The Value of Employee Self-Reflection
One of my clients launched a new brand of furniture fabric, Anna Elisabeth, earlier this year. To help manage the organizational change related to launching the new brand, and to boost employee satisfaction and retention, Anna Elisabeth invited me to do a Self-Reflection workshop with their employees.
With many of them in new roles, and all of them working with new clients, my goal was to help them work through the challenges that come with growth and change.
At the start of the workshop, I wrote each of the employees’ CliftonStrengths on the whiteboard at the front of the room. We talked about the new venture and then I asked each employee to write a letter to herself that she’d receive in 6 months.
I wanted each employee to identify how she felt about being part of the team launching the new brand, what contributions she’d made to so far, what she’d like to contribute in the future, what she was pleased by, and what she was struggling with.
This type of exercise provided the employees with a record of how they were feeling at that moment in time, as months of their hard work culminated with the launch of the new brand. It was an opportunity for each employee to reflect on their profession and to consider whether they’d be utilizing their CliftonStrengths.
One woman’s letter fondly revealed feeling like the new brand was the team’s baby. She then described how she planned to use her CliftonStrength of Focus to help grow the brand and detailed several ways she could do so, setting goals in multiple categories. She further identified ways she could grow personally through her contributions at work.
How Does Employee Self-Reflection Benefit Employers? Or
What Employers Can Learn from Employee Self-Reflection
As a company, it’s important to encourage employees to periodically self-reflect. When they take time to think through how they feel about their job, their coworkers, and their employer, it helps them identify what they’re doing well and where they can improve. They can then set goals accordingly and take steps towards achieving those goals.
Without making time for self-reflection, people can feel stuck. They may continue working in jobs they’re not well-suited for, which means their employer doesn’t get nearly as much productivity or efficiency from them as they could if they were in a role that allowed them to use their CliftonStrengths.
The exercise of writing a letter to themselves can also provide employees with a powerful tool for self-analysis when they receive it back. The Anna Elisabeth employee, for example, will be able to measure whether she accomplished or made progress towards the goals she outlined, as well as identifying changes she’d like to make or new goals she’d like to set.
Theoretically, you could meet with each of your employees and ask these types of questions. In my experience, however, most people are more willing to be honest and vulnerable – even with themselves – when they take time to reflect and write down their feelings.
How Millennial Guru Can Help You Use the Information
When individuals write themselves a letter, they’re pausing to think about how they feel at that moment. But the most valuable reflection comes later, when they receive the letter they wrote to themselves.
The letters, of course, are confidential. I always explain to employees that I will aggregate and share the overarching ideas of the entire team with the employer but never the individuals’ actual words. By doing so, they feel safe being candid and open.
As an employer, receiving this type of feedback helps you identify:
things that are going well, and
your employees’ frustrations.
Based on the feedback, Millennial Guru works with you to devise effective strategies for maximizing the positives and managing the frustrations, which often arise when people’s work doesn’t align with their CliftonStrengths.
We’ll help you redefine roles, if necessary, and provide suggestions for identifying individual and team goals. The end result will be a workforce that’s more cohesive and goal-oriented than ever before!