Connecting the dots for employees

  • September 21, 2016
  • /   Quint Studer
  • /   training-development,quint-studer


To the leaders and supervisors out there: Do we do a good enough job highlighting purpose?

Sure, our employees know what to do when they come into work. But do they know how much that work matters to the company?

According to Robert Half Management Resources, a whopping 53 percent of workers wish they had more insight into the effect their contributions have on the company’s success.

Quint Studer Quint Studer.

It’s easy to assume that employees understand the impact of their work. Through the years I have been fortunate enough to have substantial interaction with police, firefighters, TSA staff, emergency responders, teachers, researchers, healthcare providers, security officers and social workers. When reading those job titles, wouldn’t you think they have to know the great impact they make?

Not nearly as much as you think.

I firmly believe that every job plays an important role or it would not exist. So if every job is important and contributes to the company’s success, why do 53 percent of workers want more insight into how their work matters?

Often we work in environments where an employee is more likely to hear about their work when there is a problem. It is assumed that the impact of work is obvious, and because of that, leaders do not connect the dots with each worker on the importance of their contribution.

Here’s an example. There are few jobs more impactful than teaching. Everyone reading this can think of a teacher who had a large positive impact on their life.  I struggled in second grade at Congress Park Grade School in Brookfield, Ill. So much so, that the teacher told my parents that I should repeat the second grade. After some convincing from my mother, they agreed to put me in third grade for a six-week trial. My third grade teacher spent extra time to help me learn how to read. I still have my third grade class photo, and there I am, smiling next to Mrs. James. Without her, who knows what happens.

If so many people have enduring stories about the impact of teachers, why is teacher burnout such a significant issue? To me, they just don’t hear enough about the positive impact they have. Take a moment to drop a note to a teacher you had or your child has to say thank you.

Here are some ways to make sure everyone in your workforce knows their value:

When you receive great service or feel the job is vital, say thank you, no matter the job. From a ticket taker at a theater to an employee at a restaurant to that usher at the baseball game, let them know they are making a difference.

Years ago I was in New Orleans with a friend of mine, Norm Allen. He went up to a person sweeping the street and thanked him for doing such a good job and sharing how it made the walk so much better. I went up to the worker and asked him how that comment made him feel.

“Great,” he said.

“How long have you been on the job?” I asked.

“Quite a few years,” he replied.

“How often have you heard compliments like Norm just gave you?” I asked.

“This is the first time,” he said.

Don’t hold back. Let workers know the job they do is appreciated.

  1. It is the job of the leader to take time on a regular basis to help each employee understand the importance of their role and the impact it as on the organization. It’s called connecting the dots. It is vital for an organization to take time to outline how each role makes a contribution to the company.

That person in the billing department? The one who may not see a customer’s face day to day? They need to know that by doing a good job in accurate billing, it allows the organization to do better financially, which goes to paying employees.

We work really hard at the Pensacola Blue Wahoos to let the employees know the positive impact they have on attendees. If the fans weren’t happy, that would be a huge negative impact. Everyone — from David the ticket taker saying “Welcome!” to Paula on the landing at the first flight of stairs yelling “Waaaahoooooo!” to Travis or Stewart saying hello at the second flight of stairs, to Treneshia the usher saying “Welcome, let me help you.” — has a part to play in the fan experience.

Great fan satisfaction means more people attend games. More people attending games means more jobs. More jobs lead to a better quality of life. It is vital for each leader to on a regular basis connect the dots with employees on the importance of their role and how it makes a difference in the success of the organization.

This week, if you are in a supervisory role, share with each employee the importance of their role and how it contributes to the company’s success. When you are out and about, thank every worker who does a good job. Share exactly how they are making your experience better.

They’ll feel better. And heck, I bet you will, too.