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How Not to Lose Your Best Employee

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How Not to Lose Your Best Employee

Finding good help is hard. When you have a good employee, you want to keep them around.

People leave positions for many reasons. Leadership plays a major role in job satisfaction. Those who feel unrecognized for their efforts are likely to walk. Those who deal with office politics, or find their managers to be self-serving may look elsewhere for a job.

Many people begin their job search under the radar, and as they interview, they recognize how undervalued they’ve become. If their job isn’t offering them opportunities for development and adequate compensation, you can bet that they’ll search for another employer.

While some people may have terrible bosses, many leave because of poor communication and general job dissatisfaction. It’s possible to set up systems so that your employees have the experience they deserve.

The ball is in the manager’s court

Managers are in a perfect position to turn things around for employees. One of the best ways to do this is by considering Catalyst factors and Nourishment factors.

Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer discuss Catalyst and Nourishment factors in their book, The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at WorkThese two factors help your employees remain engaged members of the team.

  • Catalyst factors are events and structures that help people make progress at work. Setting clear goals and giving people resources and support to meet those goals are examples of catalysts.
  • Nourishment factors tend to see employees as human beings. Getting to know them, showing respect, and offering emotional support are a few ways to offer nourishment.

Let’s take a look at a real life example of this.

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    Airbnb ranks number 6 out of 252 businesses evaluated for their employee experience.[1] They have an excellent company culture, which directly affects their success as a business.

    Their recipe for employee satisfaction isn’t rocket science. They consider employees needs in all aspects of their work environment. Company culture focuses on creating a welcoming environment, and their vision and mission are clear to everyone who works for them.

    Airbnb recognizes that as they grow, their culture has to evolve so that everyone can stay connected.[2] To ensure that employees are supported, they have a Global Head of Employee Experience tasked with making sure that everyone’s needs are met.

    To be successful, employees need nourishment and catalysts. Employees in a supportive and engaging environment are more likely to stay with the company. They need the feeling of accomplishment that comes with making progress to give their work meaning and value.

    Lead with catalysts: encourage progress

    1. Set goals for projects

    Setting clear goals gives everyone direction and holds them accountable for their progress.

    If your team takes on a big project, have a meeting to set out short and long-term goals. Give employees a chance to speak up and ask questions. Every person can walk away knowing exactly what the end result of their efforts will be.

    2. Build autonomy in the workplace

    Give employees freedom to do their work in the way that makes best use of their talents. If you’ve set clear goals, it doesn’t matter how they reach the objective as long as they do. Micromanagement is guaranteed to stifle creativity and make people unhappy.

    Some of the most talented and creative people don’t do well in extremely structured environments. Albert Einstein failed in school, and he was one of the most brilliant scientists of all time. That employee that never seems to do things the normal way but always produces excellent work is your Einstein.

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    3. Give people what they need

    You wouldn’t try to bake a cake without having all the ingredients. You can’t ask employees to do great work if you don’t offer them the training and resources they need. Providing resources shows employee that the company cares about them and wants them to succeed.

    Perhaps you notice that employees are having difficulty using the software at your company. Instead of getting upset, invest in training sessions to get everyone on the same page. They’ll see that you care, and they’ll be able to do the work.

    4. Be conscious of your timeline

    Giving employees an impossible deadline will discourage them and prevent them from being creative. Employees need deadlines, but they also need enough time to do their work.

    When people feel the slight pressure of a deadline, they do their best creative work. According to Parkinson’s Law, tasks will take as much time as you give them.[3] Your job is to find the middle ground between giving them too much time and not enough.

    Imagine that you need a detailed report from your team. It’s a mountain of work. If you asked them to give you the report in a week, they might roll their eyes. The deadline is too ambitious. Instead, ask for a rough draft in two weeks and a final by the end of the month.

    5. Roll up your sleeves

    Employees don’t respect managers who spend their days hidden away in offices or vacationing on exotic islands. You don’t need to be in the trenches on the front line every day, but if you see that they need help, don’t be afraid to jump in.

    Helping might mean mentoring a struggling employee, brainstorming with another colleague, or stepping in when you can see that a project is in trouble. Noticing when employees lack a resource and getting it to them is another way you can help.

