In this guest post, Georgia Murch, a workplace culture expert and author of Feedback Flow; The Ultimate Illustrated Guide to Embed Change in 90 Days, offers easy tips to improve staff morale and a fatter bottom line to your business…
We don’t spend enough quality time with our people. Or sometimes we just don’t spend enough time with them at all. We invest so much in recruiting and inducting the right people into our teams and organisations yet when it comes to investing in their growth and development, the momentum stops. It’s like getting married and thinking yep… I’ve got this covered now. And we all know that gets us know where fast. It requires work and effort. The same for our people. The more we invest in them, the better the relationship, their performance improves, the team grows and ultimately the culture becomes kick arse. I call it the ripple effect. It’s not rocket science. It’s quality time with our people.
I get it. Task is king. Let’s just get through the immediate issues and then move on the next. We don’t have time to discuss the other stuff like career aspirations or how they can work through their own people and personal issues. When helping them solve their own problems and we slip into old school mode or telling not helping them work through the solution. We blame time. Yet I think that’s our excuse. We just don’t know how to use it the best way. That’s all.
In 2015 Deloitte were looking at bold ideas and strategies to improve the results in their business with the talent they had. There was strong evidence that the current method of biannual performance reviews was not working. The company knew that they needed to improve the quantity and quality of the conversations their leaders had with their people. When their people were engaged it had a direct link to their productivity and performance. So they asked themselves: Why are we playing with what we have rather than trying something new and different?
Alec Bashinsky, the mastermind behind the new global performance culture for Deloitte, knew things needed to be different. Employees set up the meetings. Managers drove the conversations. Training was offered to employees and managers to facilitate robust coaching conversations. Rigorous measurements were set up to track the impact these check-ins were having, and the company was transparent in sharing the results with everyone.
A year after the changes were introduced, the results were compelling. The more ‘check-ins’ their leaders had with their people, the greater the overall engagement score
They found that the greater frequency of catch ups their leaders had with their people, the greater the engagement. In fact, one check-in per month drove 19 per cent increased engagement, while one check-in per week drove a staggering 44 per cent increase in engagement.
The more regularly they invest in their people, the more they invest in the business. Crazy right?!
When Hewlett Packard was moving towards a more conversation orientated culture they found that when feedback was not being given, engagement dropped by at least 20 per cent. Abode tells us that ‘feedback is the backbone of growth and development check-ins are vital to it’.
Conversations matter. Quantity and quality.
When we focus on the quality of conversations and have them more regularly, outside performance conversations the results are tangible. These catch ups move on from just focusing on the task list and putting out the busy fires, to addressing the spot fires before they blow up. Great catch ups help your people think about their long-term career so they don’t have to wait for performance reviews. They teach people to solve their own problems so they become less dependent on you and grow into a high performer. They make the team and culture better. They help people prep for the tough situations and conversations so there is less to deal with in the day to day.
Kick arse catch ups helps leaders understand how to design and run super productive, engaging and performance-driven catch ups. Yes, we focus on our immediate tasks, our long-term goals and career development but it’s also an incredible opportunity to embed giving and receiving feedback into our everyday. For it to become habitual … and normal.