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Tell me why I Matter – Making the Connection

In our roles as HR Pros, we deal with a myriad of issues on a day in day out basis. For those in a primarily “employee relations” facing role, the gamut runs from anything pertaining to compensation issues, performance feedback, workplace conflict, etc. During my years in HR, I think I have been there done that enough that I don’t have any more room for the T-shirts! That is why I feel confident in stating that there is a common theme/thread that I have noticed during my years in HR as to what a major dis-satisfier is for many employees. Either their organizational leaders or their manager(s) fail to connect with the employee and show/tell them why they matter.

ConnectionAt the end of the day, for most of us in our roles, all we really want is to feel loved. We want to know that what we are doing each day matters, that it is all contributing towards some greater organizational good. Assuming (BIG assumption here) we are all reasonably compensated in our roles and are not being subjected to unsafe work conditions or harassing behaviour at work, then feeling loved and knowing we matter are the keys to happiness……do I dare say, “engagement?” (please, no stone throwing!) Seriously though, sure developmental opportunities are important, recognition and rewards programs are great (although very few are designed and supported properly), but for most of us, we just want to feel the love at work. We want to know that our manager understands us and “gets” us as an individual. We want to feel like we have a stake in the game and we are important to what is going on with our company. Just as important, we want/need to hear that from our managers and leaders.

It truly amazes me how many managers struggle with this basic concept. When managing and coaching your people and addressing their employee relations concerns, they might be telling you that the issue is pay, or vacation, or workload, etc. but for most of them, what they are really saying is “Does what I do make a difference?” “Is this really contributing towards something and If so, what?” Managers and leaders have a responsibility to help identify and communicate this with their staff. They need to tell them, “Hey Joe, I wanted to tell you, great work on the xyz project. Without your knowledge and input, we never could have delivered that Wobbedysplat to ACME industries. Thanks for your help, now we can go after even bigger contracts with ACME because we proved ourselves so well on this project.” Joe walks away from that conversation feeling empowered, recognized and that his contributions make a difference. He knows that he is adding value to his company and isn’t just a cog in the wheel, or some replaceable drone. Joe knows that HE MATTERS!

Next time you are having conversations with your employees, really listen to what they are “saying.” I bet they are just looking for some love and some line of sight into the work they are doing and where the organization is going. As a manager and more importantly as a leader, it is your job to coach and communicate that with your employee(s). Tell them why they matter……..you will be surprised at the (positive) impact and results you get from it.

Image courtesy of cooldesign/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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