"Managers do have to develop caring behaviors for their employees, just as nurses care for patients," says Linda S. Henry with Positive Strategies in Puyallup, WA. "There are many studies in which the reason for leaving a job isn’t related to salary or benefits, but instead the reason is related to a supervisor or manager who didn’t care about the employee," Henry says. On the other hand, if you ask your longtime employees why they stay, they are likely to cite managers who are honest, respectful, and caring, she adds.
Henry says there are five steps managers can take to make sure they are demonstrating caring behavior:
1. Maintain the belief that you work as part of a team.
"This means that the manager truly has a We’re all in this together’ approach and does value the employees’ opinions and suggestions," Henry explains.
2. Know the employee.
"Don’t make assumptions about an employee because of background, experience, or what you’ve heard from other people," says Henry. "Form your own opinions of their ability and their contributions."
3. Be with the employee during conversation.
It is too easy to be distracted by the meeting you have later in the day or the reports that are due, but you must be an active listener, says Henry. "Listen and paraphrase what the employee is saying to make sure you understand and to make sure the employee knows you are listening," she explains.
4. Do something for the employee.
"We can’t always give employees exactly what they ask for, but we can make sure we follow up on reasonable requests or suggestions and that we let people know what we’ve done," says Henry.
5. Enable employees.
The best way to let employees know that they are valuable and that the manager or supervisor recognizes their abilities is to offer them a chance to increase their knowledge. "Teach or train employees in group settings or one on one to improve their job skills and their job satisfaction," she adds. Be sure the training is applicable to their job or to the job they want, to make it more valuable.