How to Motivate, Engage, & Retain Your Staff, this is the second topic in the 2021 Deer Oaks Leadership Certificate Webinar Series. I'm Greg Brannan from Deer Oaks. Good to be with you today. Before we get started, though, I want to give you a little bit of background information about the series. So back in March, we had our first session. First topic was, How to effectively delegate tasks and responsibilities. And then session 2, it's a quarterly series. Session 2 today, How to Motivate, Engage, & Retain Your Staff. Session 3 will be coming up in September. It's entitled, Successful Approaches the Difficult Employee Conversations. Excuse me. And session 4 is Moving from Manager to Leader, that'll be coming up in December.

As many of you know, if you attend all four of the topics this year in the Leadership Certificate Webinar series, you'll receive at the end of the year the Deer Oaks Leadership Certificate. Now, you can either attend the sessions live or by viewing the recording on demand, whatever works best for your schedule. And so I'm sharing that.

So if you missed the first session, the How to Effectively Delegate Test and Responsibilities that was held in March, you can still send an email to us and request to be sent the recording link so you can go online and at your leisure and you can listen to that. You can review that Webinar on your own time. And so again if you attend all four sessions this year in 2021 either live like today or by viewing the recording of the Webinar after the fact, you'll receive again, the Deer Oaks Leadership Certificate. So again, if you need the recording link to the first session if you miss that session and you want to catch up, hit Reply to your GoToWebinar invitation for today and ask our staff to send you the recording link for that first session. Again, that was, How to Effectively Delegate Tasks and Responsibilities back on March 29th.

And then if you also don't have the registration information for the next two sessions, The Successful Approach is difficult employee conversations coming up on September 20th. Then Session 4 will be, Moving From Manager to Leader, coming up on December 13. You could also hit, Reply to your GoToWebinar invitation for today and ask our staff to send you the registration link for either of both of those, we'd be happy to do that. So I wanted to give you that information about the Certificate program. We have had several thousand people receive the Deer Oaks Leadership Certificate over the past couple of years. And so hopefully, a lot of you will receive it as well this year.

I also want to ask you to please locate the Raise Hand icon in the GoToWebinar software in the upper right hand corner of your screen. And if you can see the slides clearly and hear my voice clearly, could you please click on the Raise Hand icon now. I just want to make sure we're good to go technology wise. That's great folks. It looks like we're good to go technology wise. Two other quick notes many of us nowadays when we jump on to an online platform like GoToWebinar or Zoom or Microsoft Teams, nowadays, it's pretty common for folks to automatically receive the audio over the computer. But as most of you know, the audio over the computer can be compromised by local weather conditions like a thunderstorm passing through your area or even a temporarily weak Wi-Fi signal.

And so if you have any issues receiving the audio through your computer today, you have a second option. Click on the Audio button in the GoToWebinar software in the upper right hand corner of your screen, and you can switch over from computer audio to phone call. And once you click on phone call, you'll receive a dial in number and a code. And if you dial in and enter the code, you'll be able to receive the audio over your telephone. And so I wanted to make sure you have that as an option, as well.

And then last but not least, as most of you from probably being on previous educational presentations like this one, when we do these GoToWebinar sessions, participants are in listen only mode, which means you won't be able to audibly ask questions during the content portion of the presentation, which would last today somewhere around 30 minutes, give or take. But your questions are important to me. And so when we get to the end of the content portion of the presentation, if you have any questions, please type your questions into the question box in the GoToWebinar software in the upper right hand corner of your screen, and we'll get to as many questions as time allows this afternoon. So I'm looking forward to that Q&A session here coming up shortly. Let's go ahead and get started folks.

I want to begin today with some research around the benefits of having a more engaged work team. The benefits are profound. I'm going to I'm going to highlight two different studies on employee engagement and their related studies. One was done by the Dale Carnegie Training Company. And that was very focused on specifically employee engagement. And so what they found with that training company found was that, highly engaged employees are 480 more committed to helping the organization succeed.

Folks, highly engaged employees they're all in. They give 100%, they want to be there, they're emotionally committed to the mission of the organization and they really want to do a great job. Those folks are also 250% more likely to recommend improvements. I mean, again, they take ownership of the organization. They believe in the organization are committed to helping it succeed. And so they go out of their way to take the initiative to recommend improvements.

Last but not least, they're 370% more likely to recommend the organization to others out in the marketplace. And I think we have a pretty competitive job market nowadays and so in America. And so having your employees be recommending your organization out on the street is one of the best recruiting methods out there. Word of mouth references and referrals from existing employees is a great way to bring employees into the organization. And engaged employees are much more likely to recommend the organization to others.

The second study I want to talk about is a study that's very close to engagement. It's around employee satisfaction. But if you think about employee satisfaction and employee engagement are very close. They overlap greatly, because satisfied employees are happy and typically engaged, and engaged employees are typically satisfied and happy. Well, Globoforce research said that happy satisfied employees stay twice as long with their organization.

