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Are You An Inclusive Leader? by Heather R Younger

By Heather Younger | Apr 26, 2022 | Comments Off

 

“We are trying to construct a more inclusive society. We are going to make a country in which no one is left out.” Franklin D. Roosevelt

Learn More About Heather R Younger >

My daughter had a tough middle school year. She agonized over how she felt left out of circles and discussions and events. I would often coach her to look past it all and realize that many of her classmates were going through similar things.

Her situation felt different. She told me that she felt like her classmates looked past and through her to talk to and include other people. She was really hurt, and so was her self-esteem. I supported her and told her to hang on a little longer since she would be graduating. Then, one weekend, she looked at one of her social media pages and noticed that one of those classmates had a birthday party that included mostly everyone from her class but excluded a few.

She was not invited. And although this was not a new occurrence, it still hurt.

I get it!

Everyone has the right to invite whomever they want to their parties. However, social media changes the impact in many ways because people can celebrate and exclude others in a more public way.

I can’t help but think about how Inclusion plays a similar role in the workplace.

Are there people inside your organization who feel passed over and looked through? Are there high-performing employees who have great things to say but don’t get a chance to say them?

How inclusive are you?

Do you make sure that unpopular voices have a seat at the table? Are they in the room but not really recognized as an important voice? Do you look through certain people to cater to those who look a certain way or speak a certain way?

Below are five considerations if you are striving to be a more inclusive leader:

1. LISTEN AND ACT

Who do you listen to? Do you consider the narrow view of just a few, or make sure you include people with varied backgrounds? Do you act upon the most common voices, or are you courageous enough to act upon the uncommon feedback?

Inclusive leaders both look for and listen to diverse perspectives and take certain actions to show that those perspectives are valued.

If you want to be a more inclusive leader, listen to everyone and commit to taking action on much of what you hear.

2. EXPAND YOUR CIRCLE

Who is in your inner circle? Leaders who take the time to ensure that their circle is only homogeneous in values and purpose and not based upon the same physical characteristics or background are simply more inclusive.

Some years ago, I had a diverse coaching client who recalled a time when her boss held a firm party and excluded her. She found out about it, because others in the office were talking about it and brought gifts back they received at the party. She felt like an outsider and did not understand why it happened. Her boss never gave her an explanation.

Was this type of behavior typical for this leader? Most likely, yes! We are often more comfortable with people who share our same lived experiences. But, unfortunately, when we surround ourselves with people like us, we create more blind spots and minimize our chances of creating more innovative teams.

Inclusive leaders go out of their way to include people who might challenge their thinking and bring innovative ideas to the table.

If you want to be a more inclusive leader, review and expand your inner circle.

3. COLLABORATE OFTEN

To collaborate means to admit that you alone don’t have the answers. Instead, the best solutions spring from the back and forth at the collaboration table.

If you want to be a more inclusive leader, dare to invite many different types of people to the table because that is when the fun begins!

4. AUDIT HIRING AND PROMOTION PRACTICES

Affinity bias is real. It is when we are inclined to include those around us who are like us. When hiring and promoting team members, this type of bias can be a barrier to real Inclusion. Audit your hiring and promotion practices and consistently ask yourself whether you are letting bias get in the way of including others who aren’t like you.

5. MONITOR THE LANGUAGE BEING USED

To be an inclusive leader, we must consider the language we use around those inside or outside our circle. To include also means to make someone feel welcome or like they are important. If we are or someone in our circle is using words that exclude, then we have a problem. Take the time to evaluate and research the right things to say and how to refer to certain situations and people in your space. So often, we or those around us initiate microaggressions against those in marginalized groups and harm them by our words.

Inclusive leaders monitor for this and tweak and adjust along the way.

________________________________

Someone once told me that “diversity is being invited to the party, and Inclusion is asking them to dance.”
So, let’s all commit to being the kind of leaders who ask many people to dance!

 

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The 5 Attributes of Today's Leader by Clint Pulver

By Clint Pulver | Apr 19, 2022 | Comments Off

“You’re either the number one reason why people
are staying, or you’re the number one reason why they are leaving.” - Clint Pulver

So often, organizations wonder why their turnover rate is high. But the truth of the matter is, as a leader, you’re either the number one reason your people stay, or you’re
the number one reason why your people are leaving.

