I am forever fascinated with HR.
It is most likely a byproduct of my journey from working for shitty companies early in my career to truly great companies over the past 5 years. I have learned a lot of things since I graduated college in the year 2000, and the most surprising thing I have learned is how easy it is to keep your employees happy.
Office perks are great and important also, but great leaders are constantly asking questions to gather information from their teams. Here are the simple questions that I believe most employees want you to ask them the most.
This is not how are you doing in your job, or how are you doing on X,Y, Z project. While those questions are important they also drive fear. Great leaders take the time from their insanely busy days to ask the person how are they doing. Too many people in business fear crossing some imaginary boundaries of getting too personal. Real leaders are comfortable crossing this line and pushing that line further back. Most of us spend more time at work than with our families. It is time to get personal.
Personal can be messy, it can be filled with drama, but it also builds loyalty that is unmatched.
Here is a a pic of my CEO holding my newborn son.
My current CEO is the busiest human that I have ever known. But she still takes time to not only know who the important people are in our lives, but know many things about those people. That is not easy but it is highly respected.
This is a scary question, especially when someone asks it on a job interview. Most people will not answer honestly. We fear being judged for our "big fat hairy goals." The best thing I ever did was decide to work for a company that realizes people are better when they dream big. Bad companies will use it against you if you answer honestly. They will fear you leaving instead of thinking how can I get this Linchpin to join our team. Good leaders want to know your big fat hairy goals because they believe they can help you get there, while helping the company along the way.
Few of us (including myself) even know our end goals. How could we, when we are constantly learning, and changing with your viewpoint of the world.
But there are things that I do know. I know I am in the right place at the right time and willing to do whatever we need for the team to succeed.
We are focused on building a billion dollar company.
Do you realize what the sawdust from building a billion dollar organization can do ?
Connections, partnerships, strategy and proven and tested tactics … to name a few.
I want to leverage that success and experience to do other great things. I want to start a cancer foundation in honor of my father.
I want to build a tool or service that helps people truly find great companies to work for and avoid the damage that bad and abusive companies cause.
I want to create a legacy of content that the grandchildren of my grandchildren can someday explore.
None of these things are easy or simple.
This is not offering to send your employees to a lame industry conference once a year. It is 2018, they can learn more watching Gary Vaynerchuk videos than going to most conferences. This is a bigger question. Know your employees intimately.
This question goes deep into what they want their work life schedule to be. Maybe they want to make sure they are near the water to surf and clear their mind each summer.
Maybe they have young children at home and need the flexibility for daycare pick ups and doctor appointments or kid sick days. If you are hiring adults they will make up for the work life balance at night and during weekends, because they feel an extreme loyalty to you.
I don’t put much stock in fancy titles, but others do. If that is what drives them, create a plan to help them achieve it.
Perhaps the person is young and wants a lot of vacation time to travel the world. If it is the right fit and they are a linchpin for your company, you can work out the details.
This question can also apply to roadblocks they are facing in their current position. These might be simple fixes and tools that you can easily provide them to do their best work.
People are hungry and ready to be enabled to do great things. When leaders give them the permission to do their best work, magic will always happen. Take the time to find out the answers to these questions for all of your employees.
James is the Marketing Director at StratIS. He was named Top Voice on LinkedIn in 2015, and the number two voice in healthcare from more than 2 million bloggers on the platform. He was the creator of the Seinfeld Birthday Project, which went internationally viral, received more than 1 million YouTube views, and was featured in hundreds of newspapers, blogs, TV shows and radio programs. He also co-founded TAP Social Media, a boutique-marketing agency located in Philadelphia, PA. James holds a B.A. in Mass Communication from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.