So they can really-- having engaged happy employees can truly help the retention of your best employees. They're 85% more efficient in their work. They're going to do a better job, they're going to be committed to quality work. They're 10 times less likely to take sick leave. And that's a profound statistic. They love what they do. And they love coming to work. Instead of TGF, thank God it's Friday, they say TGIM, thank God it's Monday, they like coming to work. And they're very slow to take a sick day. And they're 58% more likely to help their colleagues, they're good teammates, they go out of their way to help their colleagues. And so again having engaged in and satisfied employees is a key to having a motivated and productive work team.

So hopefully, those research studies motivate us all to want to do a little bit better of a job of creating an environment where our employees are going to get engaged. And so Part One, I want to talk about, let me give you an overview. We're going to talk about Part One, is Proactively Bonding with Your Employees. We'll talk about the importance of supervisors connecting well with their employees, building strong relationships and strong bonds. Part Two is, we're going to talk about Utilizing a collaborative communication approach. When we're good, collaborative communicators employees feel respected. And they and when they feel like their supervisors are really interested in hearing their ideas and really wanting to give them input into everything. They're going to be more motivated and engaged do their best work.

Part Three is, the importance of acknowledging the importance of people's work, the significance of it. Showing appreciation for their hard work and providing recognition is obviously a key to creating a motivated and engaged work team. And then last but not least, I want to talk about making sure that we are proactively assessing employee satisfaction and engagement, because there are signs that you can see along the way that employees might either be really engaged and really wanting to be with the organization long term, versus maybe not being so engaged where you might have to be concerned that maybe they might be looking around for another place to work. And certainly, we want to keep our good employees. It's a competitive job market like I mentioned.

All right. So let me start with the first section. All right. So, Proactively Bonding with Your Employee. So this is a relationship development one on one, and I most of us are pretty good at this. But I want to share, Gallup is the polling company that does tons of employee engagement research in America. And some of you may have read some of Gallup's research, but if you have an ID please Google that. Google Gallup's employee engagement research, some great articles and books available.

But it was interesting at the beginning of one of the books that was written by the researchers. And the researchers at Gallup did you talk to over a million employees across the country in all industries, public and private. And what they found was at the beginning of one of the books, they summarize by saying, after talking to all of his employees, we've come to the conclusion that regardless of why an employee goes to work for an organization, good benefits program, interesting work good salary, how long they stay and how productive they'll be while there has most to do with their relationship with their direct supervisor. So when their supervisor shows that they care about them is invested in their success, is very supportive, very caring, employees are much more likely to be productive and to stay a long time. So we're going to talk about that. So and so obviously making sure that we get into our employees is key.

Now, what I'm talking about here though is not just getting to your employees as an employee, I mean, that's certainly important right, because it is after all work and tasks and projects need to be completed. But I'm talking about getting to your employees as people, as human beings and showing that you care about them, that you're interested in them, finding out what their needs are, what are their interests? With every person that works for me nowadays, I try to make sure that I get to him pretty well. I like to ask them about their story where they come from, what their background is. Now certainly, we'll some of those things from the interviewing process if it's a newer employee, right. But I just really feel like it's important for us to really understand people. The better we understand people plus when you ask people questions about what they like, what their interests are, their families, those kinds of things, it demonstrates some place that you care about him as a person.

And again, the research from Carnegie training says that that's one of the top reasons why people get engaged is that their boss cares about them as a person. So make sure you're showing an interest getting to your people asking about their stories. I'll give you a great example. One of my colleagues at Deer Oaks that I worked with for a long time, she reports to me. She's from Indianapolis and as a big Indianapolis Colts football fan. Well, during football season I'm from Buffalo. So I'm a big bills fan. But during this on Sunday afternoons when the NFL usually plays their games, right, I pay attention not only to my team score but I also pay attention to the Indianapolis score. Because I know that's important to her. And then the following week when we have our one on one meeting that we have once a week, I'll talk to her about the game, about the Colts game. And I'll share some of my thoughts about the Bills game and we have a nice little five minute conversation about football because she likes football and I like football. That's what I'm talking about, is getting to what someone's interested in.

If someone's interested in their kids and they talk about their kids all the time asking questions follow up questions from week to week about people's kids when you know that that's important to them, let's say that someone talks a lot about their kids little league team asking about, did your son or daughter play a game this weekend? How did it go? How did they play? Was it fun? Was it fun to watch? Did they enjoy it and are they having fun? What position do they play? I mean, that's what I'm trying to talk about as just trying to and I'm not talking about prying into people's business. I'm talking about getting to people as people and being interested in what they're interested in. And so you always try to find some commonalities.

So and if you're not a sports person and you find out that someone's interested in reading, you can talk about the latest novel or someone's interested in binge watching shows on Netflix, and you can find out what shows they've been watching lately. Whatever the case may be, but I think it's important to get to people's interests. And so you can have some connection with them other than just work. And that again, goes a long way to demonstrating that you care. And that that's the bottom line. When people feel like you care about them, they're much more likely to be motivated to do their best work.

