One Size Does Not Fit All

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

More than ever, employers are looking for ways to attract, engage, and retain talent in the workplace. And more than ever, one size does not fit all. That’s why it’s important to communicate effectively.

Using the communication system of PsychoGeometrics, the Science of Behavior and the Art of Communication, here are five things you can do with and for your people to help strengthen your recruiting, onboarding, engagement, and retention processes.

1. Understand.

Understand by asking and then truly listening to what matters most to them. What motivates one person, may demotivate another. Use phrases or open-ended questions such as, “tell me more” or “What happened next?”

2. Connect.

Connect by validating what is important to them. Acceptance, not approval, is the key. Use phrases such as, “I can see how that must have been frustrating,” or “I think we can both agree that’s very important to you. Let me make a note of that so I won’t forget.” Remember, what you say is important, but how you say it goes a long way to how people are made to feel. Body language, facial expressions, and physical gestures play a big role. Think of all the ways you can make someone else feel by the emoji you choose to share. What facial expressions or physical gestures do you use to connect with others?

3. Inform.

Share things like the company facts, policies, organizational structure, values, mission, or goals that reinforce or support what’s important to them. You can link this back to what you “understand” about them, or how you “connect” with them. 

For example, “Here’s a list of our company values and policies. I know you said flexibility is important to your work-life balance. Not only do we value flexibility, but it’s also one of our core competencies. As an employee here, you will have access to these additional resources.”

Note: It is important to share the facts – all facts, including the “brutal facts.” 

For example, “I heard you say earlier how important flexibility is to your work-life balance. We also support flexibility, but since we are a 24-7 distribution center, it’s up to you and your direct supervisor to identify and clarify what that looks like. Here are some examples of what typically works given the nature of our business, but it’s up to your supervisor to approve your specific requests.”

4. Encourage.

Encourage them to generate ideas, explore their options, and create a plan based on what the company can realistically provide, and what they want. This is especially important after sharing the “brutal facts.” 

For example, “I heard you say earlier that child-care benefits are important to you. That is not included in our employee package, but we do offer a flexible work schedule to hopefully make it easier to arrange childcare and other incentives that might help offset the cost. I would encourage you to talk with some of our employees about this.”

Or, perhaps someone is asking for more vacation time, but the current policy does not allow it. You share the brutal facts but then you encourage creative thinking. For example, “While we can’t offer more vacation time, we can get creative with how to use your personal days. Let’s try this.”

5. Act.

Provide options, steps, or another win-win plan of action based on what would attract, engage, and/or retain them. Action provides clarity and assurance that you are more than just “talk.” If you can’t deliver all, at least deliver something, even if it’s just an update, another option, or an explanation as to “why.”

I once heard someone say, “Reasonable people just want to be heard. Unreasonable people always want their way.” 

While I generally agree, action is where the miracle takes place, and somewhere between the reasonable and the unreasonable is the sweet spot. 

NOTE: Susan Hite is the president of Hite Resources, Inc. and CEO of PsychoGeometrics. She is a firm believer that “It’s not about the bottom line, it’s about the behavior that influences the bottom line.” In her work, she enjoys helping companies and their employees find the “sweet spot” for success using the Shapes Assessment as her primary psychometric tool. Check it out here and use ShapeTalk for 20% off.