A recent survey of a thousand managers done by BetterManager revealed that only 24% of managers knew the names of their direct reports’ immediate family members. The best practice for this is 100%. The more you know about your direct reports, the stronger the connection. The stronger the connection, the deeper the loyalty. And the deeper the loyalty, the greater the employee engagement and trust.
Deepening relationships with direct reports means many things. It means remembering the names of their children, recognizing spouses/significant others and understanding personal challenges such as divorce or a death in the family.
“Employees feel happy when managers connect with them on a personal level. They feel like coming to work daily, face challenges with a smile and also constantly strive hard to take their organization to the top.” (Management Study Guide: Importance of Knowing Employees).
A fairly easy strategy for getting to know more about the personal lives of your direct reports is described by Laurie Shakur, a member of the Forbes Human Resources Council who says, “Employees often display mementos, awards and photos of pets and family that illustrate what’s important to them. Inquire, then follow-up and keep the conversation going. People love talking about their passions and genuinely appreciate when others take an active interest.”
Building healthy relationships and boundaries with your team members is one of the most important things you can do as a manager. Expressing interest, care and concern is very different than becoming intimately involved in your direct reports lives. Remember, people leave managers, not companies. If you have a trusting relationship with your team member, and they know you have their back, they will often stay because they feel supported.