Roughly 60% of the employees interviewed by Clint’s Undercover Millennial research program were currently looking for new employment. How do you get your employees to love their job and want to stay and grow with your company?

The diagnosis is with you – the leader.

Employees are not quitting companies—they’re quitting bosses.

The answer to employee turnover is easier than you think and is why Clint Pulver’s keynote and book, “I Love It Here,” are resonating with so many companies and audiences – the diagnosis begins with your leadership.

From the thousands of millennials and younger workers interviewed with the Undercover Millennial program - what they loved or didn’t love about their job - the most prominent answer for being satisfied was that they, “loved their boss.” Although there are many leadership styles Clint has identified from his program, the Mentor-Manager is the top proven way for leaders to engage with their employees.

The top 5 attributes of this style of leadership are:

  • One-on-one coaching, focusing on personal growth
  • Shifting the focus to the employee and their personal and professional goals
  • Helping the employee establish their path, values and purpose—both within the company and outside of it
  • Putting focus on the people within the ship, instead of just where the ship is headed.
  • Standing next to others and walking the path with them.

“Great mentors have the ability to communicate a person’s
potential and worth to the point that the person begins to see it in themselves.”

With this in mind, never underestimate the power of a Mentor
Manager, and your ability to move people—both physically and mentally.

Learn more about why Clint’s message is inspiring and moving people to action, young and old. His years of research, proven application and incredible strategies for engaging employees are at the core of his bestselling book, “I Love It Here,” his Mentor-Management keynote message and his drum experience. You don’t want to miss it! 

Learn more about Clint Pulver

Diversity and An Inclusive Culture by Heather R Younger

By Heather Younger | Mar 21, 2022 | Comments Off

 

"Organizations that want to bear great fruit include the voices of all employees and enlist them in the change that they're looking to do." 

Learn More About Heather R Younger >

Let’s talk about diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging - and in the context of your “Why?” Understanding why you are embarking on the journey is just as important as understanding any of the steps after that.

What I want to talk to you about today is using the voice of your employees to really gauge the proper direction of your organization. What often happens in organizations is that the leaders talk amongst themselves and maybe to the level right below. But, organizations that want to bear great fruit include the voices of all employees and enlist them in the change that they're looking to do.

1. DO A CULTURAL AUDIT OR DEI SURVEY
So, have you done a cultural audit or a Diversity, Equity Inclusion and Belonging survey recently? You want to do that because you want to be able to listen in aggregate and gather the themes that are important to the employees of your organization and use that as a way to drive everything forward. Then, you can move forward to create a strategic plan.

2. CREATE A STRATEGIC PLAN
Right now, you don't know what you don't know. And so, if you're consistently committing to using the voices of your employees as a barometer for whether you are in the right place or not - also as an information hub, to make you smarter on this journey - you are going to garner a lot more success in the process.

Remember, creating a diverse and inclusive culture is a journey.

Focus on the next best step understanding that you are on the road to success. And, you want to be focused on improvement, not perfection.

 

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How To Manage When An Employee Is In Crisis by Clint Pulver

By Clint Pulver | Jan 24, 2022 | Comments Off

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1 big idea

When someone on your team is in the middle of a crisis, sometimes it’s all you can see; you get nervous, you waver between hovering and avoidance; you might even feel guilty for worrying about the work.

But here’s something to remember that can help you push past that awkwardness: Your employee is more than their crisis.

2 insights from our workplace research

  • As much as you might wish those thoughts away, it’s natural to have secret worries about errors or schedules when someone on your team is struggling with an awful event. But when employees tell us about the bosses who earned their loyalty in tough times, they talk about the ones who arrive with compassion first.
  • How can you manage that when all you feel is stress? You keep things separate. To your employee, you show care, support, and a listening ear. When you’re with your peers, that’s the time to unload all those concerns about deadlines and dropped balls.

