Employees are more likely to perform well, have higher job satisfaction, and stay at an organization long-term when the company prioritizes their well-being and works to actively build a supportive culture. This starts with having supportive leaders.
During our recent LinkedIn Live Show with Dr. Tamara Dias, Perfeqta’s Senior Manager of Culture, DEI, and Client Engagement, Dr. Dias shared how company leaders can create a healthy workplace culture and retain top talent. Based on her experience advising company executives around DEI policies and practices, we outlined six essential traits of a leader who wants to make employees feel valued and supported.
Dr. Dias says supportive leaders respect their employees’ calendars and outside commitments. For instance, before calling a team member to ask questions about a project, a considerate leader will check the employee’s calendar to ensure they are available.
Or suppose a team member leaves at 3 pm to pick up their children from school. In that case, a leader remembers to schedule meetings earlier in the day so that everyone can attend. This way, no one feels excluded or guilty when taking time off for personal matters.
Supportive leaders ask employees questions about their experience and welcome open, constructive feedback. Dr. Dias noted that leaders should ask their team members what skills and attributes they wish to grow and develop. It is also essential for leaders to learn what works well for their employees and ask them what help they may need.
Regular check-ins and team retreats are two ways for leaders to learn more about their employees professionally and personally. Leaders can then find the right resources for their employees, such as training, mentorships, and other professional development opportunities. In turn, workers will feel that the company is invested in them, leading to more engagement in their work.
Dr. Dias shared that supportive leaders notice where their team members struggle and where they excel. Leaders can play a role in recognizing strengths that their workers may not be able to see themselves. Leaders can take these observations and share tailored training sessions with team members that will further develop their skill set.
Observant leaders also notice when their employees are overworked, burned out, or struggling, and will put a plan in place to help lessen their workload.
Supportive leaders know how to recognize what employees do well and praise them accordingly. During the live show, Latesha Byrd, CEO of Perfeqta, shared several ways leaders can show recognition, such as:
Displays of gratitude can inspire workers to do good work, knowing they will be rewarded and recognized for it. Also, being clear about what employees are doing well can help the rest of the team understand what is valued and considered praiseworthy. Employees put so much energy and creativity into their jobs. Saying “thank you” can go a long way in keeping the team motivated.
Empathy is considered a foundational element in building relationships. It is especially critical when an employee is going through personal struggles impacting their work. A leader who regularly demonstrates empathy can encourage workers to turn to them in challenging times.
Empathetic leaders know to avoid minimizing or dismissing employees’ feelings in times of crisis. They also avoid offering unasked-for solutions or telling employees to “look on the bright side.” Instead, empathetic leaders validate their team members’ feelings and ask questions to understand what they can do to help.
Supportive leaders listen to their team members and respond by taking action. For instance, when team members offer ideas about improving a project or a process, a supportive leader takes their feedback and incorporates it into the work. Or, if a team member asks for help, responsive leaders prioritize getting them what they need to excel in their role. Being a responsive leader builds trust within the team. It also creates an environment where workers know their voices are genuinely being heard.
Dr. Dias says that workers are already leaving when most companies start thinking about retention. At that point, the company’s response is reactive instead of proactive. To avoid a reactive response, leaders need to consider what they can do to support and develop their employees.
Perfeqta can work with your organization to strategize and implement DEI and talent development practices to build, retain, and advance employees at all levels. For more information, get in touch with our team here.
Before asking employees to return to the office full time, take a look at some of these remote work best practices.
When you create a workplace that gives employees a sense of belonging, you’ll see performance, productivity, and profits increase – and you do it by being an ally and prioritizing the safety and wellbeing of every team member. Allyship requires intentional effort, self-education, self-awareness, action, and results. Allies understand and recognize privilege, and in some cases, will share that privilege with others.
For small and medium-size businesses with 50-250 employees, starting a diversity, equity, and inclusion program can be difficult. Team members don’t have enough time, current budgets don’t allow room for new programs, and company leaders are unsure of how to make DEI a core part of their employer brand. These concerns are valid, but they usually stem from the idea that prioritizing DEI requires a big team, a big budget, and endless resources. We’re here to tell you that you can still make a big impact by starting small.
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