    The employee who is struggling is probably already nervous. They’ll be much more willing to learn if you offer to take them under your wing. That added support shows that you’re invested in their success.

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    6. Make it okay to fail

    We’re taught to fear failure from an early age. Avoiding failure keeps us from taking risks and innovating. Make your work culture one where failure is a a valued part of learning. Employees will be more willing to step out of their comfort zone when you do this.

    Pixar’s culture revolves around failing fast and often.[4] Every employee is free to voice their opinions on creative matters, and when they make mistakes, they are actually making progress and trying to breakthrough.

    7. Use your ears and give them a voice

    Empowering employees to speak up allows ideas to flow freely. Encourage everyone to share their opinions. By hearing diverse perspectives and respecting constructive criticism, you can learn how to support your team and the company’s goals.

    I worked for an organization that called together teams from across the region. One team traveled 6 hours to the meetings, while others traveled 3 hours or less. The team with the longest commute voiced their opinions to their manager, who moved the gatherings to a central location. All the teams felt that this was fair, and they believed that their voices were heard.

    Nourish your team: respect and support

    1. Show employees respect

    You set the example for how others should be treated. When an employee comes to you with a concern, consider what they have to say. Even if you don’t agree with them, it’s important that they feel their concerns are heard.

    Imagine a team member comes into your office with a problem that seems trivial to you. Hear them out. If the issue is affecting their experience, it may be affecting others as well. By giving them the space, you can make the environment better.

    2. Give encouragement

    Recognizing effort and accomplishment makes employees feel good, and it shows that you’re paying attention. Lack of appreciation is a major source of unhappiness in the workplace. Take the extra moment to offer a compliment or provide formal recognition, and you’ll create a sense of loyalty and pride.

    You might notice that a team member puts in extra time to make sure that their work is high quality. Acknowledge that you’ve seen how hard they work. They’ll feel that they’re part of something bigger.

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    3. Offer emotional support

    You aren’t a therapist, but you can listen. Everybody has a bad day or gets frustrated sometimes. Recognize the effect that the employee’s mood has on the workplace so that you can give them the support or space that they need to feel better.

    Imagine that one of your employees experienced a death in their family. They try to come back to work the day after the funeral, but they’re clearly upset. You may be able to support them by letting them know that it’s okay for them to take a few days off to mourn. When they come back, they will be able to do their work, and they’ll know you see them as a human being.

    4. Bond your team

    Find ways to help coworkers trust and appreciate one another. As they solidify bonds, they’ll be able to have a more pleasant and fun working relationship.

    Have a company picnic or celebrate birthdays. Organize an intramural sports team or plan a company trip. These are opportunities for people to socialize and build memories as a team. At Lifehack, we celebrate employees’ birthdays and have regular activities like hiking and video-gaming sessions to engage the team.

    Make your best hires stay

    You can make the best hires, but if you can’t keep them, your business will never grow. Consider Catalyst and Nourishment factors to improve work culture and help employees have a better experience.

    Small actions can have major impacts on how your people view their job. Support them, and your superstar employees will stick around.

    Featured photo credit: Pixels via pexels.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Leon Ho

    Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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    Last Updated on June 1, 2021

    10 Effective Ways To Make You a Fast Learner

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    10 Effective Ways To Make You a Fast Learner

    The importance of learning cannot be underestimated. Learning empowers us to fulfill our ideas and realize our full potential. The speed of gaining new knowledge is practically as important as its volume. Who wouldn’t love to remember tons of information as quickly as possible?

    If you want to start learning faster, you need a new approach towards the process which would enable you to comprehend the essence of the matter and relate it with new concepts you encounter.

    The following 10 tips will help you become a fast learner:

    1. Analyze Your Learning Style

    Before you can start experimenting with different studying methods, you need to understand what type of learner you are:

    Is your memory associated to sound?

    Maybe you can remember what you were reading when a particular song was playing? If this is your case, then you fall into the category of auditory learners.

    If you want to start studying more efficiently, then it would be wise to record the lectures and listen to them instead of reading textbooks.

    Do you relate information to visual content?

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    If you are a visual learner, you should implement images, graphs, charts, infographics, colorful lists, flashcards, and other types of visual content when you study.

    Are you a physical learner?

    If your learning style is not auditory or visual, then you might be a physical learner. Some students have too much energy; they tap their feet or play with a pen during lectures.