And so again, when you meet with people from time to time. I'm going to talk about, let me-- I'm going to jump ahead for a second. I'm going to talk about the importance of regularly having one on one meetings with staff. Now it's interesting. There's so much research around this folks is that, the Gallup research for one, there's a lot of research other than Gallup about the efficacy of having one on one meetings with your team. And there's no best practice on how often have the meeting some managers do it once a week like I do. I have a small team and I got three direct reports, so I can do it once a week. Other managers do it every other week. Some do it once a month if they have a big team. And again, there's no recommendation on how frequently.

But the important thing is to have a regularly scheduled meeting that provides some structure to continue to bond. And when you meet one on one with people, make sure having a good conversation with them. When you start the conversation before you get down to business, just ask some things about the person's life. How are things going? And it's great because obviously, as time goes on and you have these little conversations with people, you learn more and more about them. What their interests are, what's going on in their world right now. And it gives you opportunities to follow up and ask, right.

So last spring, one of my colleagues, one of my direct reports was going through a situation where she needed to become a home school teacher for her child during the pandemic when their kids their school had sent the kids home. And she was talking about the challenge of that. And so when we would have our weekly meetings from time to time I'd follow up with her and ask how that was going, and then she would tell me what was going on and share some anecdotes about that and share some of her struggles with it. And it was interesting because I just really sensed that when I would ask about what was important to her, and I would follow up and touch base with her about that from time to time, I noticed when we got down to the business part of our agenda that she seemed to be more engaged in it. And that's typically true with people. They know you care about them as a person.

There's a great saying out there that people don't care how much you until they how much you care. If people care about him as people, they're much more likely to get engaged again, to do their best work. And so rather than being task focused 100%, a lot of times when supervisors meet with employees they get right down to business. And that's fine, we're all busy but let's not just do that. At least periodically, maybe in your one on one meetings but maybe periodically follow up with some, see how they're doing, see how their family is doing. Touch base about something you know that they're interested in.

The more you can do that over time, the quality of the interaction will be better because people again, need to feel cared about. They don't want to feel like we just care about what they can do for us work wise, and certainly, we're going to get to it we're going to get to our business agenda absolutely. But make sure you're also focused on the quality of the conversation and not just focus on the task. Because this was a big mistake of mine 20 years ago. I've been managing people now for going on 28 years. And back in the day, I would just get down to business so quickly. And I'm a Type A. And I'm very task focused anyway. And there's nothing wrong with being a Type A, wanting to be a productive person. I mean, that's actually a strength, right. But I did not spend enough time with small talk bonding with people showing that I cared about them. And you could tell because I could just remember back in those days, the conversations weren't as cordial they weren't as engaging because I was so focused on tasks, and I was so bottom line oriented.

But nowadays as I've gotten better training, and I've learned the importance of spending time bonding with people, I intentionally take 5 or 10 minutes at the beginning of many conversations. Not everyone because we're all busy but during the beginning of many conversations, particularly in my schedule one on one meetings with people just to see how things are going. And I ask about their families and their interest and what's going on in their lives. And again, it really strengthens the relationship and it creates a more motivating environment. When people feel more cared about, they're naturally going to want to do the best work. But if you're always just all business and people will start to feel like all you care about is what they can do for you. But they won't feel cared about as a person.

So again, slow down a little bit. Make sure you're having quality conversations with people, make sure you are bonding and showing an interest in them, and see it as an investment. A lot of times people get a little frustrated, it's like we have, I got something. I got so much on my plate today. I just got to get through this meeting and get to the next thing. But remember, it might take an extra five minutes to bond a little bit but that's an investment. And that employee's motivation in their satisfaction on the job. Again, people are most satisfied and motivated when they feel like their boss cares about them as a person.

And again, don't forget those one on one meetings those. If you don't have structured one on one meetings now. This was even more important during the pandemic, there was a lot of research during the pandemic talking about when people are working remotely it's even more important that their supervisor spends some significant one on one time with them even virtually. And so it's interesting that Gallup says that employees that have structured one on one meetings with their team, and I shared with you all that I do mine weekly, my boss does hers with me every other week, it doesn't really matter how frequently you do it. But what matters is that you have regularly structured one on one meetings that gives employees, they they're going to get access to their boss, they're going to have some dedicated time.

Of course, as a supervisor you can do one off meetings as you need to. And I used to do a ton of one off meetings folks before I started doing structured one on one. But when I think about it in retrospect, I was very reactive when I was doing, when I did not have scheduled meetings with people. Schedule one on one touch basis. I would just be reactive and I'd certainly follow up with people. There is an issue or I needed their help with something.

But again it was more reactive nowadays because I've got these structured one on one meetings. It gives me a chance to catch up with people, slow down a little bit, spend some time and bond together see what's going on in their lives, and then follow up to talk about projects that are in process and priorities for the next week and those kinds of things if they flow really, really well. But it's interesting the structure of that really has meaning. Gallup said that employees that have structured one on one meetings with their boss on a regular basis are three times more engaged than those that don't. So there's something about the structure in the ongoing conversations that really makes a difference.