The best managers we’ve met always saw each of their employees as a whole person—especially during a crisis. Whatever they’re going through, make sure it isn’t the subject of every conversation you have. If you used to talk about sports or kids or movies, keep doing that. If work is helping them hold it together, follow their lead and discuss the work, just like before. Treating an employee in crisis like they’re still who they always were can help them feel more like themselves too.

1 moment to master

A great way to stay on track when someone on your team gets sideswiped is to have a plan at the ready. This week, take some time to review the supports your company offers, like paid time off, counselling, loans, or an EAP. Then, get familiar with the terms and what an employee would need to do to access those benefits.

Also, assess your team’s readiness to act as a support network too:

  • Do you have a phone tree or chat group that could quickly raise a meal-delivery or fundraising army?
  • Who could you call on to step in or take on extra duties if needed?
    • Keep privacy in mind: always get permission from the employee before revealing any personal information.
  • Sketch out what your team can do before a crisis hits to help avoid brain lock later, when emotions are high.

 

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3 Ways to Fill Your Cup in 2022 by Heather R Younger

By Heather Younger | Jan 11, 2022 | Comments Off

 

"It’s so important to give our mind, body, and soul sustenance so we can put forth the best versions of ourselves." 

What Does it Really Mean to Fill Your Cup?

Coming into a new year, filling ourselves up and understanding what this means for us will make all the difference with how effective we will be in 2022. Filling your cup is taking the time to care just as much for yourself as you do for others. It’s so important to give our mind, body, and soul sustenance so we can put forth the best versions of ourselves.

We cannot give what we do not have.

Someone once gave me the metaphor of a cup on a saucer. As we keep pouring into our cup, eventually it will overflow onto the saucer. If we continue to give from inside the cup and not from the overflow, what happens? The cup runs dry. We run dry too.

Implementing Positive Daily Changes

My best advice is to calendar everything that you do. Personal or work-related. Build those physical, mental, and spiritual health time blocks into your day. Mind Over Latte gives great examples on how to sprinkle small changes into your day to give yourself the personal time you really need.

Nourishing Your Body, Mind, & Soul

Take the time to move your body, whatever that means to you. When we feel good about ourselves physically, we feel good mentally. Everything is connected.

  • Go for a walk
  • Take a yoga class
  • Stretch for five minutes
  • Go for a bike ride
  • Go swimming

The most important thing you can do is give yourself grace. As easy as it may be to forgive others, remember to also forgive yourself of your imperfections. Giving yourself this grace and keeping your mind positively stimulated plays a huge part in your mental health.

  • Listen to an inspirational podcast
  • Read for fun
  • Call a loved one
  • Write a journal
  • Go for a coffee with a friend

Take quiet time to reflect, meditate, or pray. Think deeply about your day or week. In this new world full of chaos and drama, take the time to be quiet and sit with yourself.

  • Meditate for five minutes
  • Close your eyes and take 10 deep breaths
  • Write down what you are grateful for
  • Attend prayer service
  • Cuddle with your children

Make time to move, be quiet, and give yourself grace. There is power to be found in the silence of your mind; cherish it and fill up your cup in this new year!


 

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How to Attract Top Talent in 2022 by Heather R Younger

By Heather Younger | Nov 29, 2021 | Comments Off

 

"Listening is actively listening, it’s seeking to understand" 

Video Transcription
After over 25,000 surveys and years of working with organizations to transform employee engagement, here's what we've seen over and over. When you know how to listen, employees will tell you exactly what they need to bring their full selves to work. When they feel seen, heard and valued, they will do whatever it takes to help the organization be successful.

You can’t reimagine a better workplace or move forward a new project unless you recognize what's not being said inside your culture. So, how do you feel when someone listens to you, and I mean really listens to you? When they take time out of their day to listen to your thoughts, your concerns and your ideas. It feels good to be heard, doesn't it?

When we feel heard, we feel understood, we feel valued. We feel validated. So, for the last several years, I have been on a mission to help organizations understand the impact of listening, and I mean really listening.

Some years ago, I worked at an organization where I led customer experience and I loved my job. Then one day, I got the news. They were going to be merging our company with four others. Now, I'm sure you could imagine what that brought up. Mistrust, anxiety and fear.

