Improving the Employee Experience with Vicky Oliver

Reading Time: 12 Minutes

In this interview, Vicky Oliver shares her tips to reduce the flight risk of valued employees. 

After the Interview:

About Vicky Oliver

Vicky is a leading career development expert and speaker. She is the author of 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions, 301 Smart Answers to Tough Business Etiquette Questions and Bad Bosses, Crazy Coworkers & Other Office Idiots.

Read the Transcript

This transcript was auto-generated from the original video recording using Otter Voice Meeting NotesWhile the transcript has not been human edited, we hope it will still help you to quickly find or reference useful information from the interview.


Deliberate Leaders I am your host Allison Dunn, Executive Coach and Founder of the Deliberate Leaders podcast dedicated to helping leaders build strong, thriving businesses. Each episode we feature inspiring interviews to help you on your leadership journey. I am super excited to introduce our guest today. here with us we have Vicky Oliver. She is a leading career development expert speaker and a multi best selling author of five books, including these are solid title. So, type 301, smart answers to tough interview questions, as well as 301 Smart answers to tough business etiquette questions. And bad bosses, crazy co workers and other office idiots. Vicky, I am super excited to have you here with us today. Welcome.


Thanks so much for having me. I really appreciate it.


Absolutely. I love to kick these off with a deliberate conversation. So my question for you is what would be your number one leadership tip for our listeners.


I think the pandemic has changed what leadership means. And I believe all leaders need to be more sensitive to their workers. And they need to realize that people are not necessarily going to work for them forever. And they have to work to retain their employees.


I think that is a very relevant tip to where we are in the state of the world today. Our topic today is going to cover essentially, ways to reduce the flight risk of valued employees. So you just teed that up in a fantastic way. And so this episode is going to dive deep into ways to do that. In some of the research that you’d provided, you showed that one in four workers plans to look for a new job in the coming months. Is that a global statistic or an a US statistic?


That is a national statistic. That is not a global statistic. That said, I wish talking today to someone from Britain. And in England, it’s the same situation. So I mean, I’m talking here in the US. But it is interesting if it has global implications, you know, the pandemic is a global problem. And the pandemic is what’s causing this great resignation as it’s called. Right.


In, in some recent research I was doing I think my statistic was higher than one in four in the sense that it was talking about and then talking about in the next year, and you’ve kind of shorten the timeframe of one and four in a few months. So more people, but 25% of the workforce is ready to do something 50% I might, I might and here’s why. So let’s talk about how the pandemic has basically made our workforce, like reflect and really think about the career path that they thought that they were on or that they want to be on.


Right. So I created a term for it. I’m calling it like a recalibration. I love that term. The pandemic has been lasting a year and a half, maybe more, depending on how you count it right. And it takes only three weeks to break a habit, right? So workers have had all this time to break the habit of going into the office. And we’ve all learned like how to work remotely. we’ve all learned technology, we’ve had to grow a lot, right? And so I’d say the first six months of the pandemic, that’s what was happening. Work with remote workers went home, everybody was working from home and we all had to deal with zoom and other technologies. Right? And then that was the first six months, right? Well, it’s been a year since the first six months. And now workers are stepping back and saying Okay, now I’m I’m more skilled, because I have the technology. Right? And more efficient. I don’t have to commute to the office. Okay, and I don’t have the distraction of water cooler talk, right? So all of that is moved away. And we’ve all had a chance to reflect and think Okay, do I like what I’m doing? You know, am I happy here? And I think that the answer a lot of times is no I’m not that happy. And you know, here’s why. And people You know, workers want companies where they believe in the values of their bosses and their employers. And that’s super important right now. So.


So what would be some of the things that you are hearing you’re seeing that are the most challenging for employers? And what do they need to do about that?


Right. So I mean, I’d say the first thing is to realize that it’s a seismic shift that has happened, okay. And we’ve all adjusted and now, I would say, work on retention, work on keeping the people working for you don’t assume it’s going to happen, that’s like, I’d say the key thing is to realize it’s a new dynamic. And then I would say, you know, to try to have a mission that’s important, and then communicate the mission to employees , and try to get them excited about working for it, you know, being ambassadors for your company, that’s what I would say is the main thing. People like to be appreciated. And in the old, I’m going to call it the old dynamic of going into the office, a lot of people weren’t appreciated, but there were a lot of distractions, you know, the cubicle culture, there’s a lot of chatter in the hallways, you know, and, and gossip and things that might distract somebody from really thinking about whether or not they enjoy what they do, you know, just two years ago, just to go home on a Friday, early, or something would be considered a perk, hearing a huge point, oh, you know, congratulations, you get an hour off, you know, you can pick up your daughter at the school play, that type of thing, you know, that was a perk, then everybody got that, right, we all got it. Now, that’s not a perk that you can get, you know what I mean? So it’s like, you need to replace that type of superficial perk, with something that is more significant to people, you know, I mean, I think part of it is being transparent, and listening and caring about your workers. And in this environment, where we can see where the person lives, you know, we know more about the employee if we want to, and I would say, this is the moment to like, learn about your people, what’s important to them, you know, what’s important to them, when they’re not working for you, I would say that’s like a good place to start.


