It’s hard to believe that its December already. The calendar year is almost complete and Christmas is soon upon us. Employees everywhere are feeling the strains – the burdens of the things they need to do in preparation for Christmas with their loved ones and the work they need to complete before the end of the year. There’s a countdown going on, perhaps a silent one as no one dare admit that they are looking forward to some time off – a break from it all…

…a break from the daily grind!

It’s interesting how we don’t bat an eyelid when we hear that phrase – the daily grind! We accept it as part of what we do every day. But grind for me has such negative connotations when you consider it with work. When I think about grinding something (maybe coffee or pepper) I think about actively and persistently crushing it, reducing it to powder and doing that with force and friction.

So when I consider this in the work context, it makes me shudder to think what the daily grind of our day job is doing to people…

…An organisation’s most valuable asset!

I’ve seen the affects (both physical and mental) of this grind very recently with one of my coaching clients and in my post-programme reflection, I wonder to myself how many organisations really believe that their employees are truly their most valuable asset.

With the demands placed on employees being much greater than ever before, I am totally convinced that now is an even more important time for organisations to take that statement seriously.

So what can you do to ensure you truly consider your employees to be your most valuable asset?

My view – consider them …at the very least… as an equal to your other assets!!

When you consider the other big assets of your company, you

  • clearly know the value of it to you and your organisation,
  • understand what is needed to keep that asset in its best condition for your business
  • appreciate the demands you place on that asset and are prepared to continually invest in that asset as a result

…and in keeping close to the impact that asset is having on your balance sheet you take whatever action is necessary to keep that asset in its best and most valuable condition for your business.

Lets look at an example… if you’re in manufacturing, you may have significant costs associated with the business’ machinery – both the upfront and ongoing investment that is required to ensure that machinery is in full working order, looking sparkly and healthy, operating smoothly…. and doing this every day! You take the effort to maintain that machinery because you know the repercussions if you didn’t. A disruption to manufacturing, to the service offering for your customers, an impact on sales and a heftier bill to repair or replace than if you’d taken good care of it in the first place.

So how do you care for your employees just like your other assets?

I’ve been reflecting on my days as an employee in business in answering this question and I genuinely believe that the times when I felt like the business really cared for me and my welfare was when they truly connected with me.

So from that reflection here’s my 6 top tips to help you (as a manger, leader, director) on your way to connecting better with your employees…

  1. Develop strength in your managerial character. Be brave & face into the difficult conversations with your employees …even if you’re not sure you’ll have the answer. A manager who treats their employees as a valuable part of their team regardless of the challenges that they face will be so much more respected by their team members than one who doesn’t.
  2. Engage your team member  1-1. Talk to your team members as individuals and connect 1-1 with them – avoid comparisons with other team members – remember everyone is different.  Be prepared to explore what’s going on for them, what matters to them, what affects them… without judgement of course.
  3. In that conversation, listen to the employee’s concerns. I mean really listen – put yourself in the shoes of the person you are talking to and see things from their perspective. This will help you really connect with the reality of whatever issues they are facing in their day-to-day role.
  4. Ask questions – to ensure you understand and to explore on a deeper level from the information that they present to you. You will not only get a greater insight into the challenges that others could be facing too, but this will show the employee that you care about what is important to them and their well-being.
  5. Take Action – Show support to your employees by considering the things that are in your control to change and be honest about the things that you know you can’t change. A manager/leader who is open, flexible to changing things and willing to share the burden of getting to an alternative resolution will reinforce the message to an employee that he/she cares.
  6. Ongoing support – Just like you do for your machinery, find ways to regularly check-in with the employee to ensure they have a level of support that they feel is appropriate for them. Even if an employee doesn’t always take up this offer, knowing that the door is open will provide a much more open and honest relationship between you.

Tell me what you think…

…I’d love to hear your thoughts. What are you or your organisation doing to enable your employees to be happy and productive, maintained to full working order? Sharing your thoughts and ideas may well help the next employee, manager, leader struggling with the impact of the daily grind on their workforce.

Keen to get going?

If your team, department or organisation is feeling the affects of the daily grind and you’d like to see your people looking healthy, running smoothly and in full working order then please get in contact I’d be happy to discuss how my workplace programmes can help you get the best out of your most valuable asset.

“Everybody understands that you’re supposed to say ‘our employees are our most valuable asset’ to the point where, even if it’s really true, they’re not going to really trust you until you’ve earned that – same with customers.”

– Gabe Newell