tarting a new job is hard. Becoming a manager of other people? Now that’s perhaps even harder. It’s one thing to be tasked with managing day-to-day projects. It sure is another thing to do that and help others manage their day-todays too.
But you’re in luck. You don’t have to go it alone. If you’re a new manager and not quite sure where to start, just sit back and start reading. The Beginner’s Guide To Great Leadership will provide you with a helpful road map to get up and running in no time ... while still being a great manager to your team!
What You’ll learn Because of this Guide
Wouldn’t it be great for your new role to be smooth sailing? We’re here to help you nail it.
With all the tips and tricks you’ll need to successfully set effective personal goals, onboard new team members, gather employee feedback, and a whole lot more, you’ll be able to leverage management best practices to comfortably settle into your new role. Before you even get started, you’ll learn how to look, sound, and act like a great manager.
What You’ll avoid Because of this Guide
All managers make mistakes. But don’t you want to make fewer of them?
We’ll get down and dirty, showing you all the blunders to avoid when ramping up in your new role. Whether you’re getting to know your new employees, hiring new members of your team, or learning how to set clear expectations, we’ll share best practices so that you can avoid all the first-timer pitfalls that usually come along with being a new manager.
PERSONAL GOAL SETTING
elcome to your new role! As a leader in your organization, your success will directly impact the success of the people on your team. Setting effective goals for yourself is one of the first and best ways you can lead your employees.
decide on oBjectives and responsiBilities
To know where to start with your individual goals, look at what your team needs to accomplish. What is your driving purpose? Is it to maintain and develop your company’s website and mobile app to increase business? Are you the front line of customer service that keeps clients happy and coming back for more? Whatever the answer, follow these steps to make sure your objectives stay top of mind and actionable:
define the Goals:
Once you know your team’s purpose, you can figure out what you need to achieve. Identify a few key objectives to drive towards. And don’t forget that, as the leader, you should also build ways to support your team into your goals.
define the tactics:
would require tactics such as regular one-on-one meetings with your workers, plus leveraging an anonymous survey tool to stay on top of team morale.
Establish benchmarks that you can use to evaluate your progress along the way. These can be numbers, such as getting 1,000 new subscribers to your customer email, or deadlines, such as hiring a new graphic designer by the end of the month.
Get manaGer BuY-in:
Your goals should be informed by your company’s mission, vision, and values. Check in with your own leaders to make sure that you’re achieving objectives that will serve the organization’s overall purpose.
Gather the tools You need
Your next step is to go through each goal and list the resources that are necessary for you to get the job done
- Materials: What are the things you need to do your job? It could be small, like tablets for your team so you can call up documents during meetings, or large-scale projects like an improved content management system.
- People: Do you have the team that you need to make things happen? Figure out if there’s a hole in your team’s expertise, or if you need additional team members to manage the workload.
- Outside help: Don’t limit your list to the resources within the company. You may find that you need to consult with external agencies or send occasional projects to contractors.
Setting your personal goals is the groundwork you need to start your leadership off on the right foot. Now that you know what you need to do, let’s take a look at how you’ll work with your team to succeed.
setting smart goals
All professional goals should be SMART. That is, they should follow the mnemonic acronym below that helps create concrete goals to further your larger professional objectives:
- Specific: Focus on a discrete task so you know exactly what you’re aiming to tackle.
- Measurable: How will you know if you achieved your goal? By making it measurable, you’ll have a clear benchmark to know if you hit the target or if you still have work to do.
- Attainable: Don’t set yourself up for failure. Create goals that you can actually achieve.
- Relevant: Your goals should matter, so only choose goals that help further larger business objectives.
- Time-bound: Give yourself a fixed period of time to complete your goals to ward off procrastination.
Why should your goals be SMART? It makes them easy to understand, easy to do, and easy to assess if they are truly complete. SMART goals let you be efficient and ultimately make it easier for you to achieve your larger quarterly and even yearly goals.
THE 5 COMMON NEWBIE ERRORS
our first leadership role will definitely be a learning experience. A new manager can stumble a little coming out of the gate, so don’t let yourself get tripped up by these common first-timer flubs.
BeinG a micromanaGer
The good news is, if you make this mistake, you’re not alone. A survey by Accountemps found that over 50% of employees say they’ve worked for a micromanager.
