Peter Myers at CUNA CFO Council Conference 2017

Change the conversation to boost staff engagement

Dialogue should include ‘a range of rigor and light-heartedness.’

May 30, 2017

A key element of developing an environment of engagement for employees is establishing a forum for development and engagement.

Peter Myers discussed how to create this environment during a breakout session at the CUNA CFO Council Conference Tuesday in Orlando.

“If you have a direct report and you have regular conversation weekly or monthly, how much of that conversation focuses on operations?” Myers asks. “Probably too much. I recommend having a different conversation. Change the dynamic. Create a safe place where those reports can tell you if they’re not good at something, which can be a career-limiting move for some people. That builds trust.”

Supervisors can also ask reports what their favorite or least favorite aspects of the job are, and how they can build on those answers.

“Everyone has a favorite part about their role and everyone has a least favorite part of their role,” Myers says. “If you’re not seen as understanding that, your development conversations are going to follow suit. If you’re expecting the people behind you to learn, but you haven’t identified what you need to learn, how are you going to develop a culture of learning and growth.”

This process should also include a self-assessment from the employee and an assessment of the employee from the supervisor.

Myers says the meetings should include a range of “rigor and light-heartedness.”

He notes that giving a hard-eyed assessment is difficult but virtually everyone appreciates it when it is given within an atmosphere of trust.

Managers should also ask for feedback, he says. “What that change for your manager asked that of you? It would change the conversation.”

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