People Matters

Your Next ‘People Conversation’ May Be The Most Important

Why the next ‘people conversation’ you have is likely to be the most important one yet.

The recent summer solstice reminds us that the year is half way through and for those involved in managing people, this is likely to be the time for a half year or even full year review. However, even if it isn’t, now is still the time to have these conversations.

Given all of the recent challenges offered to businesses, it may be tempting to think that not enough has happened to warrant a conversation, or that the wider circumstances in the economy means that any meaningful assessment of someone’s performance is not possible or even appropriate.

However, as with many situations, what might be considered a challenge is actually an opportunity. Here are three thoughts regarding why taking the time to have some sort of ‘review’ with your team over the next month will be important to your business:

1. Connection

Even for those people who spend all their days in Zoom meetings, there is a fundamental difference between a business call, often where interaction is stilted and often involves multiple parties, and a video (or even regular phone call) focused on that person and how they are doing.

Making your team member feel connected to you (and by proxy the wider organisation) can help them deal with feelings of self-isolation or stress – feelings they may not even realise they are having as they move towards whatever the “new normal” may be for them.

Honest conversations, built on trust, are the best way to raise early warning flags that someone might be struggling or could be struggling soon. Given that the cost of prevention is always cheaper than the cost of treatment or rectification (both in terms of productivity and money) making this connection is essential.

2. Loyalty to Leadership

Simply put, the more loyal a person feels towards someone or something, the harder they will work and the more effort they will give. Showing leadership and understanding in times of uncertainty is a sure-fire way to increase loyalty.

3. Performance

There are two ways in which a review of someone’s performance will be critical to the business now.

Firstly, it should afford you the ability to see whether some important work skills like adaptability, resilience and innovation are being displayed. It is likely that these types of skills will be the most valuable in moving any business out of its current situation and into smoother waters. Even if your current people-management system does not allow for it, reviewing against these skills sets should be done.

Conversely, a well planned and executed conversation with your team member may start to show that they are displaying “limited thinking”. Again, early identification of a potential issue can lead to early interventions which are always beneficial for people development and cost savings.

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