There was a lack of communication that was going on all around and no one knew what was going on. So, I had gone to the head of HR and I said, “You know what? We have got to do something about employee engagement, something about our culture. It's going downhill fast.”
And she said, “You know, you're right. You go do that.”

I’m like, “I'm in customer experience.” So, I took her up on it and I created an employee engagement council. Inviting people who were from the other companies who I thought might be open and receptive to being around the table - trying to get to the bottom of what would make this merger a success.

But, it needed everyone. And the leadership team? They looked outside. They didn't get it. They didn't get that there were people right there. Five companies. Ready and willing to give them all they needed to know to make this merger a success. But they didn't know how to listen.

So how do we do it? How do we get there? Well, there's a process. The first thing we have to do is recognize what's not being said. How do you do that? Well, you have to be kind of aware enough to say, I know there's something I don't know. And that's because probably people aren't safe enough or don't trust me enough to tell me what I should know. And, I know that because I don't know it. There's a blind spot. That's a problem.

So, I need to acknowledge that first, before I can even move on to listening. Listening is actively listening, it’s seeking to understand - it’s digging deep and removing my own ways, removing my filter to be able to step into your shoes and understand your filter. So, we’ve got to get there first and then we seek to understand and then we actually listen.

When we’re thinking about diversity, inclusion, belonging and we're thinking about the things we can influence and control - we can control this. We can control how we seek to understand and how empathetic we are and the compassion we exhibit for people in their shoes. And we can decide to be courageous, when it's necessary.

We all agreed earlier that when we hear people's stories, we learn, we get better and we grow. It’s the action behind the act of listening that makes our voices come to life, makes us realize we matter and that action is the same thing as compassion.

You can own a part in this process and you can use it to ensure that those that are in your presence feel listened to, feel valued, feel validated.

This is the future of work. When you invest in your people, they invest back into you. They will tell you everything you need to know to be successful and to get the outcomes you're looking for. Let's get to listening.

 

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How Leaders Can Identify Microaggressions at Work and Shut Them Down by Heather R Younger

By Heather Younger | Nov 08, 2021 | Comments Off
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"Ending Microaggressions Promotes Employee Retention" 

Creating a safe work environment is imperative if leaders want employees to stay with the organization, innovate, go above and beyond for the team, and exceed customer expectations. If employees don't feel safe, they will not feel loyal or committed to the team and seeing the organization succeed. Acknowledging microaggressions and protecting employees from attacks on who they are is a major move toward making the workplace safe for everyone.

Read Full Article (PDF) >

This article originally appeared in HR NEWS
https://www.ipma-hr.org/stay-informed/hr-news-issues/hr-news-issue/hr-news-october-2021 (members)

 

 

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Why Managers Should Always Be Recruiting by Clint Pulver

By Clint Pulver | Oct 18, 2021 | Comments Off

Who is Clint Pulver? Watch video to learn more about his incredible and inspiring keynote experience that he brings to every company, every audience with irresistible style.

Maybe this has happened to you: your business is unexpectedly short-staffed, so you put out a hasty job posting. It gets shared around online and the résumés flood in. But—catch 22—because you’re overworked, you don’t have time to truly assess those candidates. So, you go through them quickly and settle on the one who seems like the best of the bunch.

It might feel like a relief to check that box, but what you’ve actually done is create a bigger problem down the road. Why? You’ve put the vacancy first, not the hire. The pressure of needing a warm body has led you to get your recruitment priorities backwards, and now you have people on your team who may not fit, may not thrive, and may even be undermining your workforce.

Hey, I get it! Being understaffed can feel like an emergency—everyone is rushed, details are getting missed, no one is happy, and customers might even be walking out the door. But if you skip the work of choosing the right person, you could be taking that temporary state of emergency and turning it into your business as usual.

So here are three words to remember if you don’t want your short-term staffing demands to dictate your long-term success: Always. Be. Recruiting.