Next, let's talk about using a Collaborative Communication Approach. And what I mean by collaborative is having two-way conversations where you're partnering together.

You're working together. So rather than talking at the employee. So the opposite of a collaborative conversation would be a direct of conversation when the supervisor is doing all the talking. And folks again, this was a big problem for me 20 years ago . I'm an extrovert as you can probably tell from being on these webinars , and I talk a lot. Believe or not I'm always thinking about trying to pull it back in a little bit and start to ask people more questions. But according to SHRM, the Society for Human Resources Management, the number one non-financial motivator for employees when they go to work every day is to be treated with respect. Supervisors that are directive in their communication approach generally are perceived by employees to be talking down to them, to be micromanaging them talking at them, and it generally doesn't feel respectful.

But when you're having a collaborative conversation, and what I'm talking about a collaborative conversation is hey, I need to assign a project to you. And here's the scope of the project. What do you think we should do to get this done? What do you think the project plan should be? What resources do you think we need to make sure we have to get this job done well? So it's again, instead of me telling the employee, here's what I need you to do and here's the steps I need you to follow which is a lot of the way I used to assign work in the past, I've learned through some better training over the years to have more collaborative conversations where I introduce the project that I need them to work on.

But then I always I've made it a habit to always get their input into how they think the work should be done. Think about that when employees have input into the work or into how to solve the problems that are there or whatever, they're typically going to feel more respected and more valued by their supervisor. And that matters. That drives higher levels of engagement. So if you're someone that tends to be direct or tends to tell people what to do and how to do it, or you're the one that's always giving your suggestion, and a lot of us as supervisors do a lot of that. We do a lot of talking, right. And it's fine to do some talking absolutely. I mean, you as a supervisor, you have a lot of knowledge that you need to impart for sure.

And you're going to teach and train people and you're going to correct performance and help people learn different ways of doing things absolutely, but the important thing is to remember that what's going to be most motivating to your employees when they talk with you is if they feel like you're talking with them instead of talking at them. And how you do that folks as you ask a lot of questions. Like if you're trying to solve a problem, so instead of being directed to say to the employee here's what's going on I need you to do this, and this to solve this. OK? Instead of that to say, here's what's going on and have you ever had an experience with this problem before. What are your thoughts? What do you think we should do to solve this? Do you have any ideas?

And again, you take it. You can make any conversation, take any conversation from being directive to being more collaborative by asking questions. If you tend to be direct of a lot like I used to be, I would say 20 years ago up 80% of the times I would talk to people I was being direct. It can be received negatively and I got feedback that people felt like I was micromanaging them or that was bossing them around. So let's make sure that when we're having conversations with people, if you want them to be really motivated, we want to make sure, again, folks that you're being as collaborative as possible.

And that includes regularly soliciting their input. Make sure that whether you're assigning work, whether you're solving problems, whether you're correcting performance, that a good rule of thumb is the supervisor should just be describing the what in the why. Here's what we need to do and here's why, or here's the scope of it. But give the employees input into how. They're the subject matter experts. We hire them to do the job, to do this work. So let's give them input an opportunity to talk about the how.

All right. Next is acknowledging the importance of people's work and showing appreciation and giving recognition for it. And so I think you'll find it interesting is that there was one study that showed that an employee's perception of the significance of their work has a greater impact on their loyalty to their organization than any other factor. Employees that are engaged typically are pretty loyal because they're committed to their organization and to their mission. Right. And so if an employee feels like the work that they're being assigned matters, it has meaning. It's significant. It's not just rote work that they're being asked to do. It's not busywork. And folks, so it's really important that you take the time when you assign work to people to describe not only the scope of the work but how significant it is, or significant it is.

Like for example, if you're assigning a spreadsheet, don't just talk about the spreadsheet. Talk about why the spreadsheet is significant. Why the numbers that they're going to be compiling in the analysis that they're going to be providing, why that's going to help feed into your manager's report that's going to the department head. Make sure that what they're contributing is significant.

Now, this is particularly important. It's important to everybody, but it's particularly important to the younger generations, the Gen Z generation and the millennial generation. They have a lower tolerance for doing busywork than previous generations. No one likes busywork or work that they feel like is rote or that doesn't have a whole lot of meaning. But if you want motivated younger workers, make sure they the significance of the work you're assigning them in the meaning of it. If they feel like the work has meaning, they'll give you a much more motivated effort. So make sure that you take the time to explain the significance of the work that you assign to people.

And then also consistently express appreciation, there's a wonderful leadership book out there called The Leadership Challenge by Kouzes Posneo. Kouzes is K-O-U-Z-E-S. And Posneo is P-O-S-N-E-O, just like it sounds. It's called The Leadership Challenge. They cite a study that shows 70% of employees feel underappreciated and actively wish there were more appreciated at work. Think about this, folks remember employee retention is really important, right.

