Caring is Sharing

I've been wrestling with what to write for the first official Mixtape Talent blog post and after reviewing about 23 million possible topics, I decided to go back to basics and spend some time thinking about an essential part of company culture (also, I now have 23 million topics to inspire me for future posts, so I'll never be able to use that as an excuse for not keeping this thing updated).

Every single one of us wants to feel valued, respected and seen. Doesn't matter what we do for a living, if that's missing from the equation, our employee experience is going to be out of alignment. And it's not a big ask; in a world where companies offer amazing perks out the wazoo (all expenses paid trip to Mexico, anyone?) it's really the least we can do AND it's totally and completely free. 

A mind-blowing 79% of people who leave their job cite lack of appreciation as a primary reason for exiting. Here are five simple things you can do to make sure that doesn't happen in your company:

1. Share frequent, specific and actionable feedback. 65% of employees report wanting more feedback, so what are you waiting for? Feedback not only helps improve performance and increase client satisfaction, it also shows your employees that you're paying attention to their efforts and are invested in their professional development. Don't just wait for big things to happen; something that might seem small to you may be a big deal to your reports. Feedback = growth, and with that mindset, everyone wins.

2. Demonstrate trust. Micromanagers, I'm looking in your direction! Showing your team that you trust them goes a long way towards them feeling valued. Think back to a time when you had a boss who dictated how to compose an email, or told you how to solve a problem before you'd even finished explaining the challenge. I'm guessing you probably didn't feel too great after those interactions; your employees are no different. Remember, you hired these folks for a reason. Set them up for success and then give them the space to put their signature on the work. Refer to Tip #1 if the outcome isn't what you hoped for. Lather, rinse, repeat.

3. Get to know your people. Your folks have full lives outside of the office; aren't you even a tiny bit interested in finding out what's happening after hours? You don't have to become BFFs with them (that's for another blog post) but you can bother to learn their spouse/partner/kids/pets names or ask some questions about where they went on vacation. Until the robots take over the world, you're working with actual humans. Make sure humanity is a core part of your culture.

4. Fun is important. Great news! 79% of the millennial workforce believes that having fun at work is a big deal, so it turns out those happy hours and ping pong tables are a smart investment. Fun breeds creativity and fosters connections within teams and organizations, a key component to retaining all of those awesome people you worked so hard to recruit and develop in the first place. Creating opportunities for socialization and allowing people to step away from their desks - even for just a little bit - goes a long way to fostering a culture of value and respect.

5. Develop an Employee Recognition Program. You have a ton of options here, from investing in a platform designed to celebrate the success of your people, to creating one from scratch. Don't just limit it to feedback from managers, though. Peer feedback is critical to the health and wellness of high-performing teams, so make sure to create opportunities for everyone to share the love. And don't just look at what someone is doing inside the office; consider cheering people on for their outside activities as well. Not only does this recognize the contributions that people are bringing to the community, it also shows that your company values having a life outside of the office.

Bottom line: Showing your employees that you see them as more than just worker bees is good business, good karma and good old fashioned common sense.