November 15, 2022 – If you are an executive, business owner, or team leader, employee retention is undoubtedly top-of-mind. You’ve may have even done a web search on “how to retain employees.” Recent data suggests that as much as 70 percent of all Google searches related to teams, talent, employees, and human resources right now are focused on the retention problem.
Anthony Klotz, the Texas A&M professor who coined the term “The Great Resignation,” believes that people quitting their jobs will continue at similar rates to what we’ve seen over the past year (2021), and that “about 23 percent of employees will seek new jobs in 2022.”
“So what’s a business leader to do?” said Teamalytics, which uses analytics and coaching to help business teams thrive, in a new report. “Thankfully, if you are in a position to influence turnover or you’re struggling to recruit and retain top talent, there are numerous relatively easy ‘no-cost’ things you can do that can have an immediate, positive impact on employee retention.”
Teamalytics, which has been studying effective leadership behavior for more than 25 years, believes two specific leadership behaviors are appreciated by employees more than any others: Nurturing and criticality.
“Each of the following ‘no-cost’ activities is based on these two behaviors,” said the consulting firm. “Therefore, some quick definitions are in order.”
Nurturing is the ability to build strong, meaningful relationships with teammates, “It includes the willingness to express verbal support and encouragement, as well as demonstrate appropriate physical behavior, such as a pat on the back,” said Teamalytics. “Leaders who are high on the nurturing scale work intentionally to stay connected with their team members. They get to know them at a personal level. They understand that their team members have lives outside of work and do all they can to support those priorities.”
Nurturing leaders also care about developing their team members, says Teamalytics. They care about the advancement of their teammates in the organization, and they find ways to actively support them.
Criticality, for its part, is the reflex to critique, challenge, and push others to grow. “It focuses on improving people’s behaviors, decisions, opinions, and ideas,” said the company. “Leaders who display a healthy amount of criticality have high expectations of themselves and others and they let those expectations be known. They think more skeptically, can be more demanding, and are willing to hold people accountable for fulfilling their commitments. They are not afraid of the dreaded ‘F-word’ – feedback. But, they don’t give feedback to team members for their own satisfaction. They give it to help their team members grow and improve their performance. The goal of healthy criticality behavior is always to make people better at what they do.”
1.Take time to connect with your team
When? Every day. During every shift. “Our painful COVID experience has reminded us all of the importance of close, meaningful relationships,” said Teamalytics. “These are best-nurtured through face-to-face contact. Leaders make a difference when they greet people with a smile and shake a hand, when possible. They make an even greater difference when they connect on a more personal level. A quality personal connection can change attitudes in just seconds. This is classic nurturing behavior.”
2.Ask each person on your team about their goals
What are they hoping to accomplish in the weeks and years ahead? Follow up with them regularly, even if only for a few minutes. “Make sure they know that their goals are top-of-mind for you and that you are focused on helping them achieve them,” said the company. More nurturing.
3.Conduct stay interviews
Intentionally invite them to exercise their criticality, says Teamalytics. Ask them:
- What is important to you in the post-pandemic workplace?
- How do you feel about working remotely?
- What do you like about your job?
- If you could change one thing about your job, what would it be?
- What are the most important things to you in a job?
- How’s your work-life balance?
- How can we provide more opportunities for you to grow and develop?
- How can I be a better boss?
- What is one specific thing you would like me to do differently?
Then do everything you can to address their needs and concerns.
4.Look for ways to encourage your team as often as you can
Make a habit of saying “thank you” every time you receive something from someone, no matter how small. Give compliments and show appreciation.
Ask questions about their day-to-day experience and listen intently for how you can help. Here are a few questions to get you started:
- “What can I do for you today?”
- “How can I help you with that?”
- “How can I support you?”
Then do something with what you hear. A common reason people resign is that “management never listens!”
6: Regularly celebrate the small things
“Top-performing teams know how to meaningfully celebrate wins and then get back to work,” said Teamalytics.
7: Give feedback
Set up a regular cadence for giving feedback to each of your team members. “As noted above, the goal of criticality is to improve your team,” said the report. “Much has been said about how employees, especially millennials, don’t want feedback. Valid research has shown that this is simply not true. People are much more likely to stay in a job if they are growing and developing. Be a mentor to everyone around you. This is classic criticality behavior, of course.”
8: Eliminate bad leadership behavior
Eliminate one leadership behavior of your own that gets in the way of your team’s members, “Can you tell me one thing that I do that annoys or upsets you?” Or, “Can you think of one thing that I could do that would enhance our performance as a team?” Make sure you ask the most critical person on your team for this kind of feedback and be ready to take notes without defending or explaining yourself! Here, you’re inviting your team to exercise their criticality while suppressing your own, which is actually a very nurturing thing to do.
9.Find out why people have left your company
An internet search will tell you why people are leaving companies in general. But what about your company? And what about your team, specifically? “Ask those that have left, of course,” said Teamalytics. “But, more importantly, ask those who have stayed why their friends have left. They will know. We don’t always get the full picture in exit interviews, but your remaining team members’ perceptions on the subject are worth their weight in gold. Or Bitcoin. Ask, then act. Otherwise, having mustered up the courage to exercise their criticality with their boss, they’ll decide to pass next time you ask for feedback. That’s bad.”
10.Ask for feedback
Ask each team member: “How do you feel about your overall compensation package?” Benefits, salaries, and bonuses mean different things to different people. As the team leader, you should know what your team is thinking. You may not be able to pay for every single concern, but your team will be happy that you at least had the conversation.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media
Reprinted with the express approval of Hunt Scanlon Media. Copyright 2022; All Rights Reserved.
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