Retaining Your Best Talent Part 1

This multi-segment discussion of Express Pro Talks will focus on the critical reasons employees leave and introduce a few well-documented findings that can enhance your efforts in the great retention war that is ravaging employers today.

It should be noted at the outset that a “quit” is not just an event, but rather a process. In fact, it becomes a process of disengagement that can take days, weeks, or months. Also, as we know, some employees quit and leave the organization, while others “quiet quit” and infect other employees with their apathetic, negative behavior. Thus, disengagement is the first factor to be reviewed.

The Gallup organization compiled over 42 separate studies that showed only one in four employees were fully engaged at work. 75% of Employees Disengaged.That means 75 % were disengaged and associated costs to employers exceeded $ 350 billion dollars. These costs include the expense to recruit replacements, the cost of training a new employee, and the loss in productivity. So, think about the impact on customer service and retention.

Two very basic reasons provide clues as to why employees quit.

  • First, negative work conditions which are defined by poor supervision, divisiveness in the office, politics, playing favorites, discriminatory behaviors and a lack of career growth opportunities.
  • Second, a lack of constructive performance feedback.

The following data is the result of research conducted by the Saratoga Institute and Price Waterhouse Coopers. In their study, they gleaned 67 reasons from thousands of exit interviews. Interestingly, of the 67 reasons, 85% were voluntary quits and not rooted in reasoned-thinking. They were, in fact, the result of emotions or feelings.

In this survey, employees began thinking about leaving the company when one or more of the following fundamental human needs were not met, which is why it is important for leaders to recognize and know these needs.

  1. The need for trust. The employee must believe that the company will deliver on its promises to be open and honest in all transactions and communications. This also means fair treatment in wages and benefits.
  2. The need for hope. Believing you will be able to grow and develop your skills through training and advancements.
  3. The need to feel a sense of self-worth. Confident if you work hard, do your best, demonstrate commitment, you will be recognized and respected, in other words viewed as an asset rather than an expense to be minimized.
  4. Finally, the need to feel competent. Expecting and hoping that you will be matched to a job that makes good use of your abilities and is challenging. You can also see the results of your work and receive regular feedback on your performance.

Addressing these needs and recognizing that an employee’s best efforts at work are deeply personal can help employers retain good workers.

Employees can be viewed through four dimensions of energy. Let’s take a quick look at these energies.

The first and fundamental level is PHYSICAL ENERGY. This is defined by our daily living habits like eating properly, getting sufficient sleep and physical activity.

The second energy level is EMOTIONAL ENERGY. This simply means that the employee brings a sense of optimism and positivity to work engaging the heart.

The third energy level consists of MENTAL ENGAGEMENT. This element is defined as being focused on the tasks with clear-thinking and realism. We’ve now engaged the head.

Finally, the fourth energy and the highest is that of SPIRITUAL ENGAGEMENT. This means the employee brings a sense of purpose along with passion, commitment and integrity.

Of the four, spirit is the most important element in the engagement process. Everyone has a need for continuous learning that ensures the employee’s values and beliefs are aligned with the organization. Meeting this need helps to ensure such a matching.

Which means that today’s leaders must become engagement experts!

Four thoughts helpful to promote the organization’s culture include the following:

  1. Consider engagement a business-critical technology that must be taught, implemented and constantly evaluated.
  2. Develop best practices that are unique to your enterprise and utilize surveys to ensure application and alignment.
  3. Help employees understand the WHY’s of policies and practices and the reason engagement is important to them.
  4. Your business model should reflect the multi-dimensional challenges of engagement.

Of critical importance is the need to have leadership processes in place that ensure that the employee’s four needs are consistently met.

Any such process begins by holding the leadership team accountable for developing the talents of their employees along with providing regular performance feedback or coaching.

Lastly, this is a shared responsibility in that the employee must feel safe in holding his/her manager responsible for the periodic and consistent feedback needed for the employee’s development and growth. This would also include holding managers accountable for departmental turnover and requiring complete explanations for each voluntary termination.

Please join us for the next segment of how and why organizations lose their talent. And, as always, if you have questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact your local Express office. Until next time, this is Russ Moen for Express Pro Talks.