Show Employees the Love, Especially during Uncertain Times; 5 Tips Leaders Can Use to Demonstrate Their Care

by Mike Messina

We often associate the month of February with acts of love. Cards, dinners, flowers and chocolates are given to those we value. As leaders, it’s important to show the love by demonstrating you value your team, not just around heartfelt holidays and not necessarily through gestures like buying flowers and chocolates, but instead through your words, actions, responses and programs you establish in the workplace. During uncertain times especially, strengthening your own leadership skills can help improve team members’ happiness and keep morale high.

By following the tips below, you’ll not only convey care, you’ll retain good people and create an environment where everyone feels appreciated and inspired about their work.

Communicate. Talk to your staff and check in with them individually. Do this every day. Don’t shy away from asking how a team member and his or her family members are doing and feeling, as many people are currently experiencing financial and health hardships. In doing so, you’ll create a family-like environment in which you earn their trust and they will feel comfortable approaching you when they need support or have ideas that can improve your business processes.

Support. When you’re communicating with your team regularly, you’ll have an understanding of what’s going on with your employees at work and in their personal lives. If you know a team member is experiencing a hardship at home, perhaps you can help by dropping off a meal at their front door. Outside of providing help or resources, listening and relating is a great way to support your team! If an employee shares a problem they’re having, think about how you’ve approached a similar situation (if you have) and share how you did or didn’t overcome the issue. Showing your own vulnerability makes you more relatable and it helps them overcome their own challenges.

Mentor. Mentoring is much more than telling someone what to do. It requires working with employees to make decisions, solve problems and develop skills. The younger workforce, especially, want and need mentoring from more senior staff. Young talent is the future of your business, so why wouldn’t you take the time to identify eager employees, recognize their strengths, cultivate their skills and give them opportunities to grow? They want a career path, so develop programs and plans for mentorships and then watch them succeed!

Acknowledge. Take a few minutes out of each day to individually acknowledge team members who are doing a great job. This shows that you see and hear them! And people need to feel seen and heard if you expect them to care about your company. Giving credit and expressing gratitude is a great way to acknowledge an employee. It takes only five minutes to send a brief email to your entire team after a win, expressing your gratitude for their talents and dedication, which contributed to the victory. Another easy way to acknowledge team members is with small treats like a complimentary lunch on their birthday or bringing bagels and coffee for them in the morning.

Flexibility. Nowadays, we are altering schedules and showing more flexibility in order to meet our employees where they’re at in their lives. Some team members may have children who are in remote learning situations, while others are caring for sick spouses and relatives. It’s important to respond with kindness and adaptability! Also, understand that, for many people, work-life balance is a top priority. Not only does work-life balance benefit the employee, but it also helps your business grow! A client or customer who engages with a happy and energetic employee will surely have a better experience than engaging with one who is exhausted, resentful or unsatisfied.

Mike Messina is general manager of Larry H. Miller Dodge Ram Avondale. He cares for 115 employees on a daily basis.

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