Don’t drive your employees away

15 June 2016 Liane McGowan, Happy Monday
Liane McGowan, founder of Happy Monday and proud happiness guru.

Liane McGowan, founder of Happy Monday and proud happiness guru.

Good Housekeeping recently reported the launch of The Heads Together Campaign. Founded by Their Royal Highnesses, Prince William, Prince Harry, and Kate Middleton, the initiative aims to “change the national conversation on mental well-being and will be a partnership with inspiring charities with decades of experience in tackling stigma, raising awareness, and providing vital help for people with mental health challenges."

In South Africa in particular, mental wellness plays a large role in the workplace. Whether ignored due to ignorance, brushed off due to stigma, or considered less important than physical wellness drives, the reality is that poor mental health or unhappiness decreases productivity, creating a miserable working environment. As the saying goes, people quit their boss, not their job. So how can bosses foster good mental wellness, while avoiding behaviour that drives their staff away?

Dr Travis Bradberry, award-winning co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 and the cofounder of TalentSmart, believes that there are nine mistakes that managers make, which “send good people packing”. From overworking their staff, to a lack of recognition, a failure to honour their commitments, and inconsistent recruitment practices, valuable employees are effectively pushed out – even though their presence is highly beneficial to the company. From an emotional point of view, it is essential that employers show that they truly care about their employees, doing what they can to assist them in pursuing their passions, developing their skills, engaging their creativity, and challenging them intellectually.

For those bosses who want to ensure that their employees don’t leave because they are unhappy with how they are being managed (as opposed to because they actually don’t enjoy their work), here are a few tips.

Smile; at every single person you meet, greet or walk past. This garners open communication and reciprocal joviality. Make eye contact; smiling is important (not to mention contagious) but making eye contact is received as a sign of respect – an understanding that you notice the employee, and will take the time to engage. Do something different; play music during lunch, hire a popcorn machine for your next staff meeting, or take suggestions for fun outings. Make a conscious effort to have good thoughts; we are so quick to find that spot of misery in our minds that allows us to wallow.

Stop it. Make an effort to have happy, good thoughts every day, and transform your mind. Lastly, listen properly; if someone has taken the time to come and speak to you, pay full attention, listen first, engage fully, and respond appropriately.

After all, “To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace.” – Doug Conant, CEO of Campbell’s Soup.


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