The bad news is, micromanaging causes serious problems for your team. Take a look at the picture painted by employee surveys, psychological studies,and market research:
Avoid this problem by establishing a foundation of strong communication. These are the two most important steps:
- Get to know your team’s capabilities so you won’t have any doubt about their ability to execute. This means onboarding them properly (we’ll cover that later) and giving them necessary training. Give them productive feedback and check on their progress occasionally. Then trust them to do well.
- Get your team to know you so they know what your expectations are. Clearly communicate what they need to know about your role and responsibilities. Keep them in the loop about relevant projects, and share with them your professional vision. When you’re open and transparent, you won’t need to tell your employees what you want, because they’ll already know.
trYinG to Be the cool GuY(or Gal):
Yes, you want your team to like you. But remember that you’re a boss, not a peer. Here are the do’s and don’ts you’ll need to follow to avoid this common trap.
- Don’t avoid saying “no” because you don’t want to be the bad guy. If a team member makes a mistake, bring it up with them respectfully. If you get too many vacation requests at once, don’t try to please everyone; just be clear how you’ll treat the requests fairly.
- Don’t avoid setting high expectations or challenging your team so you can be a “fun” boss. Missing deadlines or losing productivity will put a damper on even the most party-like atmosphere.
- Don’t give team members reason to wonder if someone else in the group is getting special treatment because you’re always grabbing lunch or sharing in-jokes with them to the exclusion of others.
- Do let yourself be human and connect with your team— while sticking to personal boundaries and maintaining equal treatment across the group.
- Do make sure your team knows you care about their success by pushing them to develop and stretch themselves.
- Do give honest feedback, especially when handling criticism.
GivinG Your team too much room:
Hands-off leadership is good. But neglecting your team will kill your rapport. While your employees should be able to work independently, they still need your attention and guidance
Remember that you’re no longer just one member of the team, and you can’t just dive into your own work and never come up for air. Being a leader means being interrupted. Give them your full attention when your employees come to you. If you have to dash to a meeting or take a vital phone call, make sure to follow up later.
You can also run into this mistake when you’re trying too hard to avoid micromanaging. But the solution isn’t to cut off contact—instead, keep communication channels open so you’re available whenever your team needs you. Open your office door (literally or figuratively) and be accessible via methods like email and instant messaging. That way you’re not smothering them, but they still know how to reach you.
not settinG clear expectations:
Don’t expect your team to be mind readers. Set expectations up front so there aren’t any misconceptions about what they’re responsible for or how you’ll evaluate them. Employees come in with different experiences, so it’s better not to assume everyone’s playing by the same rules. Make it explicit.
Clear communication will get you a happier team. How do we know? Findings for our Engagement Study show that management transparency is the number one factor in determining employee happiness. Cut the guesswork, and your relationship with your team will flourish.
forGettinG to check in aBout emploYees’ professional
Your team isn’t just about the day-to-day responsibilities. Employees will look to their leaders to help develop their career path. It might be hard to think that far ahead when you’re first starting out as a manager, but make it part of your early conversations with your team.
Our 2015 TINYpulse Best Industry Ranking Report looked at the trends impacting employee unhappiness. Sure enough, lacking opportunities for professional growth made the list of top three unhappiness drivers.
Worried? You don’t need to be. This list might look intimidating, but knowing what to keep an eye out for is half the battle when it comes to these beginners’ errors.
how to know if you’re a micromanager
How can you spot if you’re becoming one of those bosses? Take a look at the common micromanager trends below and see if they ring a bell:
- 1 Hovering all day, every day: When you delegate a task to an employee, you’re constantly “just checking in.”
- 2 High turnover: If you end up seeing a lot of employees walk out the door, it’s likely you’re a (if not the) culprit.
- 3 Your way or the highway: When you assign out a task, you also assign out the “how.” You need to make sure employees are performing the task the “right” way.
- 4 You never take a day off: There’s a zombie apocalypse outside? You’re still working. You’re afraid that everything will go to chaos if you’re not there to control it.
- 5 Total know-it-all: You believe you can do everything faster and better than the people who work for you.
The good thing is it’s never too late to change. If you see any of these characteristics in your management style, take stock and adjust. Your employees will appreciate getting more leeway, and you’ll enjoy more time to get your own projects done.
