I’m inside credit unions and community banks a lot. All year long, coast-to-coast, small institutions, large institutions, simple and complex. One common question I’m often asked regardless of the size or complexity of the organization is, “How can we get our employees to be more engaged?”
While there are several ways to go about getting more engaged employees, I like to start with the most obvious, and in my opinion, the most impactful.
Become More Near-Sighted
As a leader, you’re accustomed to using vision—setting strategy, watching the market, observing your competition and relaying your organization’s long-term goals to your team. And no doubt, you have exceptional vision.
You’re far-sighted. You look to the horizon, and you put a plan in place to meet whatever challenges await you there. But that’s not enough.
As leaders, we must see everything—including what is closest to us. That should start with your people. The first, and primary, thing all employees need is to feel seen by their manager or leader. That’s right. They just want to know you see them, believe they are important as a person and care about them. You may ask, “That’s the main thing?” Yep, that’s it.
So why don’t more leaders know this or do it? My answer: I have no idea. Because at its core, the reason “seen” employees stay engaged is quite simple. They know someone cares.
Pay Employees More Than Money
As managers or leaders, we want our employees to give us 100% (or more), and we get frustrated when they fall short. Putting yourself in the employee’s shoes, why would they stay fully engaged if they felt you didn’t care about them?
Is it because they’re getting paid? Nope. That’s not a good answer.
People are people. They respond and “show up” based on the same variables in both their personal and professional lives. Whether we’re talking about their friends, family, spouses or any other relationship; they’ll only be “fully engaged” if they feel seen and cared about in an authentic way. It’s no different in the workplace. Why would it be?
So, pay them attention. Then they’ll show up.
Seeing is Believing (in Them)
Be intentional. Get to know your team members—as people—without any hint of an ulterior motive. Your staff can sniff out the slightest hint of insincerity, and it will do way more damage than you can possibly imagine.
Instead, see them. Make sure they feel seen. Do it because it’s the right thing to do. But along the way, you’ll find more engagement, and as a result, higher degrees of morale, lower degrees of turnover and more effectiveness.
Seeing is believing. Seeing is engaging.
And if you or your managers need some corrective lenses to get back on track, On The Mark Strategies leadership training provides detailed sessions to bring your credit union or community bank to the next level of engagement. Book a free consultation now!