F word. F bomb. F this. F that.
I’m sure that by now you are freaking out, thinking that this post is somehow going to be about the mother of all F words. Nope, you’re not even close. I’m talking about feelings. Specifically, the feelings of those in your workforce. Ask yourself, can you confidently provide me with feedback on how your employees are feeling? Are they being challenged in their work? Are they getting along with their coworkers? Do they see their manager as a coach, mentor and leader or do they have to go outside of the company to find professional inspiration? Does your team understand this year’s business objectives? Are they aware of how their day-to-day contributions impact the mission and vision of the company? If you froze in panic when you started asking yourself those questions, don’t flip out. Often, those of us that operate as an HR Department of One (aka the solo HR practitioner) can get caught up in the day-to-day operational grind so we have to carve out time to push everything else aside and focus on our people strategy, which includes getting a strong pulse on our employee’s engagement levels.
As I take time this week to prepare the slide deck for my quarterly management HR review/presentation, I am reviewing the results of our semiannual Employee Pulse survey. This survey is a great way for me to get a strong global pulse on how our employees are feeling about our organization; how are team members feeling about their short-and-long-term goals, career development, their understanding of our strategic business objectives and how they individually and collectively contribute to the success of the organization. It also gives me important feedback about how I’m doing as their HR leader: are team members participating and engaging in our wellness program, do they enjoy the monthly team building activities planned for them, am I flushing out opportunities for continued training and development (based on the focus of the business), am I constructively coaching managers and supervisors to be great leaders, and are there any outstanding issues that employees would like to see addressed on a more global level? And after I think about the aforementioned questions, what are my next steps to addressing the results, creating an action plan around said results and when can I sit down with managers to discuss the feedback as it relates to their performance and strategic focus?
Because a strong HR leader knows that they can never stop learning if they want to continue to be ahead of the curve on all things HR development related, I spent some reading about what my peers and thought leaders were thinking and feeling on the topic of engagement. I came across an interesting read from Paul Hebert over on symbolist.com’s blog where he ponders if there is a best day or time to talk with your employees about their feelings and the reasoning behind his preferred day to have managers discuss engagement with their team members.
Ask yourself: Do you have a preferred day to talk to your team about engagement and performance? Why did you choose that day specifically? What is your role in helping to prepare managers to have these sometimes uncomfortable conversations? What do you do with the employee that is incredibly engaged, a high performer and hasn’t tapped out their long-term potential? Conversely, what do you do with the employee that clearly isn’t engaged in his current role and is affecting the rest of his team? You probably hate me for leaving you with more questions, but now is the time to really think on these things as get farther along in the year and still have time to make the changes necessary to continue to work towards 2015 strategic objectives and goals.
Thank you to Paul Herbert at Symbolist for providing me with the inspiration for this post. You can read more of his HR musings on the Symbolist blog. Props to Donna Rogers, SPHR for prioritizing 4 tips for those of us that are the fearless HR Departments of One.