HOW TO ADOPT A TEAM
hen you start in a new leadership position, you might feel like the odd man out. Chances are the team members already know each other, and you’re the new kid on the block. So you’ll need to find a way to get off on the right foot.
GettinG to knoW all aBout them
First, don’t worry about finding out what the previous leader was like or what they did. The people on your team are the ones you really need to become familiar with.
- What do they do? Understand what their roles and responsibilities are beyond the specifics of their job description. How do they fit into the processes and goals of the team? Who relies on their work, and whom do they rely on?
- What do they like? Gauge their satisfaction with their current roles. A change of leadership can be a good opening to change up outdated processes or inefficient distribution of work.
- Where do they want to go? Learn how they want to grow professionally. Even if they’re perfectly happy in their job, see how they want to develop their skills or take on more responsibilities.
GettinG Your team to Gel
Don’t forget the fun! An essential part of making a team work is fostering a positive community. So take a look at some of these ideas for breaking the ice and getting everyone to work together outside of the usual environment
- The Marshmallow Challenge: What do you do with dry spaghetti, one yard of tape, and a marshmallow? Well, as TEDx showed us, you build the tallest tower you can. It’s not only a good team-building exercise, but it’s also illustrative for decision-making processes.
- Scavenger hunt: Split the team into smaller groups and pit them against each other for a scavenger hunt around your city. Sound complicated? Well, companies like Watson Adventures have done much of the hard work for you. Visit their site to find a number of themed, city-specific scavenger hunts.
- Focus on a nonprofit: Rallying your employees around a cause is incredibly powerful. Give them an opportunity to come together over something good. Choose a local shelter and volunteer to make a meal every quarter. Collect Box Tops for Education. Plan a coat drive in the fall. The opportunities for serving your community are endless.
- Outside networking sessions: Get better acquainted with your team, your industry, and your city by seeking out professional meetups. Here in Seattle, the Washington Technology Industry Association puts on the Seattle Tech Crawl, a fun way to go out as a team and meet folks at other great local organizations.
the don’ts of team goal setting
With all this talk of team best practices, there are a couple worst practices you’ll want to avoid. When it comes to setting goals for your team, make sure you don’t ...
- 1 Set them and forget them: It’s key to keep measuring your team’s goal completion. Sometimes they’ll be on track. But other times they’ll need some course correction. Regularly checking in lets you know when it’s time for more guidance and when it’s time to butt out.
- 2 Forget to applaud successes: All work and no appreciation makes for disengaged employees. When goals are met and exceeding, don’t forget to show your appreciation for a job well done.
- 3 Forget to keep skill sets in mind: Goals should be achievable, which means they should never be outside of an employee’s skill range or resource set.
- 4 Make them too ambitious: It’s one thing to set goals that are challenging and require hard work. It’s another thing to make them so hard they’re impossible to achieve. Goals should never be demoralizing.
- 5 Make them too easy: You want to encourage your team to work hard and stay motivated. Goals that are so easy a child could do them will never fuel your team’s engines.
Keep these don’ts in mind next time it comes to goal setting. Your team will thank you for goals that will keep them motivated, energized, and engaged.
HOW TO HIRE A TEAM
ometimes you’re not adopting a team but rather building one from scratch. If that’s the case, you’ll want a solid plan to make sure you’re finding the right people.
the riGht puzzle piece
It’s important to ensure that any potential new employee will fit with your company and your team. This assessment isn’t about their skills or background but rather their compatibility with your culture. Why?
Consider these stats from the American Psychological Association and our own internal findings:
So don’t underestimate the importance of cultural fit and finding the right personalities for your team.
The best way to evaluate a candidate’s fit is to leverage your company values. The values that define your organization, as well as your specific team, shape your culture.
Check out TINYpulse’s values, D-E-L-I-G-H-T:
- Delight customers
- Elect to spread positivity
- Lead with solutions and embrace change
- Increase communication with open engagement
- Go the extra mile with passion
- Hold oneself accountable
- Treasure culture and freedom
We share these values on our website as well as in job listings so applicants will learn about them from the get-go. This shows them that sharing our values is just as much of a requirement as any skills they might have.
the intervieW process
Along with asking about someone’s work experience, use the interview as a chance to get a feel for the candidate’s personality.
