In the first season of the Emmy Award-winning show Ted Lasso, Coach Lasso asks his team what the leadership can do to make things better. One of the requests was for better water pressure in the showers. Because team management didn’t use the showers, they were unaware that there was a problem with the water pressure. By the simple act of asking for feedback, they learned about a problem that affected the team’s comfort and performance, and they were able to provide a cost-effective solution.
Leaders in every industry can learn from Coach Lasso’s example here. There is often a disconnect between how employees feel about their jobs and how management thinks employees feel about their jobs. That disconnect can create a lot of issues, affecting everything from employee engagement to productivity, and ultimately contributing to increased turnover.
So what can companies take away from Ted Lasso to help improve their employee retention rates? Here are 3 tips:
Ask Your Employees What They Need
It may sound simple, but it worked for Coach Lasso: No amount of leadership experience or organizational studies in employee engagement will make up for asking your employees directly what they need in order to feel fulfilled and engaged in their jobs. For some employees, that may be flexible work schedules to spend time with their children; others might be benefit from consultations on their 401ks, or remote work capabilities. To find out how you can help, creating open channels of communication with employees is one of the most important things for a manager to do. Give employees a voice by encouraging them to speak up in meetings and having regular check-ins (formal or informal) between the company’s leaders and employees to make sure everyone feels comfortable sharing their experiences.
Do What You Say You Will Do
Of course, asking employees what they need is just step one — leaders then have to follow up on those requests. Coach Lasso didn’t just sympathize with them about the water pressure; he got the showers fixed. When your employees share their goals and challenges with you, find ways to take action to improve their work experience. Not only will this show tangible investments in your employees’ wellness and engagement, but it also proves that your company and its leaders have integrity. Saying you care goes only so far; take steps to show it.
Show Your Employees That You Value Them
The bottom line is that employees want to feel valued and appreciated at work. Full-time workers spend most of their adult lives at their jobs, and it’s important to find ways to enjoy those hours. Happy employees are more engaged in their work, and engaged employees are more productive. And while gift cards, cash bonuses, and public acknowledgement of great work are important retention strategies, you can also show your employees you value them by listening to their needs and implementing solutions.
By investing in your employees and showing gratitude for all that they bring to your company, you help create a win-win situation for the employee and the company. For Coach Lasso’s team, it wasn’t about showers; it was about being seen and feeling heard.
It’s easy for a company to say that their company culture is important to them, and that they value their employees. But the companies with the highest retention rates aren’t those who talk the talk — they’re the ones who, like Coach Lasso, walk the walk.