4 ways department managers can improve employee experience
by Tim Sackett January 12
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This blog is the ninth in our E-Factor series, where we explore hot topics in Employee Experience. To read more about the E-Factor, click here.
You know what? It can be really boring working in your department! No, I don't care what your department does, it's boring! How do I know? Because if you work in any department long enough, it gets boring. No matter what it is you do, and it might seem super cool to someone outside your department, it can get monotonous for the person who does it every day. This is why it’s just as important for department managers as it is for HR to focus on employee experience.
Here are 4 ways department managers can make sure employees have a positive experience in their day-to-day work:
1. Create special moments
A key to getting employees unstuck is to create moments that are out of the ordinary. It doesn’t have to be something big, but it does have to be special and not something you would do every day. If you're a zipped-up, buttoned-down kind of shop, on the third Thursday in January have an all-out beach day in your department, in New York, while everyone else comes to work in their normal work clothes. Keep it a tradition for your department only, show up and see the energy come alive!
Why it works: No matter what you do in your department, every employee wants to feel connected to the overall organization and know that what they are doing is not only developing themselves, but also changing your world. We get so caught up in thinking we need to change the world. That’s media-driven. How about we just change our world first?
2. Foster pride
Each Monday, start off the day with a quick-hitting “what we learned last week” email. Use bullet points to connect what your department does to the rest of the organization. Some will be funny. Some will be serious. Some will be important. Sprinkle them all in. Be consistent. Don’t start doing this and then stop because you have nothing left to say. Each week things are happening. We always have something to say.
Why it works: Great experiences happen when you’re prideful. I’m a huge college football fan. I probably feel more pride when “my” team loses than when we win. No matter, it’s about the team, the hard work that was put in, and knowing everyone gave their best. Your team, in your department, also has a ton of pride in working for you, your department and your organization!
3. Encourage new connections
Try small, random competitions among departments that let them compete against each other in fun ways. Maybe one quarter you do a contest to see which department can send the fewest emails in a week, forcing people to get up and actually talk to other people in other departments.
Why it works: Wonderful employee experiences start and end with connections. Think about the best employee experience you ever had. You probably remember less information about the details of the experience and more about who you were with, how they made you feel and how you made them feel.
4. Bring your team together in new ways
What are you doing to bring your team together?Sometimes, it might be small group stuff, big group stuff, or individual stuff. All of it matters. It's not one of those things, it's a little bit of all of those things. Mix it up!
Why it works: Each of us needs and wants different things. If you're only doing full department activities, you're missing out on some great interactions amongst your group!
As a department leader, it’s important to drive employee experience along with HR and your executive team. In fact, get ahead of employee experience on your own and build a department culture that leads your organization!
I’m a 20 year HR/Recruiting Talent Pro with a Master’s in HR and SPHR certification, currently residing in Lansing, MI. Currently the President at HRU Technical Resources – a $40M IT and Engineering contract staffing firm and RPO. Prior to joining HRU, I was the Director of Employment at Sparrow Health System, Regional HR and Staffing Director with Applebee’s Intl., Retail Health Recruiting Manager and Regional HR Mgr. with ShopKo Stores and Pamida respectively. I’ve split my career half between recruiting and half between HR generalist roles – also split half between the HR vendor community and Corporate America – So, I think I get it from both sides of the desk.