- Values-based questions: Ask for examples of how the applicant has exemplified your values. If one of your core values is “embrace change,” consider asking, “What do you do when your priorities change quickly?” If they can show you that they bring your company values to life, then you’ll know they can do the same as part of your team.
- Unconventional settings: Face it—the majority of candidates aren’t going to truly be themselves during an interview. Step out of the enclosed room and take them out to lunch or invite them to a team outing. Doing this allows you to see if candidates are able to socialize naturally with their potential teammates.
- Personal hobbies: What does this candidate like to do outside of work? If they’re the captain of a dodgeball team, it reveals their leadership and cooperative capabilities. These types of questions uncover a candidate’s personality, which plays a big part in determining their fit in the company.
- Decision-making skills: Find out how a candidate would act in a certain situation or what actions they took in a past situation. Yes, you can evaluate their answer in the context of a specific job skill. But you can also assess if the actions taken by this candidate are aligned with your company’s values.
- Using references: Coworkers and managers have personally worked with the candidate. They’ve seen them in various situations, are familiar with their work ethic, and know how they interact with others. A phone call with a reference can help you make the final decision on fit.
When fit trumps skill
In the ideal situation, you’ll find a candidate who has both the work skills and the cultural fit for your team. But if that doesn’t happen, you’re better off going with the cultural fit.
As we’ve seen, coworkers and managers play a big role in employee engagement and retention. The wrong cultural fit could lead to problems with keeping your team.
In contrast, holding out for the perfect resume could cause you to miss out on a great employee. As SHRM reports, the lack of experience and skills is one of the top reasons that organizations have difficulty with recruitment. In other words, the candidates are here, but it’s just specific skills that are missing.
But skills can be taught. Personality can’t. On-the-job training can rectify skill gaps, whereas the wrong cultural fit is more trouble than even the most experienced candidate is worth.
Go-to Questions to assess cultural fit
Are you measuring a candidate for cultural fit but not quite sure how to go about doing it in an interview? We recommend leveraging one or all of the questions below during your interview to get at the heart of potential compatibility:
- 1 “Tell me about your ideal work environment.” You want your candidate to adapt to your workplace, whether it’s a nimble startup or 150+ year old company. This questions lets you assess quickly how well they’ll fit in your particular workplace.
- 2 “If I called up your last boss, how would they describe you?” Candidates will be remarkably candid, sharing all their good qualities ... and probably one or two negative ones too. You can evaluate if those negative qualities are easy to deal with or deal breakers.
- 3 “Tell me about your favorite manager.” You want to know if they’ll work well with you. If their favorite manager shares your personality and characteristics, it’s likely you’ll mesh well together.
- 4 “Tell me about your least favorite manager.” You’ll want to learn what traits your candidate hates in their workplace. If they’re ones you carefully cultivate, it’s time to show the candidate the door.
- 5 “Describe your ideal work day.” Evaluate what a candidate wants in their workplace—always telecommuting, only working late-night hours, absolute silence, etc. If it matches your job environment, then you might have a great fit.
These questions are general enough that they work well for both entry-level candidates and senior managers. But they ask for enough specific detail so that you can drill down and really measure a candidate’s fit.
THE RIGHT WAY TO ONBOARD
o now you’ve hired your new team. What’s next? How do you set them up for success with you and each other?
Welcome them aBoard
Forget the hours of orientation and mountains of paperwork for now. Your first objective is to build a team with a healthy culture, so focus on that culture first. Consider these team-building introductions:
- Pop some champagne: At TINYpulse, we celebrate new hires by giving them a handwritten welcome card signed by everyone in the office. And to show them how excited we are to have them, we also give them a bottle of bubbly.
- Make connections: Don’t limit introductions to your team. Make sure the new hires get to meet people from other departments and senior leadership. Their welcome should come from the whole company.
- Take it outside: Round up the team and go out for lunch. Taking the meet and greet out of the office helps keep it fun and low-key. Your team will spend plenty of time working hard during the first few days, so give them an hour or two to relax and socialize.
start them off riGht
It’s important to get your team off and running, but don’t make the mistake of trying to teach them everything at once. It will only overwhelm the new employees rather than getting them up to speed.
Instead, create a 30, 60, 90-day plan for each employee. By taking into account the time needed to ramp up and learn new skills, you’ll leave your hires with a transparent plan about what they’ll learn, when they’ll learn it, and what they are expected to accomplish.