And the younger generations nowadays change jobs a lot more frequently than previous generations. Like millennials right now aged between the ages of 25 and 40 are changing jobs on average every 3 and 1/2 years. And there's predictions that the Gen Z generation, the younger generations coming into the workforce now in the oldest ones are in their early 20s. That they may be changing jobs even more frequently. So if you want to retain your good people, make sure that you appreciate their efforts. And don't just show appreciation for results.

A lot of times we fall into the trap of if the work that's handed in doesn't get the desired result, even though someone put a lot of sweat into it. Right. They worked hard on that project. And this was a mistake that I made for a long time. And I've got a team that writes proposals at Deer Oaks. I came to realize a few years ago that I was primarily showing appreciation and giving recognition for four proposals that we submitted that were successful. But the ones that were not even though those folks work equally as hard on those, I mean, writing a big proposal takes a lot of effort whether or not you get the contract. Right.

I realized I was really being conditional, that I was giving a lot of recognition and appreciation for people that wrote proposals where we got-- where we were awarded a contract but not so much when we were not. And so I stopped doing that and I recognized appreciation is not about the result. Appreciation is about effort. It's thanks for working so hard.

I have one colleague his name is Kirby. And every day he works for the maintenance crew, every day at the end of the day, he shakes everyone's hand and says, thanks for working so hard today. I really appreciate your efforts. And that might sound a little hokey. But he means it. I mean, he's real about that. And people appreciate that, they appreciate that their supervisor finds them at the end of the day. And if he can't find them, he sends them a text. And so and just make sure that they know that he appreciates their efforts that day. So let's make sure we're showing appreciation regularly.

People work hard and they need to feel appreciated. That's an important base human need.

And last but not least, let's make sure we go out of our way to regularly give recognition. Mark Twain, a great American author said, I could go a whole year on a good compliment. And so let's remember guys, people need recognition. And it's something, it's funny that there's a book out there called The Carrot Principle. And it's all about employee recognition, but what that book summarized is that there was a study of employees that asking them, what behaviors does your manager exhibit toward you that are most important to your motivation?

And the number one behavior was recognition. That when they show recognition for the work I'm doing, that motivates me more than anything else. And so let's make sure people need this. Find something to recognize people. Sometimes that you're recognizing them for good effort. Right. Maybe there's not a result but you notice they worked really hard on a particular situation, a project. Or maybe they came up with a really good idea, and then you took time to recognize that in front of the whole team. You send out an email and copy everybody, including your boss right to say, hey, I want to say thank you to be to the end for that great idea that they had, because I think that's really going to help us in this one particular situation. But go out of your way to find something to recognize people for.

Recognition is it is encouraging to people. When people feel recognized for their work and encourages them to work even harder. But it also feels great. And it just keeps you going and it keeps you motivated. And so if you want engaged workers, make sure you give them lots of recognition.

Last but not least folks, I want to talk about periodically assessing or just taking a step back and assessing how motivated and engaged your people are. So trying to stay in touch with the pulse of the motivation level of your team. And this was harder to do during the pandemic when so many people were working virtually. I know a lot of folks probably on the call today. By the way a big turnout today, which was great. But a lot of people on the call today are probably also still working remotely or a lot of supervisors on the call today are still supervising remote employees.

But you can still stay in touch with people's motivation by having regular touch base meetings and ask how things are doing. And then you can ask. You can ask them how things are going. And I like asking me questions. Asking, people's questions about are you enjoying your work? Are there any projects or are there any projects or assignments that you might be interested in trying? And so, you'd be asking people from time to time. And I'm going to I'm going to give you a suggestion about what's called a stay interview here in a moment. But just be thinking about asking people how they're enjoying their work.

And one particular time, I took my small team from Deer Oaks out for lunch. There's four of us on the team so three direct reports, and everyone's writing proposals. Right. And I went around the virtual room as we were having lunch and asked everybody, is there any other area of activity or areas of responsibilities that any of you might be interested in doing more of in addition to writing proposals that you're also good at? And everyone on the team chose something that they were interested in doing something more up.

One of our colleagues turned out had a graphic design background, which I didn't until I asked that question from back in college. And so she was interested in doing more graphic work. And we oftentimes have to add graphics to our proposals and flyers and promotional materials. So that gave her an opportunity to more of that. And so on and so forth. So be looking for opportunities to give people opportunities to try things in areas that they're interested in. That can also help people be more motivated and enjoy their jobs more. But also be assessing. Keep our eyes open. Be on the lookout for signs that people may not be as happy or as engaged as they once were.

And so here are some signs that can let you that someone might be maybe not as engaged as they once were. Because when people start to get disengaged, when they're no longer as motivated, and all employees go through cycles. Sometimes they're going to be more motivated other times. But if you look if you see some of these signs, it could be a sign that someone's becoming demotivated or disengaged. And when that happens, their risk for leaving your organization looking for another job is higher. And so there's a lot of studies around that. So here's some of the visual signs that you could tell that maybe an employee is not as engaged or not as motivated about their job and their work as they once were.