I had the opportunity to kind of have a similar conversation today. And so let me just set it up, and then look for tips on things that you’d suggest for this. I mean, I coached him but you know, like this, let’s use this as a coaching moment. So large organization, to 25% of his team has been on within the company for less than a year 75% of the team has been there a little bit longer. So 25% of the team actually is just meeting its other team members, they’ve been there for already a year and plus, but they’re, they just come back to office. So how do you acclimate? And then and then make sure you maintain that? Should we have to go back home or change things up or try a hybrid model? That may be mandatory at this point? Right? I mean, for me, it is a hybrid model, I just want to say something about that. I feel it’s imperative to have a reason to go into the office, you know, if your work can function seamlessly, with everybody staying home and being safe, you know, why drag them in. So if you’re going to drag people into the office, then make it a reason to be there, maybe work people brainstorming together, maybe you need them to meet each other. Maybe you need them to think collectively so that they can pitch new business, but have a reason. You know, don’t just have it be like, okay, every Wednesday, we’re going to meet at the office, you know, and then the rest of the time you’re like you’re off on your own. So that would be you know, one thing I would think about doing, I also feel like just to keep people in the loop and make sure that they understand what it is that you are expecting, you know, the expectations. Under these circumstances, it becomes more important to communicate, because people aren’t picking up the cues. Sometimes just sitting like in a cubicle, you hear stuff, and you learn what’s happening without somebody actually walking over and telling you right, when that’s gone, that’s not there. So now, the things like scheduling meetings Those things need to be communicated super clearly today.


Yeah. Excellent tips. So let’s shift a little bit. So given the threats of, I don’t know, post pandemic, job hopping, and I suppose pandemic, I don’t even know when that will be so few Fingers crossed. So.


So but there is a threat looming based on that for sure. What can managers, leaders owners do to truly help retain their employees in a way that, that they physically ensures their survival as a business?


Right. So I think one thing is to open yourself up to feedback, and to ask workers what they think, and to be prepared, that you may not like hearing the answers. You know, if you let people work for you be honest with what their expectations are, and what their disappointments are, and how you can help them better, you might have to work much, much harder than you ever have in your life. You know, but I think if you’re open to feedback, to receiving feedback, I think that that is a very key thing. I mean, one thing that anybody could do is they could have anonymous feedback. That way, employees workers wouldn’t feel like they would be penalized for telling the truth, you know, you could have 360 degree feedback, you could have it be anonymous, and then that, would it be a little bit of a mirror, to what people are thinking about you and feeling about their jobs. You know, also another way would be just to have q&a sessions, or just have people who will solicit the feedback for you. But I think, you know, basically, it’s a privilege to lead. And I think that leaders can learn as much from the people who work for them as those who were working for them can learn from the leaders. So it needs to be sort of like a good you know, back and forth. relationship where both parties are growing up for it huge proponent for feedback. And, you know, obviously having it be received and given in a way that safe based on the size of our of the organization, I think the larger it is, the more anonymous it has to be. I was looking at some, you know, like, recent releases of the fact that like, for example, Microsoft indefinitely postponed after like, you know, suggesting that it was coming back, it’s gonna come back into iOS, come back, come back. And so now they’re saying, like, there’s no comeback? You know, we’re just letting it go. And not saying that is pending, of coming back into the office with, with large organizations leading the way that way? What are some of the things because I think there is a portion of the population that loves the hybrid concept, but also does need a team in an office in that connection? What are some of the things that we as a work culture need to be thinking about to amplify the connection that we need as humans? with other people? Right, wow.