Here’s a way to think about structuring the first three months:
Prep your new employee for success by laying down the groundwork and helping them settle into the company’s culture and their position.
During these first days, introduce them to the software they’ll be using, start them off with small projects, and set goals for them to achieve. Most importantly, get them acclimated to the company culture.
During the next 30 days, ease off on the training and focus more on the doing. So ease off on the training and focus more on the doing.
They’re experts with smaller projects, so raise the bar and introduce bigger projects and longer-term responsibilities. And now that they’re comfortable with the culture, have them collaborate with other teams.
The last 30 days is all about removing the training wheels. As your employee is taking on more responsibilities and accomplishing bigger tasks, they’re going to start becoming more accountable for their work.
Your new hire is now able to accomplish projects with limited guidance from you, and they are now equipped with bigger responsibilities.
Starting a new job is intimidating. But having a clear 30, 60, 90-day plan will let your newest hires know where to focus their time and attention and what they need to accomplish to be successful.
Get into the team spirit
Once you get your team clicking, help maintain that momentum with team-building activities. There are plenty of great options that don’t have to take a huge amount of time or funding.
- Monthly birthday celebration: Celebrate all the birthdays in a single month with a big group party. Get cake, cupcakes, or another sweet treat. You can even be silly by giving all the birthday royalty a goofy crown to wear for the day.
- Pub crawl: Map out a route to three or four local pubs. Make sure you call ahead and reserve some space. It’s also nice to provide employees with drink tickets. You don’t have to beg for participation when free drinks are at stake!
- Go to a minor league game: Sporting events are pricey, but go to a local farm team’s game, and you’ll have a fun event that won’t break the bank.
- Monthly potluck lunch: Schedule one day a month for people to bring in an item to share for lunch. It’ll be fun for them to see what others are bringing, and the potluck forces them to take a break from their desk and socialize.
Schedule activities like these on a frequent basis so you can turn that initial warm welcome into a strong workplace community for your team.
BUILD A TRANSPARENT CULTURE
s our recent Engagement Study showed, transparency is the number one factor contributing to employee happiness. Transparency creates trust between employees and their managers, so consider it a must-have in your leadership arsenal.
“need to knoW” needs to Go
Share updates with your team every day. Try gathering everyone for a quick check-in at the start of the day. An in-person meeting has the benefit of bringing everyone into the conversation at once instead of letting individual people read email announcements on their own. Questions can be asked and answered in the open.
Use these meetings to share:
- Updates on team goals: Is the team on track to meet its objectives? What’s the status of major projects? Discussing goals as a group makes everyone’s responsibilities visible to the whole team, which provides the opportunity for people to ask for or offer help. It also creates an atmosphere of mutual accountability.
- Team and individual wins: Share the good news too! Did the team blast through a goal? Did someone knock their project out of the park? Publicly announcing achievements is a way to recognize your employees for their hard work.
- Potential challenges: Don’t let your team get surprised by bad news. Early communication will help them keep their footing when the inevitable wave hits the ship. It also gives them the chance to help brainstorm solutions.
Giving regular and useful updates lets your team know that you won’t keep them in the dark on important matters.
Make sure your employees each have a recurring meeting time with you where they can bring you their individual issues. Here’s a sample of the kinds of questions you should address:
- How is it going? Check in on current projects as well as longer-term goals. Let them share any concerns they may have, and make sure they give you a status update on all of their in-progress projects.
- How are they doing? Use this opportunity to give honest and constructive feedback. If there’s something you need them to improve on, it’s better for both of you to let them know early.
- How are you doing? This is when you ask your employee if they have anything they would like you to do differently. Let them know that feedback is a two-way street.
Transparency isn’t always easy to maintain. Sometimes you’ll stumble into difficult situations where being honest and open feels wrong or uncomfortable. Here are some guidelines to handling these kinds of roadblocks:
- Don’t share everything: Sensitive information doesn’t need to be broadcast. Whether it’s personal information about an employee or nonpublic news from upper management, don’t be afraid to tell your team when you can’t tell, and why.
- Say "I don’t know": If you don’t know the answer to a question, say so. Honesty will instill way more confidence than trying to bluff your way through something.
