It seems like a daunting task to implement change in the workforce, but when broken down, even the smallest gestures can begin altering it. With a wide set of skills and generations employed, leaders are left wondering if the way they’ve been operating is still the most efficient way today. Some are utilizing redevelopment resources and techniques to create a thriving workplace culture and propagate thoughtful practices that keep good employees empowered and engaged.
No budget? No problem
Workplace unhappiness can be attributed to a multitude of reasons, but it’s imperative to recognize that unhappy employees create an unhappy environment, leading to production not reaching full potential. That doesn’t mean there isn’t anything that can’t be done. Incorporating change in the workforce could be what they and the municipality needs. The major part in redeveloping is understanding and appreciating the differences everyone has to offer.
Some changes that can be implemented without a budget include providing consistent constructive feedback, assigning teams to work on a project, carrying conversations, grabbing lunch together, dismantling preconceptions of different generations and generally seeing employees as human beings. Several organizations have become so driven that the workforce becomes an intense overwhelming place where employees are no longer treated like or looked at as people. Employees are more than numbers on a spreadsheet and are more than what they can do for their job.
Techniques that Josh Schneider, founder of Millennial & Employee Engagement Institute, discusses in keynote speaking engagements are about empowering employees by letting them know they matter, keeping them engaged by offering varied experiences and giving constructive feedback to help them grow.
“The work that you do is tied to impact,” explained Schneider. “Leaders simply have to care, connect the impact of the work employees are doing and give them varied experiences. In doing that, it makes them think the leader cares about them. Not feeling appreciated is the biggest reason most people leave their jobs.”
Feedback is a major way to give employees some insight on how they’re performing. Annual performance evaluations aren’t enough to get a clear look as to what employees are doing right and wrong, whether they’re improving and growing. By giving them a quick comment or email when they do something well or need to work on something, they can feel more involved and empowered in knowing where they stand rather than stumbling around blindly.
Providing feedback may seem intimidating for leaders, but those on the receiving end are more appreciative. Everyone thrives on feedback as it motivates them to be better. By shifting from annual performance evaluations to feedback sessions throughout the year, managers will more effectively convey their messages while employees will get better at receiving them.
Cassandra Halls, founder of 2 The Top, recommends breaking down preconceptions leaders and employees have towards generations as it can be harmful in not doing so. To rid the workforce of generational preconceptions, a variety of employees can be teamed up and work together. That would give them the ability to learn from each other’s skills and exchange information.
“The challenges we’re having will always be with those who are newest,” explained Halls. “The biggest obstacles are the assumptions and perceptions of generations. We have to be willing to embrace them, make improvements in the workplace and drive innovation.” Glancing into the future
Long-term changes will cause the workforce to continuously adapt. Mentoring, internships, coaching, info sessions and employee outings are ideas Halls suggests investing in to prep incoming generations in the workforce as well as keeping current employees updated. Continuous adaptation sets employees on their toes and doesn’t give them a chance to settle into a stagnant routine where they could eventually become resistant to change in the future.
“It isn’t a quick fi x for a leader to change the workplace culture,” commented Schneider. “I know there are budgets and constraints that limit opportunity to be innovative. You need patience. A municipality could be locked in, thinking it doesn’t have the flexibility or that everything is too regulated for change.
“When it comes down to it, the leaders set the tone, and they have the incredible opportunity to show this person that they have value. Help develop their strengths in a work culture that thrives in appreciation and recognition. It doesn’t have to be massive sweeping changes. It can happen one person at a time. It could happen over getting coffee with someone who’s on your team.”
A variety of programs can be brought in for leaders and employees, strengthening morale and making them feel like their positions matter. Leaders can attend talks and workshops, sharing what they’ve learned with each other while implementing it in their department. Employee programs can be similar to info sessions that keep them updated on what’s going on with current projects, eliminating the possibility that people could be lost and uncertain.
In Carlisle, Iowa, the idea of hosting info sessions has sparked a change within the municipality where people are no longer uncertain on projects. The certainty established in the sessions created a sense of security where employees are no longer intimidated in asking questions or speaking to others. By lifting the cloud of uncertainty, the municipality has become a brighter outgoing place to work.
“Make sure you understand that your employees aren’t nine-to-five worker bees and just there for the paycheck,” explained Carlisle City Administrator Andy Lent. “They have a place in the organization. They should feel needed and appreciated.”
Josh Schneider’s constructive feedback follows “I like, I wish, I wonder.” For example:
- I like the work you did.
- I wish we talked in more detail about…
- I wonder if next you could…