too. Match a percentage of their 401(k) investments. Create a profit-sharing plan (Ramsey Solutions has one). Provide better benefits. When team members share in the success, they feel a sense of pride and want your business to succeed.
4. I hate cheesy rewards.
Many leaders don’t know how to motivate their people, so they reward excellence in not-so-excellent ways. If you want to encourage your team members, give rewards that matter. Putting 3-inch plastic trophies on desks won’t keep employees loyal. What is guaranteed to get their attention? Time and money—two things your workers need most. If they’ve worked ridiculous hours to finish a project, give them that plastic trophy (and make a big deal about it), but also give them an extra day off to use when they want. Give bonuses for outstanding sales or stellar work.
As a leader, you’re charging forward toward your goals, and it can be difficult for you to slow down and get to know your team. But employees who feel known and appreciated are more likely to remain loyal to your company, and that translates into better productivity and lower turnover rates. The time you spend learning what your team members really think is a small investment when you consider how much you’ll get in return!
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