Will 2023 be the year of attention?

An eye for your employees as absence prevention

Several studies show a correlation between absenteeism and dissatisfaction with management. The Swedish Karolinska Institute conducted research among 3000 workers across Europe and concluded that there is even a direct link between poor leadership and heart disease. Closer to home, other research shows that under a bad manager, nearly half of employees have motivational problems. “A quarter even become seriously demotivated,” says Wil Stoffer, company social advisor at Arbo Unie. “I also come across this with employees I supervise: that people do not feel seen or valued by their manager. Then the job satisfaction crumbles. While with genuine interest you can achieve that your employees feel more connected to their tasks and your organization. Then the energy flows again, and people come whistling to work.”

Attention creates confidence

It’s not just about taking the employees’ talents and skills into account, emphasizes Wil. “There are also many things that can affect how someone functions outside of work: a relationship breaking up, financial problems, your mother falling ill, a conflict with the neighbors, parenting problems. All situations where employees run a higher risk of dropping out. And where you as a manager can make a difference. Simply by giving space and regularly informing: how are things today? Are you running into problems and how can we help? In comparable problems, it is seen that employees who experience social support more often stay upright than others for whom this does not apply. Because it creates trust and thus removes a lot of stress. So with awareness you can cost a lot, but you can also prevent a lot of personal suffering.”

Politics provides clarity

How do you as a manager – or as an organization – give your employees the attention they need, even though you may be more focused on results and numbers by nature? “An important step is for the organization to make a policy about this,” says Wil. “That you register agreements on how you relate to employees who are, for example, in an informal care situation, or whose relatives die. Employers are sometimes hesitant about this because every situation requires adaptation. If an employee stays home for months after the loss of a loved one, can you get another to come back after three days? Don’t you get weird faces? However, this is no reason to abandon the policy. Everyone understands that this is specialist work. With a policy, you provide clarity about this, and the employees also know what they can count on. Arbo Unie is happy to advise on this.”

You can learn to pay attention

Wil also has some advice for managers:

  • Know your employees. Don’t be an ‘Excel’ manager who gives the impression that you only look at numbers, but show interest in your employees. Ask regularly how things are going, if they are still doing well, if they are not too busy, what they need. Make room for it and don’t wait for the next performance review.
  • Don’t just talk about work, ask about how things are going at home and what someone did at the weekend. In this way, you can quickly place better what is happening at work. And you can also discover unsuspected talents in your employees.
  • Provide support to employees in stressful situations. Whether these stressors are at work or at home. You don’t have to solve the problems for them, but you can facilitate solutions. Ask what they have already done or could do and how you can help. That way they keep control.
  • Is attention not your forte? So pay attention to it and actively allocate time for it in your agenda. It is also good from time to time to spar with fellow managers and your own manager about how you can lead in a more people-oriented way.
  • Or ask your employees themselves. It takes courage, but it pays off big. If you are vulnerable as a leader and show your human side, you will also gain more appreciation yourself. So the benefits work both ways.

Do you know more?

Would you like to know more about how Arbo Unie can help strengthen the resilience of your employees and your organisation? Please contact Wil Stoffer via wil.stoffer@arbounie.nl.

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