Leave Your Employees Better Than You Found Them

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Organizations all over the world have found themselves in forced transitions due to COVID-19. Some are still adapting and figuring out ways to support their teams in light of these changes. Here I talk about some of the best ways to continue adapting, some of which might surprise you.

Never did I think that one of the best analogies for an organization would be dirt. That is until I read Cliff David’s blog post within NeuroLeadership and something began to click for me.

Cliff describes a new and emerging process within agriculture–regenerative agriculture. It’s about leaving the soil better than how we found it.

I started making connections to other things in life, and organizational talent just fits. I thought, “perhaps we need to take a look at what we’re doing to regenerate our employees–certainly after this last year or so.” 

Afterall, people are still experiencing hardships due to COVID-19. The effects on productivity, happiness, and success are real.

Eliminating Deteriorating Practices

Back to soil–as we all know, growing crops within soil pulls nutrients and minerals from the earth in order to grow the plants that feed us. In traditional farming practices, where the crop is harvested and the soil reused, we see an ongoing deterioration in the quality of the soil.

David connects these deteriorating practices with performance management practices such as annual performance reviews, inflexible work schedules, and our people management processes.

How To Best Support Your Organization’s Talent

When the pandemic hit, nearly everyone had to change some aspect of their professional lives. Organizations were faced with a simple truth about our traditional work practices:

They are dated. Built for another time. 

And what work practice has emerged from the pandemic? Flexibility. And it deserves to stick around.

Stay flexible. It’s the key to transforming how we support employees from here on out. In fact, David reports that many employees forgo increases in salary to keep the flexible work arrangements afforded to them in light of the pandemic. It simply works for most people in this new age of business.

We live in a time where we can support a combination of in-office and at-home schedules at the very least. And while we’re at it, we should also strive to eliminate the other traditional work practices that bring our talent down.

Instead of periodic feedback, we employ ongoing feedback, and be part of what’s happening now. This places the relationship between management and employee within a space of growth, focused on forward thinking.

Performance reviews are just that–a review of what happened in the past. And this is an important distinction according to science, and may impact an organization’s ability to create regenerative practices.

What Does This Look Like In Practice?

One way to utilize regenerative practices is Pepsi’s One Thing. One Thing is really a great way to find out more about your team, and how you can support them. 

Give each team member the flexibility and freedom to do one thing a week. Allow them to choose how you support them. This One Thing also forms a bond within the team, where other team members can rally behind their chosen activity.

I had a team member once who chose golf as his One Thing. Every Tuesday he left work at 3:15 to attend golf matches, and it became a huge boon for us as a team. He was happy, supported, and when each team member has that same experience, it all just clicks.

Leave Your Employees Better Than How You Found Them

I love this sentiment.

It fully encapsulates the idea of regenerative management techniques. If we are able to support each of our team members so they are uplifted and grow while they are with us, the rest of the organization only stands to benefit.

Leave behind the old ways of quarterly reviews and time clocks in order to empower our teams. Create a culture that engages in flexible business practices and dialogue surrounding work-sanctioned activities. Your organization only stands to gain with these new practices and shifts in mindset.

More From Talent Activators

Subscribe to the Talent Activators YouTube channel, where you will have access to even more information and insights. We publish something new each Thursday. I know you’ll enjoy the series that is coming up next. It’s all about the Talent Activators PLANS Method™, and how you can use that to integrate into a new role—whether you’re with an organization or you’re coming in from the outside.

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