- Accept the negative: When you get honest input from your team, respond positively. Even if it’s criticism of you that stings. You need to prove that you’re committed to open communication, so don’t try to sweep it under the rug. If applicable, work with the employee to find a solution.
So there you go. Now you know just what to do in order to achieve the number one factor in your team’s happiness.
never forGet to shoW Your appreciation
Open communication isn’t just about what you say. Let your employees speak up with peer recognition. As the leader of the team, you don’t get to see everyone’s individual efforts on a day-to-day basis, but coworkers know how hard their teammates work and when they deserve a pat on the back.
Peer recognition is important to your team’s happiness. Just how important? Bersin & Associates found that compared to other organizations, those that have effective recognition programs:
- Experience 14% higher employee engagement and productivity
- Enjoy a 31% lower voluntary turnover
Your employees want to be able to publicly congratulate each other on victories and show appreciation for extra effort. When given the opportunity, 44% of employees organically give each other recognition on a consistent basis. Let their voices be heard, and everyone will be happier.
CAPTURE TEAM FEEDBACK
n essential part of being an effective leader is having a two-way relationship with your team. That means that you listen to them just as much as they listen to you. And don’t just leave it up to them to come to you. Show your commitment to hearing what they have to say by using employee surveys.
And no, we’re not talking about that unwieldy 50-question monster that companies break out once a year. Who has the time to fill those out anyway? An annual survey won’t give you the real-time feedback that will let you address your employees’ needs in a meaningful way. They’re your most important assets—check on them regularly.
the surefire method
When done right, an employee survey is just what you need to find out what engages your workers, what frustrates them, and what you can do to make your team happier. The key is to stick with a few successful ingredients:
make it diGital:
Don’t use a paper form that will just get lost in the shuffle. Leverage digital survey tools like TINYpulse that get sent directly to your employees’ inboxes and can be accessed in any place, at any time.
commit to anonYmitY:
Remove the fear of retaliation. If employees feel confident that they’ll be protected from identification and criticism for their feedback, they will give you candid responses.
keep it short and simple:
Don’t take up too much of your employees’ time. Stick to just one or two questions on a specific topic, and you’ll enjoy thorough, thoughtful responses. You might also see sustained response rates as high as 90%, like some TINYpulse clients.
Aim for a weekly or biweekly format to establish a regular channel of communication. If your survey is short and easy to use, you don’t have to worry about the frequency being a burden on your workers.
add a virtual suGGestion Box
While your weekly survey question may drill down on a specific topic, it’s important to offer an open-ended space for your employees’ ideas on solutions.
Why? Imagine crowdsourcing ideas to improve your organization. That’s what virtual suggestion boxes do. Our 2013 Employee Engagement Survey found that 18% of survey responses responses included useful, actionable suggestions ... because they were given a tool to share their ideas. Your employees get to have a say in what happens in their team, and you get a bunch of great new ideas and more invested workers.
Consider just some of the great improvements made by TINYpulse clients thanks to employee virtual suggestions:
Small changes? Sure. But sometimes the little differences can make all the difference.
finish with follow-up
Sending out the survey is just the first 50% of employee feedback. The other vital half is to demonstrate a commitment to following up on the responses you get.
share the responses:
Yes, even if they’re bad. Especially if they’re bad. An important part of being a trustworthy leader is to let negative feedback out in the open so your employees know that you won’t hide from criticism. Of course, you’ll also be sharing positive responses too, so don’t worry about damaging team morale.
act on them:
You can’t just capture feedback—you have to do something with it too! Get ready to create action plans to act on all the great feedback you’re about to receive. And because you’re using short surveys with virtual suggestion boxes, it’ll be easy to distill feedback and come up with a plan.
Write it doWn:
Taking action isn’t the final step. Close the loop by documenting the steps you’ve taken. That way, nothing gets overlooked or forgotten. Showing employees what you’ve done with their feedback will demonstrate that you value their input.
The time and energy you put into your feedback system are an investment in your team. They’ll know that you’re committed to hearing them, and you’ll end up with happier and more engaged employees.
5 Questions to gauge interpersonal satisfaction
Your survey shouldn’t just ask about you and the company. Peers are just as important a factor for measuring employee happiness. Here are five questions to get you started:
- 1 “On a scale of 1 to 10, how connected do you feel to your coworkers?” Connection with coworkers means your employees are a true team who will support one another and inspire each other to go above and beyond. Low responses should be a red flag.
