Love 'Em Where They Are

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Written by Beverly Crowell, Executive Vice President, Career Systems International

We talk a lot about the value of engaging and retaining a talented workforce. After all, there’s a lot in it for the business, the manager and the employee to do so. Who doesn’t want to say, “Man, I love my job.”

We may not talk enough however about how to love our employees right where they are. After all, we are all different. All employees are different. Each brings a unique set of experiences, culture, background and relationships with them to work every day. And, while it’s great to say, engagement matters. It may be even more important to say, inclusion matters more.

Can we fully engage someone who doesn’t feel included? Can they feel included if we don’t know who they are and ultimately don’t “love ’em right where they are?”

So, how do we … love ’em right where they are, that is?  Try below for starters:

  • Analyze your perspective on people. Admit to your leanings toward or away from those who are “different” from you. Notice how those leanings play out at work. Whom did you last promote? Who do you tend to ignore, praise less often, or be less friendly with? Whom do you really listen to most often?
  • You cannot respect and honor others unless you respect – even celebrate – the differences between people. To learn about the differences among your employees, conduct a “Discovery Day.” Encourage your team to talk about themselves, how they grew up, the holidays they observe, and why. Then find a way to celebrate those differences at work.
  • Keep it simple. Notice ALL your employees, and introduce them to others, even those of “higher” rank. Smile, say hello and make sure they don’t feel invisible.
Bottom line, engagement and inclusion is about building respect. Respecting others should seem easy enough. After all, it’s just an attitude. What’s yours?
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