Your customers and employees want to feel cared about, don’t they? They want to be supported by a caring management. Especially during challenging times when everyone is struggling to navigate forward.
Today, we see a lot of companies facing devastating losses. And the most critical loss your business can face is the loss of your best employees. Your business is nothing without your employees’ hard work and commitment. Therefore, it’s vital for you to make sure your people have everything they need to stay positive and productive.
We’re living in uncertain times which leads to increased anxiety. For example, it’s hard to answer questions like when things will get back to normal or whether to reopen economies or not. In such circumstances having a toxic work environment can take a toll on your employees’ mental health.
As a manager or business leader, how do you take care of your employees? Do you have any strategy to ensure a healthy organizational climate? Are you a caring manager?
In this post, we will talk about caring management, why your company needs it, and what you can do to be a caring manager.
What is Caring Management?
Caring management is all about how an organization treats its employees. Is management at your company caring? Or, are you a caring manager?
It’s critical to answer these questions because how you treat your employees has a direct impact on your reputation and bottom line.
Organizations now experience increased scrutiny from customers, media, and other stakeholders for hidden organizational practices. They have access to key information like your sexual harassment policies, wages, or involvement in political issues. In addition, social media is a great platform for people to voice their concerns.
When consumers talk about a business, the top five things they talk about include how a business treats its people. People speak out against businesses they believe are irresponsible or unfair. Small social media influencers with hundreds and thousands of followers can have a serious impact on your employer brand.
So, as a leader, you must take your employment practices seriously as they shape brand perceptions. If your employees are not happy with the way you treat them, it can damage your efforts to attract more talented people.
Caring management can solve these issues with ease. It will take some hard work to understand what employees are going through and what kind of care they need to solve their professional challenges.
All you need is a culture of caring which is only possible when your management is kind and compassionate. Here are some signs of caring management:
- They value employees
- They encourage employees' personal development
- They take time to learn about their team members and their quirks
- They don’t tiptoe around employees' weaknesses
- They care why they do what they do
What is A Culture of Caring Management?
Wondering what is a culture of caring?
A culture of caring goes beyond how you treat your workers. It involves several things: managers caring about employees, employees caring for each other, and customers. Also, how your employees care for your vision or company’s purpose.
A culture of caring matters because it has a direct impact on your business's success. Besides, how you engage with your workers can have an impact on productivity, retention, and absenteeism.
Most importantly. Your company culture can impact your customer experience. If your employees are happy, they will try their best to make your customers happy.
Creating a Culture of Caring Management
A candid, genuine, and mutually respectful conversation is the starting point of a culture of caring. You need to invest some time talking to your employees and understanding their problems. Quarterly performance reviews are surely not enough to engage your employees.
You need to learn how to listen while having group or one-on-one conversations with your employees, whether you have them digitally or face-to-face.
Your employees’ well-being should be prioritized over your short-term revenue goals. Be willing to adjust your strategies to make things easier for your staff.
Extract insights from those conversations and implement what you learn. If your employees are facing a workplace-related issue, make sure to resolve it. For example, if your workplace is not inclusive, take concrete steps to make it welcoming and caring.
Happiness and Work
Tech giants are often seen investing in employee support and job satisfaction. It’s possible to develop a scientifically controlled work environment where workers are happier and more productive. Science says happy employees are more productive.
A study from the University of Warwick suggests that human happiness positively impacts productivity. It also identifies that unhappy workers are 10% less productive.
Gallup finds out that 70% of Us employees don’t feel engaged in their workplace which cost companies $550 billion lost in productivity.
Now, it's your job to figure out what makes your employees engaged and happy. Small things can make big differences. Certain strategies can help you develop a more friendly, caring culture. We will talk about them later in this blog.
The Cost of Being a Caring Manager
Before identifying ways to become a caring manager, let’s quickly identify the cost of being a caring manager.
Let’s imagine that you started a role as a new manager at some company. One of your direct reports stops by for a chat. At first, you have no idea what this conversation is all about. However, as the chat progresses, you realize that this is about a personal issue.
Your report wants to share how difficult it is for him to take care of their elderly parents whose health is deteriorating rapidly and he doesn’t know how to manage everything. He asks this question, “Do you have any advice for me”?
How would you respond to that question? You’re likely to be distressed and less engaged at work that day.
Studies show that leaders spend as much time as 2.5 hours each week responding to such situations. Many employees prefer to approach their managers or leaders when they face emotional issues at work and they need assistance.
However, responding to employees' personal issues and requests can affect your mood and performance at work. It is so because personal issues are often distressing and uncomfortable. Managers may find such requests inappropriate and disruptive because they have nothing to do with the work.
It’s a real challenge to manage an employee who is going through a stressful period.
Do you still need to be caring?
On the bright side, when you feel like your support has a positive impact on the lives of your employees, you will feel better and experience a positive mood. Highly experienced leaders are good at managing such situations and they spend more time helping their employees with personal issues.