    A walk before a lecture will calm your nerves down. You can try studying or listening to audio lectures during a walk. That will help you remember the information more quickly.

    2. Use the Right EdTech Tools

    Technology has the power of making everything easier. There are plenty of websites, online tools, and smartphone/tablet apps that will boost your skills of planning, writing, time management and brainstorming, etc.

    One way of improving your productivity is using flashcards. You can make your own cards, but you can also download pre-made kits online:

    • StudyBlue is one of the best online destinations when it comes to creating and discovering flashcards from all areas of study.
    • If you are looking for a tool that makes the process of brainstorming more effective, then you should try PapersGear.
    • You also need the SelfControl app, which will eliminate all distractions when you need to stay focused.
    • Quizlet is another website you should bookmark; it offers study tools that will transform the learning process into a fun activity.
    • Notella is an app that will help you take quick notes at any time.
    • Brainscape is an educational platform that makes complex subjects easy by relying on cognitive science.
    • You can also try Dragon Dictation, especially if you are an audio learner.

    3. Train Your Brain to Accept New Information

    Efficient studying is a habit. Your brain needs constant training if you want to improve your focus and complete complex tasks without taking breaks.

    One way to achieve this goal is to create a private learning space in your home. You’ll also need a specific time of day that you’ll devote to studying. That will make your brain ready to accept the information it gets, so you’ll notice you’re starting to learn much faster by the day.

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    4. Get Some Exercise

    You are aware of the fact that physical activity is good for your body, but your brain needs it too!

    Light exercise, such as yoga, can help you learn much faster. If you are inactive throughout the day, your body will want to move, so it will be difficult for you to stay focused.

    If, on the other hand, you canalize your energy through light training sessions, you will be ready to study productively.

    5. Work on the Ambiance

    If you have a noisy neighborhood or a working environment full of distractions, you won’t be able to learn or study no matter how hard you try.

    If you want to learn quickly, you need a quiet, distraction-free environment that won’t disturb the mind in any way. Such a peaceful place will set you in learning mode as soon as you find yourself in it.

    6. Take a Lot of Notes

    Only few people are capable of remembering information as they read it. If you don’t belong to this category of privileged learners, then you absolutely need to start taking notes.

    This simple learning method will force you to think about the essence of the material. It will also give you a nice framework that will help you review the things you’ve learned.

    Write down only the most important information. That will help you remember all the other things you’ve learned.

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    Here’re some tips to take notes effectively: Why Successful People Take Notes And How to Make It Your Habit

    7. Make Mind Maps

    Mind maps are among the best tools to speed up the learning process. Your mind will process information effectively if you create a visual representation of the things you’re about to learn.

    You can create a nice mind map in the old-school way: take a large sheet of paper and organize all facts and explanations. Use pictures, note-cards, and other symbols you can think of. Group similar items together and connect them with colorful pens.

    Some tips mind-mapping here: How to Mind Map: Visualize Your Cluttered Thoughts in 3 Simple Steps

    Of course, you can also use an online mind mapping tool if you want to save yourself some time.

    8. Experiment with Memorization Methods

    Memorizing is often misused in the process of studying. Some people memorize whole sentences, paragraphs and lectures without grasping their essence.

    However, memorization can be useful when you need to learn definitions and classifications really quickly. Don’t avoid this technique if you want to fill your brain with information without wasting any time.

    Try this if you want to memorize more and faster: How to Memorize More and Faster Than Other People

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    9. Find the Right Context

    Memorization works solely in times of urgency. If you want to learn in the most effective manner, then you need to have context for information.

    Find an aspect that’s interesting for you; try to research for related information, and you’ll discover the joy of learning.

    The first step? Jot down as much information and as many ideas as possible: How Simply Jotting Down Ideas Can Make You Smarter

    With time, this practice will make you a faster learner.

    10. Study Every Day

    It will take some time before you get used to a daily studying routine, but your mind will eventually grasp the habit.

    The more frequently you study, the less time it will take for you to remember the things you read.

    If you start studying as soon as possible after you have learned some new concepts, it won’t take long at all for you to get ready for an exam. Now that sounds really good, doesn’t it?

    More to Help You Learn Quicker

    Featured photo credit: Becca Tapert via unsplash.com

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