Personal Development

The Value of Home - Turning Newbies into Leaders

The induction. Talk to any HR Professional and they will advocate a well-structured and comprehensive induction for all new employees. Some of us do it well, some do it poorly, or sometimes not at all depending on resources, circumstance, and our individual business culture. But, what can we do (no matter what) to increase the chances of a new employee becoming a long-term success?

In a time when Culture is King, many are grappling with how to translate culture into practical commercial success that is both meaningful and sustainable. It can quickly turn into a buzzword-centric topic which is forgotten completely in day-to-day interactions with peers and customers a-like.

The answer seems to reside in the value of making people feel safe and “at home” right from the start. This is a powerful trigger every single leader in a business can utilise to gain long term performance and loyalty out of new employees (and seasoned ones too!)

Daniel Coyle details an experiment in his book, The Culture Code. Coyle discusses an Indian Call Centre called WIPRO that was experiencing costly staff attrition rates. They took a group of new recruits and simply spent one-hour talking to them about their individual needs to perform better. They also gave them a WIPRO shirt with their own name on it. They found that the people in this group were 250% more likely to still be at the company seven months later compared to those that did not have the “one-hour chat”.

This demonstrated that people valued being treated as an individual and being heard from the start of their employment. It displayed that a business must show that they are there to “Serve You” just as much as the employee is there to “Serve Us”. The results spoke for themselves with staff serving longer and at a better performance level in a notoriously high-turnover environment.

When we feel at home, we feel safe. And when we feel safe our concentration levels are elevated due to less distraction and wariness. It’s like your first day at kindergarten – it’s a scary day with lots of anxiety. But if the teaching assistant relaxes you with warmth, attention, and care then it can turn out to be the best fun you’ve ever had.

Recently, I was struck by this idea when watching a Friday Night AFL match between Sydney and Hawthorn at the MCG. It was a cold wet night where Sydney won in a very close contest. The story of the night was that of Ben Ronke. In his third game, this little fresh-faced recruit kicked a game winning 7 goals and made 10 tackles – a new all-time record for the league. Not only is it almost unheard of for a small-forward to kick this many goals in a game, but no one had ever statistically done this in the history of the league!

The impressive part was in the post-match interview. Ronke was asked “What is it about this club that keeps producing such great young talent?”

He responded by saying “It comes down to the Leadership group, and even the up-and-coming leaders. You go to the club and you just feel at home straight away. They make you feel like you’re at home. That takes the pressure off of you and makes you feel comfortable, and with the support of the older boys – it goes a long way”

Wow! In a moment of pure honesty, this young athlete summed it up beautifully.

If we don’t invest individual effort into an employee we run the risk that they will merely exist in their role, and there is only a small chance of them becoming long term successful performers. To take this further, when a recruit is made to feel comfortable, but without an individualised approach then performance will ease off very quickly and revert to a relaxation mode. This is not sustainable either.

Leaders that show even the smallest of gestures that the business is there to serve the employee as much as the other way around, create an experience that is both comfortable and inspiring. This becomes a potent combination feeding the feelings of belonging. In turn, this creates performers that not only excel, but do it for a long time to come.

 

Squashing the Chatterbox

What is the most energy sapping aspect to your life? For those parents out there, being a parent is probably at the top of the list. For those that manage staff it may be the constant strains of their team. Maybe it is your customers, or suppliers, or a physical thing like long-distance driving, presenting, or just long working hours. These are all common answers, however there is one underlying factor that leaves us exhausted on a daily basis. The common drain I talk about below stops us from performing efficiently and has a big impact on our ability to rest and recuperate as well.

I am referring to the mind. We’ve all got one, and the constant “chatter box” inside of our minds that seemingly never switches off can be destructive to our energy levels. I am certainly no clinical psychologist, but I have always had a rampant chatter box that stops me from actively listening, stops me from mentally being in the moment, and definitely stops me from getting quality sleep. All of this can be quite destructive, especially over a long period of time. Some of us with an overactive mind will need to manage this throughout our entire lives. And, on top of guarding our energy levels, I am a big believer that in order to manager others well we must first be able to manage our selves well first.

It is not all doom and gloom – trust me, there is a big hit of positivity to come by the end of this article. If someone with a chronic case of “chatter box syndrome” (like myself) can find ways to overcome this and restore balance, then there is hope for many out there. A useful first step is to acknowledge that this is a factor, and that time and resources need to be put into correcting this. The second step is to get active – in every which way. That is to start listening to people that have good strategies in their lives to keep their mind in a quiet calm state. The third is to find what works for you. This may take some trial and error, but just going through this process of discovery can bring benefits – knowing you are actively sourcing the best solutions for yourself will already give you one less thing to worry about.

Common tools for shutting down the chatter box include:

  • regular exercise (a little goes a long way),
  • meditation (this is next step for me – I’ll let you know how I go),
  • recognising your triggers for anger, frustration, anxiety and halting your reaction before it takes over,
  • REGULAR deep slow breathing throughout the day,
  • nature – even a walk once a week, or eating lunch in the park can be beneficial,
  • hanging out with friends, or being around people can help you find connection and gives an opportunity for you to get all of those thoughts out of your mind,
  • support groups/networks, to be around people with similar challenges can make you feel less isolated as well as gaining insight into real world solutions that work for others
  • Professional Development Coaches – provides guidance, validation, and accountability so your chatter box can take a break on the big challenges in your business

I am sure there are many more (please share in the comments), but initiating any of these into your routines will start to make a positive impact and lift energy levels. There will be other benefits that tends to come with your ability to self-manage your thoughts and emotions, which in turn makes for a happier smoother daily experience for you and those around you. Clearer thinking, better decision making, increased problem-solving capability, and an overall increased capacity in terms of performance. Most importantly energy levels will go through the roof. Add in a clean diet and a high consumption of water and your energy levels will sky rocket. Easy affordable and a potential game changer for some. This is also a huge step to being a better leader in your work and personal life. I told you there was a big hit of positivity! Start today and let us know what works for you.