Having a Voice is Important – Even When Leaving

Do you ever feel like your organization doesn’t actually hear you?  Or perhaps your organization doesn’t offer a safe environment that encourages you to speak up?  All too often, one of these scenarios is played out in the workplace.  Many businesses feel that they have processes in place to ensure employee feedback, but is it effective?

Stoping the Silence

Previously I wrote about the importance of not silencing your staff.  Aside from providing a safe culture within the organization that encourages staff input and feedback, many companies miss out on the opportunity for the most honest feedback by skipping the exit interview.  There are multiple reasons for the exit interview, but the most important is to get a candid overview of the organization’s culture and environment.   The information obtained from an exit interview can identify opportunities for employee retention, leadership development, and succession planning.

Don’t Assume

When I left after 20 years with the same organization, I literally begged for an exit interview.  After being completely ignored by one CEO (who suddenly left the organization without explanation), I approached the new CEO requesting a brief meeting.  I was quickly dismissed and wished the best of luck in a brief email response.  I simply wanted to express my experience with the organization and my concerns out of dedication to my previous patients and the work-family I left behind.

No one in management asked why I was leaving.  Assumptions were made, but only those close colleagues knew the real reason.  I could no longer work in an environment that didn’t support their staff, seek genuine feedback or provide the tools that allowed me to do my job at the level that made me feel fulfilled.  More importantly, I no longer felt that the organization prioritized patient safety, leaving me feeling less competent as a health care provider.

Why The Exit Interview

Unfortunately, the absence of an exit interview is common.  The insight that upper management missed by dismissing my request saddens me.  Even worse, my work family is stuck in the same toxic environment that forced me to leave, and it’s only getting worse.

It’s essential to have clearly identified standards for the exit interview to make them successful.  Most Fortune 500 companies perform exit interviews but only 40% feel they are properly utilized.  Make sure to have a format that can get useful information.  The last touchpoint with the employee gives the interviewer the opportunity to ask about issues that are concerning or unresolved.  It also allows the employee to leave with a sense of feeling heard.  Why is that important – they are leaving after all?  Because in todays employment climate, you never know when you may need to call that worker back for some help.  If they left on a sour note, they are guarantee not to help out in a shortage.  This frequently occurs in healthcare but also in any skilled industry.  Boomers are retiring at an alarming rate, and there isn’t always someone qualified to immediately replace them.

Making Them Count

Finally, assessing and utilizing the information after the interview is vital.  We’ve all filled out an employee survey that was later thrown in the trash and never actually looked at, let alone the feedback reviewed and put to use.  This is important if the organization has a genuine interest in maintaining a healthy culture and an environment that encourages communication and investment from the employees.  After all, without staff, no organization would exist.  Employees are the company.  Dedicated and fulfilled leaders and employees want to put their best foot forward.  The key is to keep both feet in the business but if they choose to leave, find out why.  The reasons may surprise you.  At the very least, it will provide you with valuable insight and the opportunity to improve and grow your business.

girl helping up boy

Always Stay Humble & Kind

This week it struck like lightning. As I was riding the early morning train to Amsterdam and crossed the fields, the sunbeams hit my face as the music played softly in my ears.  I experienced a moment of peace when the lyrics made everything fall into place.  I’m raised in a loving family by an amazing mom and dad. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine how valuable the lessons our parents teach us can be. They truly determine my blueprints more than I ever realized before, even though I always try to be aware of the things I learn in life from the interactions I have with the people that cross my many paths. Ironically enough, I needed a song to figure out the most important lesson I’ve learned from my creators and a lesson I live by every day, and it makes a difference “Always stay humble and kind.”

Even though my dad never really finished high school, he’s the most successful man I’ve ever met or even know from any other source. His work ethic is incredible, he is always positive, but most importantly, he’s always respectful and kind. It’s hard not to like him even when he corrects you. He worked himself up over the years attending courses, getting diploma’s and, more importantly, by being amazing in everything he does. As an operational manager responsible for managing his teams and customers at a decent-sized facility organization, he makes a difference for many people every day! Never feeling too good to get his own hands dirty despite his position, always stayed humble.

Way Way Back

A while ago, I had a couple of drinks with some friends from high school. They shared amazing memories of being at my house, surrounded by my warm and welcoming parents that offered us the possibility to have a good time within reason. Getting that space always made us respect the boundaries that came with it. The times I didn’t, I still truly regret and learned valuable lessons off.

I’m grateful for my dad’s wisdom and the way he can transfer that to me, mostly by example, not forcing it on me but by giving me a choice to apply.  He does the right thing using knowledge and experience to help his staff and the organization to a higher level! For being him, he’s respected by many, and that often gives him the right impact!

The Resemblance Is Striking

It might sound funny that I always compare managing my staff members with raising children. This, despite the fact, I prefer to manage on an equal level. The resemblance in behavior, however, is striking. Even though I don’t have much experience raising kids, I always love to see how parents “manage” theirs. In the end, I guess we are both managing human beings. The challenging thing about that is that no-one is exactly the same.

Everybody has different buttons that need to be pushed to get the most out of them. That’s why it’s so important to know your employees. Do they need to be disciplined, or do they need some encouragement? The key is to always treat people with admiration and respect. If you are humble and kind, it’s easier to value other people and make people feel valued. That automatically makes it easier to find common ground, and that’s the foundation to grow your relationship and get things done weather in your personal or business life.

Shocking – Development Is Reversible

There aren’t very many people that master the skill of staying humble and kind. Over the many years of meeting people in different labor settings, markets, and industries, I noticed that a high number of people didn’t feel appreciated and respected by their manager or employer in general. Last week I read a disturbing article that pointed out that 1 out of 4 of the higher educated Dutch people currently searching for another job do this because of their manager.

Our findings are that lower educated, but often specialized people experience the same but stick around with their employer longer. Especially the older staff members.  As the current markets show, there is a shortage of technical staff members. Mainly younger employees often switch companies for a little extra money at the competition, often because there is simply not much more to stay for. Little appreciation, high work pressure, no social benefits, or incentives do not encourage employee retention. If companies focus on positive and appreciative leadership a little more, they can connect to their employees on a better level and make them feel valuable, appreciated, and needed, resulting in a more durable collaboration.

We Can All Relate!

So it wasn’t until my epiphany moment in the early morning train that I realized this is the very core of Oteos. I started the company because I want the world to be a little more humble and kind. It would make work a better place to be. Because in our core, we are all the same. We share the need for appreciation, acknowledgment, and we all want to grow in some way. We all have moments of high and moments of low. Even though we all cope with things in different ways, deep inside, we can relate. Embracing this knowledge, we offer businesses support and inspiration on many levels.

Sometimes it’s good to be a bit more conscious of our lives. To really be aware of the impact others have on us and how we can impact them. Which valuable lessons have you learned?  What are your blueprints? How do you impact others?