And so for example, increases in absenteeism. So if they're calling out more often or they're tardy more often. If they seem to they have a little bit less-- they have a little bit less enthusiasm day to day, and their responsibilities were used to see them get into things they just don't seem as motivated. And you don't what I'm talking about. When you've known someone that's pretty motivated and they go through a period where it's like they're just not as motivated, and you can tell something is probably wrong. Or they're less involved in things like during meetings, or less they're not talking as much. They're not making as many suggestions, they're not as enthusiastic.

And so you can see this. Or if you start to see their work product suffer. And they're normally a really good employee and does great work and you go through a period of time or maybe you notice they're not working as hard or maybe the work they're submitting is not at the same high quality it was before, or maybe you notice that the level of service they're providing internally or externally is not the same. Or maybe they're not as good a teammate right now, they're not as invested in helping others, or maybe you get some customer service complaints. So again, those would be signs that maybe an employee might be losing motivation or not be as engaged as they could be.

And if you see some of those signs take a step back and start more proactively doing some of the things we talked about earlier today. Right, like making sure your relationship with that employee is strong, and making sure that you're showing a lot of interest in their world and in their life. Because again that probably more than any one thing really helps people feel more motivated, and engaged. And so be doing some of the things that we're talking about today if you see some of these signs it's really important to be proactive and intentional about that.

Now, last but not least, I want to talk about say conversations. I just got another article about this. This is something that I started to do the last couple of years. And you can do it formally or informally. I mean, everyone of course, needs to follow your organization's policies about these kinds of things. But I do them informally in a state conversation basically as asking an employee about how much they're enjoying their job basically. You can do it during one on one meetings.

And I did this with one of my direct reports probably, a year and a half, 1 years. I'm interested, I mean you're important to us. And I just want to make sure that you feel valued. I mean, you regularly feel valued. And if someone says, yeah, I ask them what are we doing that makes you feel valued? So I mean, really kind of drill down into that. Ask people questions like, are you getting enough feedback from me or from us? Are you happy for your opportunities with professional development, or are you are you able to work in areas that are interesting and motivating to on a regular basis? Or what can we do to better support you?

So my one colleague when I did one of these a year and a half or 2 years ago, I asked her what could I do to better support her and she asked for more graphic assistance. And so I was able to week later find an administrative staff person on our staff that likes doing graphic work, and she would volunteer to help my proposal writer colleague with some of the graphic responsibilities. And so that really helped her feel more supportive.

And so but be looking for ways. These are little things, but they're significant things that we could be doing as a supervisor. So number one, you want to have a conversation with this probably informally at least maybe once a year or every six months, just asking people, what's working for you on your job right now? What are you most interested in? What are you enjoying? And then what's not working? What could we be doing better to support you? And again, ask them. Ask them if they feel valued, and ask them if they're getting enough support. And if they share some things that would make them feel more valued or could make them feel

very supported, then follow up. It really matters to people, because again, we want to demonstrate that they're important to us.

The latest retention survey about why employees with an organization rather than looking for another job, is centered around feeling valued. If people feel valued, they're much less likely to look for a job and leave that organization. And so all right, folks. I we covered a lot in a very short period of time today. We have plenty of time for questions. And so if you have any questions, please type your questions into the question box in your GoToWebinar software.

Folks, I do want to let you that of course, everyone on the call today has Deer Oaks. Your organization is Deer Oaks EAP program. So we're your Employee Assistance Program. And so we do offer a 24-hour toll free number and free counseling sessions. Other services like Work/Life services, we'll do searches to find things on your to do list, like home contractors or pet sitters or help you plan travel when it's safe to travel.

We also have financial consultants that can give you consultations around saving for retirement or budgeting or improving credit scores. These are great resources and they're available via toll free number 24 hours a day. If you don't the toll free number for your organization, and every organization typically has a different toll free numbers to reach Deer Oaks, just send an email to your employer-- to your Human Resources office. And HR will know that EAP is confidential, it's a confidential service. So you don't have to tell HR why you're asking for the number, the toll free number to Deer Oaks. Just say could you please forward me the toll free number to Deer Oaks, and I'd be happy to send it to you.

All right, folks we're starting to get a lot of questions coming in. Remember, if you have any questions, write them into the question box in the GoToWebinar software in the upper right hand corner of your screen. Someone is saying, can everyone see what we are typing? I do not think so. I believe that I'm the only one that can see what people are typing. If anyone else can see what others are typing, just please let me know. I Believe the mode that we're in is that I'm the only one that can see what people are typing.

And by the way your questions are confidential. What I mean by that is I'm not going to share names of anyone that's submitting a question, I'm only going to read the question aloud and then answer it to try to provide more information for us here today. Here's a really good question by one of your colleagues, here folks. How do you go about addressing a boundary issue if an employee crosses the line frequently and tends to make the conversation more personal versus business?

OK, that's a great question. So number one, my recommendation, I know there's a couple of schools of thoughts here. My recommendation, knowing that the research shows that one of the primary reasons an employee is going to get engaged and give you a 110% effort is that they feel you care about them as a person. That you need to show some interest in their life. That doesn't mean that we want to ask them personal questions. Right. Drill down, you don't want to ask people questions that would be prying. Like you don't want to ask people questions about their health or, about their political stance or all those kinds of things.

