Recognition is important, particularly in the workplace. No matter how many places you’ve worked, you can think back on how it felt to be recognized, and maybe more vividly, what it felt like to be denied that recognition. And in an industry like commercial cleaning service, where turnover is at an all time high, showing appreciation could be the difference between solid employee retention or chronic turnover.
Communication for Employee Retention
But there are two pieces to this puzzle – while recognition is important, you won’t have anything to recognize unless your employees know what you expect from them, what they should expect from you, and whether or not they’re doing what needs to be done in the right way. Any employee loves to hear that they’re doing a good job, but as an owner or manager, it’s also your responsibility to make sure that goals are clearly communicated and constructive feedback is given (positive or negative). Sadly, this is one of the main areas where managers struggle – it’s hard to tell people what to do or correct them if they’re doing something wrong, and, unfortunately, there are some employees who won’t receive feedback well. This struggle can also lead to micromanagement, which is something that hinders far more than it helps. But if you take the time to improve how you communicate and the feedback you give, it will empower your employees to do their job well, and that will lead to some great opportunities for recognition – it’s a win-win!
No matter where you fall on the communication spectrum – whether you communicate well, terribly or somewhere in between – every leader has room for improvement. Here are 7 tips you can use to give good feedback to your employees:
It starts with you
If giving feedback is new to you, take the time to bone up on your communication skills. An easy way to figure it out is by talking to other leaders in your field – what works for them? How do they handle feedback? Find someone you can imitate and go from there! It’s hard to admit when we need help with anything, let alone in our own business. But improving how you communicate can bring positive change in all areas of your life, not just for your employees. When you show that you’re willing to work on yourself, it will impact the people around you, and can cause them to want to improve as well. This includes accepting feedback from your employees, giving them the opportunity to make their grievances known, and when you actually act on what they suggest, to know that they’re being heard.
Do it often (even when it’s hard)
Positive feedback is powerful. It can do more to enhance employee engagement than just giving out some pricey perks. Negative feedback, when handled with care and consistency, will help your employees improve. Depending on your personality type, you may think that it’s easier to give out compliments over criticisms, but studies have shown that leaders who don’t work on their communication skills struggle with both. The more you do both, the easier it will become, and your employees will start to expect (and receive) both.
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If something needs to be said, say it! A common mistake that managers make is to withhold their feedback until an annual performance review or a formal meeting is scheduled – this causes delayed learning and can end up being more of a negative experience for both parties involved. Make time to give feedback right away, so employees know what they did right or wrong, and where they stand.
Be specific and professional
Focus your feedback on specific actions rather than vague generalities, and strive to be objective. When you tell an employee that they did a good job, tell them why – give them a clear description of what they did well, and what you wish to see repeated. It’s even more important to be specific and handle an employee with professionalism when giving negative feedback. Be fair and avoid micromanaging every little thing – keep in mind that the purpose is to improve the performance of your employees, not discourage them.
Be the calm
If your business is smaller, it’s easy to become overly familiar with your employees. While having a good relationship with your people is important, it can be somewhat detrimental if you need something to change. If you don’t handle confrontation well, it can cause some strong emotional responses from both you and your staff. Take the appropriate steps to add structure to your work environment, and if something triggers a strong emotional reaction in you, take time to calm down before engaging in any kind of feedback.
Focus on the positive and be direct
According to research, employees react up to six times more strongly to negative comments than to positive ones, and repetitive negative feedback has a destructive impact on employee performance. When providing feedback, start by outlining some of the employee’s accomplishments and show sincere appreciation for their work before pointing out areas that need improvement. You don’t want an employee walking away from you with just negative feedback. On the other hand, don’t let positive comments overwhelm the purpose of the conversation if improvement is needed – avoid sending mixed messages by being direct in both areas.
Public praise; private correction
Recognizing the contribution and efforts of your employees helps to keep them motivated and morale high. When you publicly praise someone for doing a good job, it will hopefully cause your other employees to step up their game. On the other hand, negative feedback is best given behind closed doors. No one wants to be criticized, but it has a much worse effect when it’s done in front of peers. And while communicating via email is easier (and less confrontational), you should give feedback—especially negative comments—in person. When correction takes place, be sure to follow up with the employee, and make sure they know that you’re there to help them meet whatever goals are set. Keep records of the conversations so your responsibility is covered and to help you monitor progress.
Communication is key in any workplace, and if you take the time to improve the way you communicate, then your employees will feel recognized and valued, which means they will stay loyal to you, and increase employee retention! If you want a new way to make sure your employees know what their responsibilities are, give us a call and Janitorial Manager – we can help you organize your business so that communication can stay consistent with both your employees and your clients. Contact us for a free demo today!