4 Strategies Great Companies Use to Actively Recruit

In all of our workplace analysis, the most innovative organizations we’ve come across are proactive. What does that mean? It means they are always looking for good employees. Always! They never let a deadline or vacancy take control of who joins their team—and they don’t let a crisis define who they become.

Remember: recruiting is not hiring. You don’t have to end up managing a team of 1,000 with a payroll for 100. Recruiting is about keeping an eye out for the best people, whether or not you plan to hire anyone in the immediate horizon.

What does that look like in practice? Here are the top four strategies we’ve seen great companies use to identify and attract the workforce they want.

1. Keep a standing invitation on your careers page

Job postings are by nature reactive. Yes, they are a necessary outreach tool, but they aren’t your only tool. Proactive companies keep a permanent notice on their careers page that invites people to get in touch or send in a résumé—and they keep it there whether or not there is an active opening. If a promising person approaches them who looks like they’d be a great fit, they keep in touch, start a conversation, invite them in for a coffee meeting or a tour. And, when a job opening does come up, they take the initiative to reach out and invite them to apply.

2. Build relationships with talented people

The more connected and active you are in your industry, the better the chances that you’ll cross paths with amazing people. Go to industry conferences and events, go to job fairs, look for opportunities to speak about your industry at schools and training institutions. And when you meet someone who could be a good fit for your team someday—whether that’s a young student starting out, an intern, a great contractor, or even a colleague from a different company—don’t let that opportunity pass you by! Keep in touch, make yourself of service, and build a relationship so that you’re top of mind when they’re looking for something new.

3. Maintain a welcoming company culture

If I was a young person interested in your industry and I visited your business, what would I see? How welcoming is your company—your website, your culture, your branding, even your physical space? A welcoming company culture is about more than friendliness: it’s openness, where outsiders feel invited, and can see who you are and how you work. It’s accessibility (in all senses of the word). It’s both diversity and unity. And it’s visibility, through social media, LinkedIn posts, outreach, and online and real-world events.

4. Have an employee referral program

Successful managers understand that their existing employees are their best pipeline for reaching more talent. Like is attracted to like, and people who are smart, talented, educated, curious, empathetic, driven, friendly, or even simply experienced in a given field tend to hang out with others with the same qualities. An in-house referral program that encourages and rewards employees who recommend potential hires will help you tap into the social and professional networks of the employees you already have. And the more great people you bring on, the more great people you’ll have access to.

Challenge: Conduct a Recruiting Audit of Your Company

So how ready is your business to welcome the people you want working for you? This week, take some time to look at your company with the eyes of an outsider, and to consider questions like these:

  • What does our website and careers page look like? Does it read like a “sorry no vacancy” sign, or is it a welcome mat and a window into our culture? If a talented person came across our site when we didn’t have an active opening, how likely would they be to consider us as a potential career option?
  • How visible and open is our culture? When someone comes onto our sales floor or into our workspace, what kind of image do we present as a team? Who would feel like they belong here—and who might we be excluding?
  • How many of our employees would recommend us to their friends—and what motivation do they have to do so? What have I done in the past when I met someone who could be a future asset to our company? Did I call it a missed opportunity because the timing wasn’t right for one of us? Or did I follow up and start building a relationship? What will I do next time?
  • What is my organization doing to tap into the social and professional networks of our best employees?

Your answers to these questions can reveal what you need to improve to set yourself up to hire right the next time you need someone. Look at what you’re doing, analyze the results, and think about what you can change to be more proactive.

And when you do have a job opening, I can’t say it enough: if you want a team that works, do not settle. It may not be first, or the third, or even the fiftieth candidate who applies, but if you’re attuned to what you want, the right person will come along. And the more you protect your culture by careful hiring, the more attractive you’ll become to the kind of person who wants to work in that culture. And, soon enough, the right people will be coming to you.

 

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Active Listening: The Greatest Skill by Heather R Younger

By Heather Younger | Oct 14, 2021 | Comments Off

"Nonetheless, I must recommit to seeking to understand those around me before taking any action. The caring leader does this and then reflects on what he or she hears."