Of course, that would be out of bounds. We don't want to do that. Those are private things that we don't want to pry into. But general questions to get to a human being like you would with any equations you are getting to hey, do you have kids? Are you a football fan? What did you do before you came to work here? What are the kinds of projects you're most interested in? Where are you from originally? General background questions like that with your colleagues to get to them better. Most people really enjoy. Most people don't see that as prying.

And my rule of thumb is if I ask a question and someone shows or expresses discomfort, like if I say, hey, do you children and they look uncomfortable, I never ask about children again. Because I don't want to make people uncomfortable. I'm only asking questions, because I'm interested, I want to get to the folks I work with, and I want them to I care about them as a person. And so but if you do have an employee that constantly is asking you personal things that you're not comfortable with, you want to be courteous in how you answer that. Right. Because again, we want to have a good relationship. Remember the quality of the relationship that you have with that employee is according to Gallup, that's the most important predictor of that employee's tenure with your organization and their productivity along the way.

But if you're not comfortable ask answering personal questions, just be honest to say. If they ask you questions about your family and you're not interested, and you feel like that would be crossing a line, for you have every right to not answer that question, of course. But you want to be kind in how you answer that to say, if you don't mind I'm not comfortable talking about my family here on the job, but I do appreciate you asking me and I appreciate that you're interested in my family. So thank you for asking. But I hope you understand, it's just not something that I just don't share family stuff here at work. Very much, I try to keep that separate. And as long as you explain it in a cordial way like that, the employee should understand. Thank you. That was a great question.

All right, folks. We've got a ton of questions here. So I'm going to get to as many as we can this afternoon. And I'm going to try to go through and grab the questions that seem like they have the greatest audience appeal. OK. What are practical ways, this another really good one. What are practical ways, and I'm paraphrasing a little bit. What are practical ways we can influence top management's approach to Employee Appreciation?

That's a really good question, because a lot of times and I know a lot of you on the call here today are what we would consider a middle manager. So we're a supervisor or a manager. We have a boss that might be in top management or senior management and we have people reporting to us. So we're in the middle. And sometimes the people above us may not value showing Employee Appreciation as much as we do. And everyone's going to have a different approach to that kind of thing.

But what you can do as a middle manager to influence senior management's interest in showing appreciation is, when you're talking to your boss or the people above you can be pointing out that we've got a really good team right now in place and we're getting a lot of great effort for folks. And I want to do some things and brainstorm. This is how you bring people into this and say, hey, can we brainstorm together? Maybe having some sort of an Employee Appreciation process here in place, because I'm just learning a lot more about, there's a lot of research that says that a lot of employees feel if they got more appreciation, they would give more effort. And I really want my team to be as productive as possible, and they are working really hard. And then could we brainstorm, maybe that we could do an employee of the month kind of a thing. Or maybe we could be more proactive in showing appreciation within our department to the staff. And just try to brainstorm with your boss or with the higher ups when you have an opportunity to.

So a lot of times can make those suggestions to just say that here's my observation, and what do you think. And could we brainstorm together maybe some ways that might work that we could give a little bit more appreciation and recognition to the team. And a lot of times, of course, a senior manager who maybe is not as close to the day to day as a middle manager is. Right. Once they hear from you that there's an opportunity maybe, oftentimes they will jump in and work with you on that. So that's one thing I'd suggest. All right, folks, that time for several more questions.

Oh, here's a great question, especially right for this point in time in American history, folks are in World history. Right. We've been out of the office for several months, which caused a disconnect. Absolutely I think so many of us have related to that absolutely. And we are now back in the office. And I many of you are starting to go back in the office and many of you probably are already back in the office. How do we re-engage? That's so important, folks. That is so important.

Now, think about this. If you've been out of the office for 15 months 16 months, people do get disconnected. Relationships, right. When people are out of sight, out of mind sometimes. And so teams maybe are not as well bonded as they were when the pandemic began when they were seeing each other at work every day. We lost the opportunity. Many of us working remotely to have small talk every day in the hallway with people. Catching up with them, staying connected to them, finding out what's going on in their life. Working on projects together. And then all of a sudden millions of Americans literally were working remotely that hadn't been working remotely before. And so and now a lot of us are going back into the physical workplace again, as the pandemic is continuing, we're in the stage where a lot of people are going back to the office and it may feel a little uncomfortable.

So I do I think it's really important for supervisors to do two things. Number one, make sure you're spending a lot of one on one time with your staff. People may be feeling uncomfortable right now. And this was a change. Transition working from home is a change, and they had to adjust to that. And now transitioning back to the workplace is a change, you've got people probably that some are going to be a little nervous about the threat COVID that still exists. Right.

You're going to have other people that are feeling uncomfortable coming back into the workplace. Maybe there have been some changes since the last time they were on site. Maybe they feel a little disconnected from their colleagues, and they don't feel that same bond that they had when they again, transitioned out six months ago. So number one, make sure you're spending a lot of one on one time with all your employees to rebond them to the organization. Remember, you're their most important relationship. And if you're not doing-- if you weren't doing one on one meetings schedule basis before, you might want to start doing them now. It could really help.

