A message from Anthony Lambatos, CTLF Board of Advisor and Founder of Footers Catering:
Many businesses understand that people are their most important asset and will profess that they value them as such. Yet there continues to be a large portion of the employee pool that does not feel valued and is either disengaged or actively disengaged. One of the most significant areas that leaders can focus on to improve engagement is the development and growth of their team members. This is especially important for the newest members of the workforce. According to a study by LinkedIn, they found that Gen Z is highly motivated to advance their career through learning and upskilling with 83% saying that they want to learn new skills to perform better at their job. If you’re looking to re-evaluate how you develop your team members, here are a few things to consider.
Investing in the growth of others takes time, which is our most precious resource. It’s easy to get caught on the hamster wheel of busyness or succumb to the constant demands of the urgent. Developing people requires time set aside that may not necessarily have an immediate impact, but over time will make a huge difference. Time spent in one-to-one meetings learning about the needs, goals, and dreams of individual team members. Time spent getting to know employees as people – what motivates them, what they like to do outside of work and what is important to them in life. Time spent sharing feedback about how they are performing. I think annual reviews are a thing of the past and that a minimum of one hour each month should be spent with each of your direct reports. People generally want to do a good job at work and they crave feedback on how they are doing, yet there seems to be a disconnect. Office Vibe conducted a survey in which they found 58% of managers think they give enough feedback, yet 65% of employees said they wanted more feedback. The more time we spend with our people, the more we have opportunities to help them grow.
Let go to let grow
I recently had a discussion with fellow owners about empowering others and how difficult it can be to “let go” of certain responsibilities. When we are accustomed to doing a job (and usually doing it really well) it’s hard to watch someone else do it and not immediately perform to the level we personally were operating at. Ultimately though the consensus was that we have to find ways to stomach the proverbial step back, in order for the people around us to make giant strides forward. One person summed it up perfectly; “I am learning to let go, which is really learning to let-grow! I’m finally beginning to allow others to contribute, and not being surprised, disappointed, or discouraged of failure in their pursuit of success. People will not learn if never given the opportunity. I’m beginning to teach, suggest, and advise, rather than do, do, do.”
Discovery and flexibility
Helping employees better understand who they are is one of the best ways to develop them as leaders within your organization. When people clearly understand their strengths, behavioral tendencies and root of their interests, they have more confidence, satisfaction and are able to perform their job at a higher level. At Footers Catering we utilize a variety of assessments like The PXT Profile , Enneagram, Via Institute, The Innovation Quotient Edge and Strength Finder to help our team members learn more about themselves and make sure they are in alignment with their respective positions. This is also very helpful when there is an employee who is a good cultural fit but struggling with work. Often times this shows up as someone who is really good at part of their job, but struggling with another part of their responsibilities. If you are willing to be flexible with your job descriptions, then you can tailor positions to fit the strengths of your team as opposed to forcing people to continue doing tasks that don’t align with their natural skill set.
Some organizations don’t necessarily have the people or resources to do their own educational programs. It’s important to remember that not all development needs to be done in house. There are many ways to provide educational experiences for your team members. Online platforms like Ted Talks, Master Class and LinkedIn Learning are great ways to share knowledge with your team throughout the year. The opportunity to attend an industry conference like Catersource is a tremendous way to show a team member that you value them. They gain a better understanding of the industry as a whole, have access to some fantastic speakers and connect with peers from across the country.
One of the best investments we can make is in the people on our teams. Focusing on their growth and development will reduce turnover and increase productivity and engagement among the team. Organizations that have a reputation for developing their people also develop long term good will and are more attractive for top talent looking to make a career move.