Listening and Leadership

The mark of a good leader is one who is caring. I define caring leadership as “taking daily actions in ways that show concern and kindness to those we lead”. At the core of being a good, caring leader, lies the crucial skill of listening. Leaders in any walk of life, whether extensively trained, or called on to lead in a passing moment, all seek to possess a deep understanding of the people they lead or the problem they seek to resolve. The best path to gain this understanding is via listening. Listening is the express lane that takes you straight to your desired destination while avoiding the obstacles and roadblocks that delay the flow of traffic.

Listening and Employee Engagement

If leaders focus on staying in the listening express lane, they will coincidentally build up a culture of listening within their organizations. I want to include an excerpt from my latest book, The Art of Caring Leadership, to reveal my own personal testimony on the effects of listening in my leadership role.

“Personally, I move very fast in and out of projects and even in and out of thoughts. Sometimes, this makes those around me feel that they are not a part of the process. Often, I feel myself going into hyperdrive. Then I slow myself down and begin to see the others who are with me on this journey. I know that I need to include their voices and their input.

I am not always great at executing on that. I continue to work on this, and because it is so important to me, I make it a priority. Nonetheless, I must recommit to seeking to understand those around me before taking any action. The caring leader does this and then reflects on what he or she hears (92).”

I have listened to tens of thousands of employee survey comments, and worked with countless organizations to build cultures of listening. Once a sturdy culture of listening takes root within an organization, every time without fail, their employee engagement numbers soar. Loyalty and buy-in reach peaks, and consequently, happy employees mean successful business.

An article entitled, “The Power of Listening” by Forbes, states:

Effective active listening within an organizational setting has been shown to produce a wide range of positive benefits for companies, leaders and individuals, such as: (1) building stronger relationships, (2) developing greater trust, (3) more effective team collaborations, (4) enhanced individual and group decision-making, (5) greater productivity and (6) enhanced creativity and innovation.

Clearly, the list of positive effects of listening is extensive within an organization. But, the simple yet powerful strategy of active listening extends far beyond the reaches of your workplace.

Let me tell you a story.

Listening in Customer Engagement

I once served as a leader in client development, which meant I worked in our sales department. One day, I heard that one of our biggest clients was significantly unhappy with the process we were using which had been established by our leadership team. This was a two-million-dollar client on the verge of leaving because they were dissatisfied with one of our systems and processes. Were we going to cling to our rule book and run the risk of losing this valuable client? Not on my watch. I took my understanding of the client’s needs to my leadership. I knew there was the chance they wouldn’t listen to me or take the situation seriously, but I owed the client at least a shot at positive change.

However, it did go well. I got leadership’s attention and we began the process of changing our strategy. We even included the client in our roundtables and redesign project. Their voices guided us to our solution. Because we brought in the client and welcomed them to our table and acted on their word, they felt valued and decided to rely on us even more heavily. They became an even bigger client of ours. This all began with the listening process.

Listening and Relationships

Listening is not only the crux of caring leadership, it must be the foundation of any relationship. For example, active listening is singlehandedly the most powerful tactic a salesperson can wield. When we tune into the needs and desires of those we serve, whether they be our superiors, peers, direct reports clients, or people in our personal lives, we will see a direct return on our relationships.

This story illustrates how I felt confident enough that I would be listened to within my organization to bring forward a crucial piece of information from our client. I caused disruption and change, but I also caused us to increase our revenue and build a stronger relationship with our client. I knew my organization would listen to its employees. I listened to our client, and our sales process was transformed to always involve a listening step to better work with each client’s specific needs.

I encourage anyone reading this to take listening to the next level, whether that be in their personal relationships, with their employees or with their customers. There are no negative side effects when it comes to listening. Merge into that express lane and steer your organization towards listening and towards greatness.

Buy Heather's book today, "The Art of Caring Leadership: How Leading with Heart Uplifts Teams and Organizations" 

 

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How to Use “Designed Moments” to Earn Employee Loyalty by Clint Pulver

By Clint Pulver | Sep 30, 2021 | Comments Off

The employees we’ve interviewed who loved where they work had a very specific quality in common: they trusted their managers.