so, you know, part of it, I think, especially like, in the example that you gave with many of the people coming on the new part of it is how to think about onboarding better, you know, because I know that for me, I’ve worked in lots of places where I thought the training was terrible, you know, or non existent right? There again, you know, I was working, and I was going to the office, and because like I said, you can pick up things, even just sitting there, even if nobody’s training you, you can pick it up, or you can run over to somebody that cubicle next door, and say, please help me, you know, help me do this task. And you can kind of like, teach yourself, right. But in this environment, I think it’s harder to do that. And I think all connections are harder to foster. If you’ve never met the person in person, it’s harder to you know, so, as managers, the managers have to figure out a way around that problem. You know, it’s not like there’s necessarily one solution. I mean, a solution could be that, you know, you have office hours, like on a certain day that are zoom, zoom hours, and people can come to you with questions, you know, that would be one way or just having online training would be a way around the onboarding. hump but I feel like with new employees, it’s important to get them up to speed and you want to do it quickly, and you don’t want them to be floundering, right. They might be floundering for weeks and weeks. And you might not know it under the circumstances. That’s the problem. So I would say like, think about that, from a scheduling standpoint, how are you going to onboard new employees? Like, do you want to have a mentor system? Do you want to try to set up new employees with, you know, more senior people and have mentoring systems, there’s lots of different ways to do it, just to think about it.


I think that’s a really important aspect. And just to, like, reflect on the opportunity for, you know, what I was talking about from a coaching session earlier was, you know, how do you deal with it going forward? And not necessarily, like, try to backtrack, because you can’t backtrack, you didn’t onboard them well, and acclimate and connect people? Like, how do you do that now that we’re in office, and there is an opportunity? I would love like, any creative thoughts and suggestions that you have for building a hybrid work model that actually like works.


Right. Right. So like I said, there’s like I said, Before, I feel like, the most important thing is to realize that people’s time is very valuable. And when they’re coming into an office, they may be commuting for maybe an hour or more to get there. So you want the in person office experience to be worthwhile for your workers, you know, so that’s, I would say one thing, just make it make it fun, make it worthwhile. I mean, also, try to think of days, which makes sense, you know, for most of the people to be there, why are they there, you don’t want them just to come in and sit, you want them to interact with each other, you know, to have to have meetings and meaningful like in person gatherings. But I also think that there’s a couple of ways that you could make the zoom experience, you know, just this type of thing. Could be more fun. Also, I feel like you could have all of your workers, like, bring in something, you know, have an icebreaker in the, in the beginning of a meeting and have people bring in something, maybe it’s a photograph, maybe it’s talking about a movie that they saw, or a book that they’re reading, but bring in something that tells you a little bit about, you know, bring in their pet, you know, something that tells you a little bit about their home life, I think it’d be more fun or have people bring in the background, you know, have a nice zoom background for the meeting, you can make it more fun and less like we’re sitting in boxes. For sure.


I, I know that, that people are kind of pondering while they’re working through what the right you know, in office, out of office, hybrid combination, I think tips on having them have a reason while they’re in the office is super important. And making it the best that it possibly can be as opposed to sitting at a desk, which is then corporate America, or ever in decades, right. And I think we’re at a massive shift for this.


I just want to say one other point. Yeah, about that. So I mean, I’ve sat in many a meeting, wondering like, when will the meeting be over? You know, why are we sitting in this interminable meeting? I just want to get back you know, I do my thing. So in everyone else, and everyone else right? I knew we’ve all felt that let’s be honest. It’s also realizing that the meetings are an opportunity for face time with other people at the office. It’s not just a transaction. It’s not like okay, well we finish this assignment in this meeting, you know, what will we accomplish when we do the chart, the flow chart, you know, for next week or whatever, it’s also an opportunity to actually see the human beings in person and just realize that


I think that that’s an outstanding points. I, I just want to make sure that our listeners understand how to connect with you and learn more about you and the books that you have to offer.


Okay. My name is Vicki Oliver. And my website is very easy. It’s, that’s the VIC k y, and my books are available on Amazon and other places where books are sold. And there’s a lot of information on my website, too, that people can peruse and read, you know, articles and stuff.


Fantastic if you don’t mind that I have a quick offer for our listeners from us. If you found great value from today’s episode here at deliberate leaders podcast, they would appreciate it. If you would write a review on one of your favorite listening channels. You take a screenshot of your review and share it on LinkedIn and mention myself, Allison Dunn and our guest today’s guest, Vicky Oliver. We will gift you a one year membership to the world’s #1 business book summary service for leaders. It’s our gift to you to stay on top of the latest ideas, decide on which books you want to read next, and how to engage your teams. Vicki, thank you so much for being here with us today. I appreciate you.


Thank you for having me.

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I'm Allison Dunn,

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