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Nigel Walpole How to engage your team through feedback

Nearly every organisation does ‘entrance’ interviews and many carry out so-called ‘exit’ interviews - the question is what happens in between?

How often do managers sit down with their team members individually and let them know what they appreciate about them and their contributions to the team?

We all understand the time pressures on managers. It is all too easy to neglect what I am increasingly thinking should be called something like a ‘stay’ or ‘engagement’ conversation.

Whilst a lot of our clients engage us to deliver training on how to carry out recruitment interviews and some ask for exit interview training, an increasing number are looking at this issue of engaging teams through feedback. Employee engagement is a hot topic right now and one that means something different to every organisation. So, where do you start?

Our programmes recognise that any such conversation takes time and effort. Here are some top tips that will focus the conversation process:

  1. Remember this is a conversation and a conversation is a dialogue between two (or more) people – just as an engagement is between two people.

  2. Get each team member to note down what they feel they (and the team collectively) have achieved. This is a positive experience for them developing a sense of achievement, and the output will help you focus on Chairsthings to provide feedback about. It also helps you report upwards on the success of your team.

  3. Ask what gets them enthusiastic about their job and what would get them even more enthusiastic (get them to complete the sentence: I will love my job next year if…).

  4. Do they have new ideas for increasing business results and personal job satisfaction? This may be a difficult question first time, but they will anticipate it next time.

  5. Seek to link what is important to them with what is important to the organisation.

  6. Ask them about knowledge or skills they have that they feel are not being fully used. These will help you identify future delegation and development opportunities, leading to increased motivation and a catalyst for further feedback.

  7. Think about how you can give team members more autonomy and decision making responsibility. Encourage them to take risks and let them know that you trust them. This has the added bonus of saving you time and gives you more scope for feedback in the next conversation.

  8. Make sure they know that you’re available to provide guidance or coaching, to remove barriers, and to help them succeed.

  9. Adapt your coaching technique. Remember these are individuals. Some will simply need information, others may need firmer motivation. Everyone will need to understand what is expected: some will just need confirmation, others a substantial clarification.

  10. And remember - lots of ‘Thank You for a job well done’.

If you get these ‘engagement’ conversations right, there is less of a need for those other conversations – recruitment and exit.

For more information on employee engagement and how learning and development can help tackle the issues organisations face, contact us now.

Nigel Walpole

Nigel Walpole, MD, Bray Leino Learning

In my series of blogs I’ll talk through my thoughts on some of the key issues facing managers in the workplace - lessons learnt, tips for success and general musings.

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