And then number two, have regular team meetings, folks. Get the team bonded back together. Start team meetings with what I call ice breakers where you go around the room. Before you get down to business you go around the room and everyone gets to weigh in on something, some great ice breakers where you talk about what was the most uncomfortable thing that you experienced during the quarantine period at the beginning of the pandemic? And then you can go around the room and everyone gets to talk about something witty or funny or that was uncomfortable at the beginning of the pandemic.

And then maybe the next team meeting two weeks later, we do our team meetings the jokes every other week. So two weeks later, you do another icebreaker and it can be something different like now that you're in now that we're being free to roam the Earth again, what are you what's the first thing you're going to do now that you're not feeling-- is maybe you're not feeling as uncomfortable traveling. What's the first place you're going to go? Or what's the first concert you're going to go see?

And so those are great ways for people to get to each other better. And again rebond together as people. And folks again, you have to be proactive about this. Team bonding doesn't just happen. Especially, when people have been disconnected for a while, they'll come back and those that liked each other before, they'll reconnect a little bit reform those clicks. But you'll have other people that maybe felt a little disconnected before feel a lot disconnected now because they've been really away from the group for a long time. And that can include people that are more introverted and their personalities. That can be even harder for them.

And so make sure you're doing some one on one meetings with people to rebond them, to you and to the organization. And make sure you're doing regular team meetings where the team has an opportunity, it's team building right to rebond together. That's really important. All right, folks. I have time for one more question today.

Here's another one. And I'm going to paraphrase this question. But this is another really important question must be the last one we have time for today. I appreciate everyone being so thoughtful about your questions today. How can you change the environment or motivate the work environment when it's already set, the environment's already set. And it's really focused and I'm paraphrasing, it's really focused on work and not really about caring about people. And folks, there are a lot of environments in the world right now in the work world that are of colder and businesslike, where it's not as much about people's relationships and Connections. Between supervisors and employees, or between employees and their colleagues. It's more about everyone gets to work and it's very professional maybe, just stiff and cold. And it's not unusual. And again, you we are talking about work. So when people come to work, they are there to get the job done and get their tasks accomplished.

But the research is overwhelming that when you warm things up a little bit through personal connection. That it does improve the environment make it more comfortable for people day to day. And that does improve people's motivation. And so it can start with you as a supervisor. If you spend a little bit more one on one team with each person on your team, one on one time with each person on your team and just bonding a little bit with them, getting to them a little bit better showing interest in their lives, just one person at a time, people will warm up. I mean, I've done this now for years it really matters. It really makes a difference. And even if you hadn't done that in the past, as you start to do it you're going to see people warming up a little bit. And people getting a little bit more and more motivated.

And then the same thing to facilitate team meetings, just bring the team together periodically. Even if it's once a month and just give people a chance to get to each other a little bit, do some team building activities, like these ice breakers I recommend it, or take the team out to lunch maybe once in a while and give people a chance to get to know each other a little bit. As people get better connected as human beings, and they learn more about each other and learn to care about each other as people, there's one research study that says, teams that care about each other as people, where they create what they consider to be like a work family are 70% more productive than teams that just see their colleagues as just my coworkers.

And so it does behoove us as supervisors to do team building and to bond people together. Because when people are better bonded together, and even if your current environment is cold and businesslike, you can little by little do some one on ones between the supervisors and the employees and some periodic team building meetings that can get people better connected together. Because when they do, motivation will improve. And then when motivation improves, productivity improves.

All right, folks, I know we

covered a lot in a very short period today. That's all the time for the questions we have. I want to thank you for being with us. I do want to quickly summarize again the 2021 Deer Oaks Leadership Certificate Webinar series. A few of you joined late. I want to remind you that if you attend all four of these sessions this year, by either live or by viewing the recording, and the first one was in March. If you missed that, that was called How to Effectively Delegate Tasks and the Responsibilities, you can send an email to our staff by hitting Reply to your GoToWebinar invitation for today and ask our staff to send you a copy of the link to the recording, so you can view the recording. Because we track that as well. You'll get credit for viewing that. If you view the recording, email you miss the live session.

And then the next two, remember coming up in September we have Successful Approaches to Difficult Employee Conversations. And in December, we have Moving From Manager to Leader. If you have not signed up for those yet and you want to earn your 2021 Leadership Certificate, please again hit Reply to your GoToWebinar invitation for today and ask our staff to send you the registration link for those last two sessions that we would be happy to again. If you attend all of those either live or by viewing the recording after the fact, you will get the 2021 Leadership Certificate at the end of the year this year.

All right, folks. Thanks again for being with us. It is a privilege for us here at Deer Oaks to be your AEP provider. And so again, as we continue on during these difficult times, please continue to stay safe and healthy. And I'm looking forward to being with you on another one of these educational programs in the near future. Thank you, everyone. Have a wonderful rest of the day. Take care.