One of the biggest misconceptions we come across in our undercover workplace research is the idea that employees have to earn the trust of their managers. If you are a leader who still views loyalty this way, it’s time to flip your script. Because you can’t expect trust if you haven’t earned it yourself.

The employees we’ve interviewed who loved where they work had a very specific quality in common: they trusted their managers. They knew they could ask for help in a crisis; they knew they could express a worry or a complaint without being punished for it somewhere down the line. And because these employees trusted their leaders—meaning they didn’t have to perform under the weight of anxiety or resentment—they felt free to return that same loyalty.

And we’ve found in our research that they return it by the boatload.

Creating Employee Trust Through Designed Moments

Earning that level of trust from your staff is not about making a big show of what a great pal you are, or what a super cool boss you can be. It’s about little, everyday actions—I call them “designed moments.” These types of moments are the #1 thing that come up when we ask employees to tell us about a manager who inspired unbreakable loyalty.

What is a designed moment? It’s simply a moment of attention and consideration—one that stands out and feels like the opposite of the daily routine. Moments like these can have a sense of wonder to them, giving an employee a deep sense of being noticed, supported, and even cared for. Think of them as a personalized action you can take to turn an ordinary workday into a powerful memory.

Sounds pretty incredible, right? But, it’s more subtle than you think.

Here are just a few real-world examples of designed moments that made a huge impact on the employees we’ve interviewed:

• Inviting the team out for a surprise lunch
• Sending a six-month supply of diapers to an employee who had a new baby
• Launching a GoFundMe campaign for an employee who was having a health crisis
• Picking up the phone and checking in on how an employee was doing after an ambitious project fell through
• “Calling out” an employee’s contribution to a success, and offering a heartfelt thanks
• Recognizing an employee’s specific talents, and the future the manager saw in them

Get the idea? Simple, thoughtful actions, made regularly over time with each employee.

Building a Bank Account of Trust

Do these moments seem small? Well, they are. But it’s their very smallness that packs such a powerful degree of surprise and meaning for the employees who receive them. That’s the amazing thing about designed moments: it isn’t about staging a huge event, like paying for college or sending your employees on a vacation. You’re not holding a lottery, with random big winners. Instead, what you’re doing is making regular deposits of trust.

It’s like building a bank account of loyalty with each of your employees. And, just like with a bank account, when you deposit a lot—even if it’s slowly, in small amounts—you can ask for more in return.

Over time, each of your designed moments—each investment you make in care, attention, and praise—will move your employees closer to a relationship founded in trust, connection, and, yes, even love. But you can only reap those returns if you keep making your deposits.

And I mean with each employee, as often as you can.

Challenge: Create a Designed Moment

There is no recipe for a designed moment—and that’s because they have to be genuine, and—this is the most important thing—they have to be personalized both to the situation and to the employee. So, to determine the best way to design a moment for a given employee, you have to invest your time and interest in that person, and get to know them as an individual: their talents, goals, hopes, dreams, interests—and disinterests, too.

Here’s where to start: with one single employee. Pick someone—perhaps a person you’ve been struggling to connect with—and try to design one moment that will have meaning for that person. Is there a big life event on the horizon you could acknowledge or support? Something they have accomplished at work to celebrate? What kind of action could you take that might startle them out of their daily grind—in a really good way?

Can’t think of anything? That’s a clue you need to start a little further back. Invest some time in getting to know that employee better. Work alongside them. Ask about their lives. Pay a little more attention to how their workday is going. This groundwork will give you better insight into what might make an impact for that individual.

Remember: deposits of trust aren’t about making a big show. They’re about simply being there for your employees, both in the literal and metaphorical sense.

It’s Time to Take Responsibility for Trust

If you want your people to truly commit to you, you first have to earn it. Yes, winning that trust—building those individual bank accounts—takes effort and time (sometimes lots of time). But once you have loyalty, it’s contagious—and it won’t be long before you’ve created a workplace culture in which your whole team has each other’s back.

So, design those impact moments, invest in that loyalty, and keep making those small, everyday deposits of trust. Because if your people trust you, they will give their all for you.

 

Clint-Pulver-Undercover-Millenial-Speaker

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