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December 17, 2014

Starting Thought: 5 Items on Every Employee’s Holiday Wish List

It’s officially the month when we’re all talking about which “hot” items are on everyone’s holiday wish list. Stores and online retailers create wish lists for every type of person you could ever need to shop for: for teens, for sports fans, for the cook in your family, for the outdoor person, etc. This flurry of wish-list making got me thinking about a different category that we don’t hear much about: employees. If employees developed a collective wish list, what would be on it?

From my experience working with employees around the globe, a few common needs rise to the top:

  • Opportunities to give feedback- Create an environment where employees feel safe to have a candid conversation with you. Listen, listen, and listen some more. By helping employees feel comfortable giving feedback, you let them know that their views are valued. You’ll also gain valuable information that can help you lead and communicate better. 
  • Less BS and more humanity- Enough beating-around-the-bush or, even worse, “spinning” of messages. Employees want to know what’s happening and why in a direct way.  Tell them what you know when you know it.  Don’t wait until you have all the information to communicate. Doing so is a sure-fire way to feed the rumor mill. Chances are you’re waiting too long to give employees key information.
  • Understanding of your expectations- People rise to the expectations set for them.  Many problems in business are caused by a lack of understanding of expectations or a misunderstanding of what’s needed and expected. Unless you’ve taken the time to share your expectations with employees in a formal way, you’re limiting their chances of success.
  • Empathy- Pause and imagine how employees are feeling.  The desire to be heard is a basic human need. Employees want to know they’re being heard, and they want you to know where they’re coming from. The payoff is an employee who knows you care, and at the same time, you gather information that’s useful to motivate that employee
  • More listening- Stop talking so much.  Ask for input and feedback.  What employees help create they are more likely to support.  Employees don’t want monologues but instead, real, two-way conversations.

The best part about fulfilling employee wish lists? It’s free. You don’t need coupons, discount codes, or the resolution to brave crowded stores to give these gifts. You don’t need to inquire about return policies either. When you gift an employee one of these items on the wish list, you’ll see the benefits not just in the holiday season but year round. You make a significant difference for your employees, and you improve your leadership impact. Fulfilling the wish list offers a little something for both the giver and the receiver.

Which item on this list, if given, can make a difference for your team?

- David Grossman

This post originally ran in December 2013.


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