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To Increase Employee Retention, Start Here

The workforce landscape has changed over the past two years, the Great Resignation and burnout have led to career changes resulting in an even tighter talent market. It seems everyone is rethinking their career choices and what they want/need. With all the attention on attracting new talent, it’s important not to lose focus on the most important assets – the people you currently have. Retention is the key to growth.

The reason people are quitting? According to the 2022 State of Talent Optimization Report*, the top reasons for talent attrition are:

  • Inflexible work options/hours

  • Lack of personal/professional development opportunities

  • Stress and/or burnout

  • Lack of belief in the leadership team

A 2021 MIT Sloan Management study shows a toxic work culture to be the biggest factor that led people to quit, and 10 times more important than pay in predicting turnover. Failure to recognize employee performance was 2.9 times more important than pay. If you want to retain talent, it will take more than a bigger paycheck to keep them from walking out the door.

Leadership skills needed today are different than those just a few years ago. Leaders must be equipped to manage a WFH, onsite, and hybrid workforce AND provide the support and communication to help each of their people thrive in this post-pandemic environment.

But where do you start?

The heightened need for communication – effective and clear communication - is the first step to employee retention and developing trust, increasing engagement, and creating a strong company culture

Here are two ways leaders can strengthen communication and help pave the way to success for each person and team:

1. Manage Agreements

Agreements are fundamental to how Butler Street operates and is a key component to effectively managing a hybrid workforce. These agreements provide a clear understanding of expectations/goals, measurements, and the resulting action if expectation/goal is not met.

The first three are role-based:

  • Outcome-based

  • Activity-based

  • Process-based

These should include what outcomes we are trying to achieve, what activities are needed to achieve them, and what processes are needed. They require a 1-on-1 discussion because of the type of role, type of employee, and current work environment.

It’s an opportunity for leaders to say, “In order for you to achieve your goals, these are the things you need to do and how can I help you?” Ask them what activities they believe it will take for them to reach the agreed upon outcomes, it may be less or more than you had in mind which starts an open dialogue, provides additional insight, and builds trust in the process.

The next three include:

  • Communication

  • Behavior-based

  • Values-based

These include the importance of communicating any challenges as well as rewarding achievements, knowing the behaviors expected of them, and living company values. Leaders must communicate with understanding and empathy. It is incumbent upon the employee, especially in a hybrid environment, to communicate challenges they are experiencing.

2. Understand Behavior Styles and Motivators

Without an understanding of workplace behavioral styles, managers risk being unable to motivate or effectively communicate, having little impact or worse, creating disengaged employees with one foot out the door.

In addition to understanding common behavioral styles such as DiSC®, Predictive Index®, and Myers Briggs®, leaders have new considerations when it comes to motivation. A recent Wall Street Journal article** shared the 6 types of post-pandemic employees. Leaders need to understand and adjust agreements to manage each of these groups to their highest potential. They include:

Ambitious Employees – Focused on their jobs and want to advance. Likely future leaders​

Leaders: show an interest in their career aspirations and development

Work-to-live Advocates – Goal is a steady paycheck and manageable job balanced with what they really care about. They prioritize aspects of life outside of work.

Leaders: Appreciate the stability they bring and understand their priorities-don’t impinge

Double Duty ProfessionalsAmbitious but facing temporary challenges (caring for elderly parents, child-care) that will likely resolve over time.​

Leaders: Provide support, flexibility, understanding that builds trust - the challenges they are facing are temporary.

Desperate to ConnectsWorkplace offers much-needed community​

Leaders: Converse and cultivate a deeper relationship – arrange face-to-face meeting time or coordinate onsite work schedules for best collaboration potential.

Zest-for-lifersWorking is a way to connect with others and learn new things​. Possible retiree or recently downsized expenses for financial freedom.

Leaders: Recognize their distinct motivations – utilize their experience and passion and don’t treat them like clock-punchers

Disoriented New Hires: Confused out of their minds. They have been trying to figure things out virtually, making it harder to feel connected​.

Leaders: Make them feel welcomed and connected, provide effective onboarding – communicate, communicate, communicate!

If you’re interested in increasing employee engagement and retention, it starts with the leaders. Invest in a leadership development program that provides the skills and processes necessary to manage and motivate the new hybrid workforce and post-pandemic employee. Contact us to learn more about our online, virtual, and blended programs, our mission is helping people and their companies grow!


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