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4 Ways To Avoid Frustrating Your People

It seems frustrations in life mainly occur not because something frustrating happens but because we expected something different. It’s unmet expectations that create disappointment, resentment, and/or anger. We all have stories of unmet expectations: that ho-hum meal at the expensive restaurant (which would have been LOVED as a home-cooked meal) to the family member who didn’t say thank you for the present you sent (which you thoughtfully selected and were excited to hear from them).

Well, guess what’s happening in the workplace? Frustration. It’s at an all-time high!

In addition to the highest quit rates in decades, 25% to 40% of today’s workforce are “sheltering in their jobs” according to BLS data and recent studies by Gallup, respectively. Yes, more than 1 in 4 workers in America are ready to leave their jobs. They’re frustrated.

They’ve got too many unmet expectations:

I expected some praise….

I expected more flexibility…

I expected more training…

I expected more fun…

I expected… I expected…I expected…

So much focus is being placed on finding top talent in today's marketplace, and we've shared many best practices and tips recently. But, here is one thing that will absolutely, without a doubt, make your recruiting easier - keeping the talent you have!

It starts with eliminating unmet expectations.

1. Create and Manage to Agreements

The best way to avoid unmet expectations is to understand, discuss, define and agree on actual expectations. This also includes what actions to take if they’re not met. Companies with two-way conversations and mutual agreement between leaders and their direct reports about expectations experience lower turnover and more engaged employees.

Ask yourself. Where are your expectations? Are they being met? How about your team or direct reports? Do you know what they expect? Are their expectations being met? Do they know what you expect?

If you’re not 100% clear on those answers, implement this: Individualized Agreements for everyone that are defined, inspiring, understood, and lead to personal and professional growth. Identify and set expectations and “The WIIFM” around these 6 areas. Outcomes, Activities, Process, Communication, Behaviors, and Values. (See related blog: You Can't Manage People, Better To Manage Agreements.)

2. Build a Culture of Positivity

According to many business leaders and HR professionals, the largest pool of employees quitting now are working remotely. This may be surprising because it seems they have the most flexibility and autonomy. Something big is often missing, though. Perhaps it's recognition and connection? According to Harvard Business Review, top-performing teams give each other 5 compliments to every 1 criticism. Is this missing in your remote workplace?

Ask yourself this: Does my team click? Is there great energy when we are all together (even if we only meet on video)? Do teammates consistently and sincerely recognize each other for their good work? Does leadership promote collaboration within and across teams?

If you can't answer YES, ABSOLUTELY! to these questions, implement intentional “connectivity.” Remote work may be creating a culture of silos—working only for the managers instead of working horizontally as part of cross-functional teams. Regardless of where or how your team works, make it a priority to connect within your team and across the organization, even as scattered as it might be right now.

3. Coach Everyone Weekly

There is no silver bullet, but this one comes close. Everyone wants - and needs - to grow. Growth comes not from doing the same things repeatedly but rather from doing things a little bit better and expanding skills, knowledge, and opportunities. Progress toward goals creates engaged employees, and over 70% of that progress is directly related to the manager.

Ask yourself this: Do you have 1:1 coaching sessions weekly or bi-weekly with your manager? Does everyone on your team have dedicated 1:1 time with their direct supervisor? Are you discussing strategy, activity, and skill development? Do you know how to coach for increased performance? Do you know how to receive coaching and feedback?

If not, implement this: Calendared 1:1 time for every associate and their leader. Train your leaders on how to coach and deliver feedback. Train your teams on how to give and receive feedback and be demanding partners of each other.

4. Re-recruit

Recruiting top talent is not easy. Re-recruiting your team should be! Great managers make it a point to re-recruit everyone on their team at least once a quarter. They know how to prevent employees from slipping into feeling like their days are “same old, same old," and they never wait to have career conversations, especially during periods of significant change

Ask yourself this: Have I re-recruited everyone on my team? Do they know how much we want them here, how they contribute to our goals and our mission?

If not, implement a strategy to market to your employees the way you would market to new employees or clients. Be a proactive re-recruiter, so you don't have to be a reactive recruiter!

Just imagine how your job, team, or company would function if 25% of the team left.As organizations like yours move into periods of great change (hybrid work, re-opening, etc.) and periods of great opportunity (new markets, new customer needs, etc.), you can't afford to be without a highly engaged, highly skilled team. We can help. Butler Street Consulting can help you implement strategies to find and keep top talent. Contact us.


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