Your employees want you to see them for more than just your employee. They want a genuine connection with you that goes beyond work.
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Hey everybody, Drew McLellan here from Agency Management Institute coming to you from Nassau, Bahamas. It is lovely here. We're down here for a peer group. Actually, we're down here for two peer groups so you're going to see me next week from this same location. But what I want to talk to you about today is our employees. So one of the big takeaways from our 2022 Agency Edge Research was that our employees are really hungry to be seen, but to be seen in a very holistic way. And then last week, I interviewed a woman who had just wrote a brand-new book called "The Empathy Advantage" and is talking about how we can show up as employers. And she also mentioned this idea that employees today really need their employers to understand who they are, not just as an employee but as a person. They really hunger for us to understand what's going on with their family and what's going on with them socially and what matters to them outside of work. They want to bring their whole self to work and they want us to recognize that whole self. And I think, for a lot of us as agency owners and business owners, we get going so fast and we are so running from thing to thing to thing. And it's not that we don't care about our employees and it's not that we aren't invested in who they are as people, but sometimes we get so busy, we forget. We forget to stop. We forget to have conversations. We forget to ask about their kids or their parents or their weekend. And we don't slow down enough to find time to create those connections. And yet we want loyal employees and we want longevity and we want retention. And I'm here to tell you that we're not going to get that if we don't connect with them in a more holistic, personal way. So some ways that you can do that: Number one, you can start having either breakfast or coffees or dinners. For many years at my agency, I did this thing called Dinner with Drew, and it was an optional activity. Every employee got a couple times a year, they had the option of having dinner with me if they wanted. They got to pick the restaurant, I pick up the tab, and the rule was we didn't talk about work. We just chatted about whatever it was they wanted to talk about, and sometimes it was parenting advice, sometimes it was baseball, sometimes it was... Whatever, it didn't matter. I was just happy to have the time with them. And amazingly, they were happy to have the time with me. So it doesn't have to be dinner. It could be coffee. It could be breakfast. It could be a one-on-one meeting inside the office. It could be a Zoom coffee. It could be cocktail hour. It doesn't matter. But carving out the time to spend 20 or 30 minutes just talking as human beings and really connecting with one another is a great way for you to build loyalty and connection and for them to feel seen and valued. That's an important part of our job today as business owners and leaders, and I don't want you to miss it because you're in such a hurry to get the next thing done, that you don't recognize that they're waiting for you to connect with them. Okay? Give it a try. Let me know how it goes and I'll be back next week with another tip. See you then!