Creating connections begins in the early stages of an employee’s journey with your organization. It starts even before your interview them. Your brand’s image on the web and in your job postings creates an idea of where they will work and what the potential culture is like when they enter the door on day one. This stage sets their overall experience, but it all begins once they start training.
Development must also continue throughout their career as they experience various knowledge and skill-building activities to create professional growth, as well as during new program or initiative launches. Connecting with them during these learning moments helps set the stage for their future performance, with you by their side, directing and supporting them as they experience wins and failures.
In Gapology, we share a powerful tool called The Habit Ladder. This tool is a wonderful method to move your team through the learning curve in a methodical, intentional way that develops their minds, bodies, and spirit to connect them with what they need to do. It helps to ensure that they understand what they need to do, why they need to do it, and that they agree to perform at your level of expectations or above.
Here are the steps to move them through the Habit Ladder and create a connection with them:
Communication: At this entry-level to the Habit Ladder, you will communicate the steps for them to follow. You will share what they need to know, why it matters, and what they need to do. You will be in full instructor mode here, providing direction around your expectations and all the steps involved in delivering them.
Understanding: You will validate that they understand your expectations at this level. There are many ways to validate this, including asking them great questions and looking for comprehension, testing what they retain, and observing performance.
Agreement: At this level, you will ask for agreement on the expectations. This should be a formal process that you can document and refer to later if necessary.
Practice: At this level, they practice the behaviors you expect them to exhibit. They shouldn’t do this in a silo; instead, you must be present to provide coaching to correct mistakes, as well as encourage and reward successes. This is the critical level that builds connection, so take your time here and dedicate the necessary blocks in your schedule to ensure they are performing the expected behaviors and delivering the expected results at a high level.
Habit: The final level is Habit, the objective for all knowledge and skill development. Everything you do prior will produce a habit, so ensure that you are developing the right skills to drive the proper habits around the essential things for producing the results you seek.
Connection is built through many interactions with your team; their developmental experiences provide excellent opportunities to connect with them at the deepest levels. Spend time getting to know them, learn what knowledge and skills they bring to their roles, and discover how they can most effectively impact your purpose.