- 2 “Do we have the right people on our team?” You may think you know how to hire candidates who fit with the organizational culture and skill needs. This question gives your employees the opportunity to tell you if you’re succeeding.
- 3 “If you were to add a new team member to your group, what’s the most important skill that they should have?” As with the previous question, this one lets your employees tell you directly how to succeed at recruiting the right people.
- 4 “Who do you consider to be the “Most Valuable Player” of our company culture?” Ideally, your employees will nominate many different coworkers for this distinction because everyone should exemplify your culture. Take a look at the traits these people have in common, and highlight them in your recruiting efforts.
- 5 “On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate our organization’s team-building efforts?” Your team needs your support in building a community. Find out if your group activities are getting the right results, or if there’s something else your employees want.
Coworkers drive employees to work harder and stay longer with their company. Use your employee survey to make sure that your employees are helping and not hurting their peers.
BE A MENTOR
global study by BlessingWhite found that the number one factor keeping employees at their jobs is their access to development opportunities. Make sure that your team is invested in staying with your company by finding out what kind of professional development they’re looking for. Then follow through by leveraging mentors to support them in their career development.
a Win for the entire companY
Mentorship isn’t just helpful for an individual employee—it’s also great for your team and your company as a whole. When Sun Microsystems looked at the effectiveness of their mentorship program, they found out just how great:
How did that retention translate to the bottom line? Sun saved an estimated $6.7 million in turnover and replacement costs.
The idea of mentoring might be intimidating to a new leader. But you can start out with some simple guidelines:
- Listen: It sounds obvious, but listening is surprisingly easy to overlook. Remember that a mentoring relationship is about discovering the mentee’s goals and finding out what they want to learn.
- Meet regularly: Have frequent check-ins so you can discuss short-term projects as well as long-term goals. This lets you stay up to date with their progress, and they’ll feel like a priority.
- Be clear on roles: Sometimes being a mentor who guides an employee’s future development can be at odds with the boss who is evaluating their current work. Create a separate time and space for the mentoring relationship, where present responsibilities aren’t part of the conversation.
- Keep it casual: Don’t assume you have to play the role of serious authoritarian. Engage your employees in an informal way. Try using the relaxed atmosphere of a coffee shop, or leverage chat and texting to have conversations where they feel comfortable bringing you their questions.
- Celebrate successes: Acknowledge the small accomplishments as well as the big milestones. It’s a great way to build up their confidence and give them the motivation to tackle the next achievement. Sometimes all they need is for you to act as their cheerleader.
As a leader, your goal should be to support your team’s professional development—a key component in employee happiness. A mentoring relationship can be a great way of making a direct commitment to involve yourself in your employees’ individual growth.
Don’t assume that you have to shoulder the burden of mentoring all by yourself. Take a look at these strategies for effective mentoring that doesn’t drain your resources:
- Look to your leaders: Who are your supervisors and mentors? They can be great for providing your employee with fresh insight on opportunities within the company.
- Learn to share: Group mentoring maximizes a mentor’s time by letting them reach multiple employees at once. The mentees can also build community with each other and learn from their peers.
- Bring in extra help: In anonymous mentoring, mentors from outside the company are matched up with mentees through psychological testing without sharing identifying information. You do have to pay for the service, but on the flip side, it saves time and energy for you.
Successfully mentoring someone means recognizing when you’re unable to do it yourself. Use one of these alternatives to make sure your employees still get the support they need.
Companies make an effort to consistently track revenue, financial returns, and productivity. But they’re forgetting one of the most important aspects of their organization: their people. And that’s where TINYpulse comes in.
Founded in 2012, TINYpulse works hard to make employees happier around the world. Our goal is to give leaders a pulse on how happy, frustrated, or burnt out their employees are, helping managers build bridges by sparking dialogue that results in organizational change.
what we do
We believe that information empowers leaders to create an engaging work environment and culture where people can thrive. Here is how we do that:
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who uses us?
Every organization wants happy employees. Our customers range across all industries and all parts of the world, from start-ups to enterprises. Organizations such as GSK, Living Social, Airbnb, HubSpot, Brooks Shoes & Apparel, and many more are using TINYpulse to delight their employees and increase engagement.
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