How to Apply Caring Management
If you really want to be a part of caring management, you need to decide how you want your team to view you. Perception is an important factor for managers. In most cases, managers choose to be dominant, closed-off, and stoic and loud-mouthed.
If you’re one of them avoiding a personal connection with employees, take a step back and rethink the way you manage people. Because you are likely to lose the benefit of a dedicated, long-term team if you don’t make your employee feel valued.
Not sure how to show your employees that you care? Let’s take a look at these strategies that can show your appreciation for your people:
Don’t Act Like You’re Above Your Employees
How would your employees feel if you have your own parking spaces and you make them carry your luggage when traveling? It is considered bad management behaviour when managers don’t relate to their subordinates and act like they are superior. Good managers with true leadership skills care about their people and prioritize their interests above anything else.
So, when your employees are having a problem, talk about it. Tell them how you had gone through similar situations. Expressing your own failures, vulnerability, and imperfections help your employees overcome their challenges.
When you intend to speak to a worker about their struggles, be sure to listen first instead of immediately recommending something. Ask them what both of you can do together to address the issue. It’s helpful to use the word “we”. For example, “How we can support you”.
There’s nothing wrong with going above and beyond to personally help your workers. While assisting your employees with work-related issues is a part of your job, you should help them with their personal issues as well. For example, referring employees to appropriate resources can be greatly helpful.
People go through life events that distract them from work; for example, the death of a friend, divorce, or an ailing family member. In such situations, you can support them emotionally so that they are able to focus on work while dealing with life events.
Tell Them You Care About Their Personal Life
It’s possible to demonstrate your care for employees’ personal life without meeting up for an all-night drinking binge. The objective here is to let your people know that you don’t just see them as worker bees.
Back Your Workers Up With Clients
What will you do if an employee complains about inappropriate client behaviour? Companies that care about employees will look into the matter and fire a client if needed no matter how much they’re paying. When you back your employees, your company will be rewarded with a return higher than what your client could ever offer you.
You need to be transparent and real in your day-to-day interactions with your employees. For example, if they ask for feedback, be honest. Don’t make stuff up. Also, you don’t have to be unkind when communicating feedback. Hiding the truth will only hurt your employees and company.
Being transparent can sometimes lead to uncomfortable conversations. Take those conversations as an opportunity to deliver the truth and help your employees improve.
When you are too busy to have a simple chat with your team, it will make it hard for your employees to feel appreciated. So, don’t appear too busy for workers around you. Have regular conversations with your people as a token of respect and appreciation.
Pay Attention to Details
We often undermine the value of small things. Sending a quick email to your team after a win can go a long way. Your team needs to be appreciated and acknowledged for all the hard work they put in to make your company successful. Events like Christmas and Thanksgiving are also an opportunity for you to express your appreciation and send them best wishes.
Just compose a few sentences and send them over to your team members to explain why you value them. If you’ve got nothing to appreciate or you can’t think of anything you care about and value about your people, consider it a red flag.
Welcome New Ideas
Your workers can have great ideas on how to improve your business or overcome challenges. Listen to them and appreciate their interest in your business. If you want to encourage your employees to share their thoughts, create opportunities for them to speak up.
Set expectations carefully. You can’t effectively practice the above-mentioned strategies if you’re not aware of the expectations you set. Managers and business owners are prone to overpromising results to workers, which eventually leads to trouble. So, set realistic expectations.
Know What You Can Offer
When it comes to business, there are certain limits. You may be willing to give a grieving employee an option to work from home or several weeks of leave. But it’s not always your decision. Your company’s rules and regulations might not allow for things you want to do for your employees. Therefore, make sure you understand what’s possible and what's not.
The Role of HR
Your HR department can play a crucial role in creating a caring environment. For example, they’re involved in planning and executing employee experience plans. Make sure to equip your HR department with all the resources and tools they need to ensure an excellent employee experience.
Here are 4 ways HR can impact company culture:
- Training and development
- Improved employer-employee relationship
- Conduct of HR managers in leadership roles
- Use of performance and talent management tools
What is the Culture of Kindness?
Small acts of kindness are of great help when it comes to ensuring caring management. Kindness culture is when all of your people, including senior management, care about each other and are willing to go the extra mile to develop a better workplace.
The following are 4 ways to create a culture of empathy and kindness:
- Encourage acts of kindness
- Recognize the power of kindness
- Make kindness a prerequisite for leadership
- Ensure healthy working conditions
- Practice gratitude
Final Thoughts on Caring Management
The need for bringing more humanity, social connection, and care to the employees’ experience is gaining momentum. Caring management is critical because talented workers look for value-based recognition and a healthy manager-employee relationship. It’s an era of leaders - the time for bosses is gone.
Successful leaders care about their people. They don’t hesitate to invest efforts to make contributions at all levels. Follow them. Learn how to create a balance between doses of kindness and overall business outcome. Help your employees enjoy what they do. Remember, you need to be a great leader, not a friend.