Businesses are in uncharted territory, losing crowds of employees and losing a good night’s sleep because they don’t know how to retain their best and brightest talent. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a record 4.3 million employees left their jobs in August 2021 alone. The mass exodus dubbed “The Great Resignation” has driven business leaders to scramble to find ways to end the hiring crisis. And many are at their wit’s end.
What employees want
In desperation, companies have used worn-out gimmicks, perks, and tips that haven’t worked instead of tackling the root causes of the record-breaking revenue. Workers want more than candy or a quick price. Research shows that they have a deep desire for skills development, lifelong learning, training and opportunities for professional growth. But it takes intrepid leaders to provide employees with access to exciting new work opportunities that enhance their abilities, offering personalized and meaningful chances to be creative and to learn. Here are the top reasons employees flee, other than salary and benefits, according to a recent survey:
- limited career progression (41%),
- Lack of flexibility in working hours (40%)
- A toxic work environment (39%)
- Not being valued and appreciated (37%)
- Inadequate management (32%)
- Lack of learning and development opportunities (32%)
10 Leadership C-Lutions for Employees to Stand the Test of Time
Organizations can no longer say lip service that employees are their greatest asset when very few actually invest in them. And the workers have learned to see through it. For future-proof employees, you must be a fearless leader with more walk than talk who genuinely views your employees as a renewable resource. You have the courage to ditch the old-fashioned management styles and update them with new rules of engagement. You are ready to assess your own feelings, practice what you preach, and manage from what I call your C-Spot. Everyone has one, but if you’re like many business leaders, your C-Spot has been overshadowed by rigid, outdated business demands. If you are a fearless leader, you have 10 “C-Lutions” that you can mentor with your employees.
- Link. Lack of communication in the workplace is one of the biggest complaints of the American workforce due to one-sided and iron-fisted communication styles. Employee centric versus employer centric communication is necessary to provide a more personalized and effective approach. Employees are not robots that produce work. They want to be listened to, heard, cared for and treated with respect. If you are a fearless leader, you are a listener and a facilitator, not a talker and a bully. You practice deep listening – instead of demanding and barking orders – and you check in with individual team members, let them know they belong and keep them connected to the business as a whole.
- Compassion. A recent study found that 54% of workers quit a previous job because their boss was not empathetic about their struggles at work, and 49% said employers were not sympathetic to their personal lives. If you are a fearless leader, you practice empathy and compassion to build trust, the glue that holds an organization together. You have emotional intelligence as much as business intelligence and are transparent and fair, not afraid to share your own slippages, challenges and personal feelings. You put sanity above productivity and profit to create a workplace where vulnerability is accepted, employees feel safe and supported so they don’t look elsewhere. You encourage people to share their feelings because you know it connects them more deeply to team members, increases their engagement, performance and productivity, automatically increasing business results.
- Creativity. Employees say the opportunity for growth and empowerment is at the top of their wishlist. You practice “personalization” and “personalization” by offering flexible working arrangements, such as hybrid or remote work, to meet personal needs. You advocate for training and encourage creativity and brainstorming among staff by asking and answering questions that stimulate critical thinking, generate creative ideas that allow you to better understand employee values, needs and beliefs. You know that when employee ideas are called upon and implemented, workers take more ownership of the business, resulting in better performance, greater productivity and longer tenure.
- Curiousity. You know how to put your hammer down and show curiosity about employee issues. You become curious about the root causes, instead of reacting with blunt and harsh judgments, imbuing yourself with deeper knowledge about more possibilities and solutions to problems. A continued curiosity about what employees might need to get engaged and how to help them overcome barriers at work is a sign of successful leadership that keeps employees going longer.
- Courage. You are a mold breaker and risk taker. You put your neck out of your comfort zone and encourage employees to do the same for innovation and change in a rigid collapsing corporate scaffolding. You wonder what advantage you can achieve in your career to create a more productive workplace. From which bridge you can jump to germinate their wings. Which member you can reach to reach the fruit of the tree.
- Confidence. You recognize and reward employees for their hard work, possess the confidence to provide a degree of independence on the job, and avoid unreasonable job demands and deadlines and micromanagement. Studies show that employees want to be recognized and appreciated, and you give lots of positive comments and affirmations by looking for places where they add the most value and rewarding them both verbally and financially. When you trust your employees, they are motivated to perform and stay loyal to the organization.
- Calm. You don’t have to be a scientist to know that a relaxed and non-stressful work culture promotes work engagement and productivity as well as business results; as threats, coercion and intimidation – the dinosaur management styles of the industrial revolution – only backfire. Leaders who sow fear in the hearts of their employees cultivate a toxic work culture and compromise the mental health of employees. If you are a fearless leader, you realize that a calm workplace begins with you and your own temperament, and you wonder how you can stay calm and lead with ease. In addition to being a model of calm, you take steps to relieve stress by encouraging mindfulness meditation, tai chi, yoga, and calming practices. You advocate for work / life balance, paid time off, vacations and microcations, and encourage staff to practice microchillers and micropauses throughout the work day.
- Clarity. You see the big picture where the solutions and the possibilities lie. You are clear on your management style and know what works and what doesn’t. You take a frequent inventory of your strengths and limitations and encourage employees to do the same as a benchmark for goal setting and growth. You have a clear mind about your own job description, your goals and what you want to accomplish. You are adept at facilitating clarity within the organization, communicating expectations, and ensuring employees know their roles. You follow trend reports and research into why workers are dropping out of jobs and what retention measures are needed.
- Comedy. Somewhere along the way, the American workforce forgot that work is supposed to be enjoyable, even fun, like the Seven Dwarfs who sang “Hi Ho, Hi Ho, let’s go to work, we let’s go “. Well, maybe not that light. But the job doesn’t have to be a grim, humorless determination where we sweat and work before we earn the right to enjoy it. The lightness and humor of life improves employee moods and boosts company morale – a joke, fun things your kids do, a silly story that happened over the weekend. The prescription for an enjoyable career path is one or more giggles a day. And if you’re a fearless leader, you make sure that humor and levity are essential ingredients of the workday.
- Satisfaction. When leaders are not happy with their positions, it filters. If you are a dissatisfied leader, you are looking for the source. You determine what you need to be more satisfied with your job. Once you identify the root of your own unhappiness, you have a roadmap to foster this process among your employees. You check with them to make sure they are happy with their job and if not, identify what can be done. Instead of waiting for employees to complain, you’re proactive, ahead of issues in the workplace, showing staff that you care, really care and protect them.