Change is the one thing that is always constant, and we all continue to face a time of dramatic change across all areas in our lives. Businesses may try to hold on to what once was and leaders may cling to previously successful processes, but holding on typically means holding up and all that does in today’s workplace is create an environment that is very difficult to navigate.
Turnover is costly to companies. Retention is a budgetary strategy to eliminate unnecessary costs. Ideally, organizations seek to create cultures that people want to come to work for and provide environments that encourage stability, growth and success for all, employees included. However, post-pandemic change has left many leaders plundering. Maybe it has done that to you?
Remote and hybrid work arrangements, along with shifting priorities of employees, challenge traditional leadership models, and companies that don’t step up to the challenge and adapt suffer. In many organizations, staff retention has become the number one concern that no one can run from.
In my book, Influence in Talent Development, I highlight how leaders can elevate their influence in a way that inspires intra-team connection, engagement, and staff retention. When an organization manages to do this effectively, employees are more likely to stick around. But in a workplace environment where some employees never step foot in the office, what can a leader do to create the connection and engagement needed to increase retention?
Here are three actions you can take to elevate your influence and begin to produce immediate returns.
Start with WHY.
No matter how hard you try to juggle, it’s nearly impossible to keep all the balls in the air constantly. A minor everyday disruption can jolt the juggling act, causing unexpected chaos rather quickly. The monotonous grind of daily requirements, challenges, and stress can rob leaders of the passion they once enjoyed. When leaders are disconnected, imagine how that impacts the rest of the team. I can predict that burnout is around the corner.
A different path is possible, and it starts with rediscovering one’s WHY. Consider what was once most exciting about your job. What motivated you to wake up with vigor to begin your working day? Why was that important for you? How did that time in your life make you feel?
“Every one of us has a WHY, a deep-seated purpose, cause or belief that is the source of our passion and inspiration,” describes Simon Sinek in his book, Find Your WHY.
You can have greater influence when you start with WHY. It’s time to rediscover yours. And, you can do the same as a team.
Connection is required.
Make a concerted effort to connect with, show value for, and engage your team in genuine, meaningful ways. That begins at an individual level. In addition to regularly scheduled check-ins with team members on their work, check-in to see how things are going with them personally and how you can support their success. Do more listening than talking.
Even a genuine, “Hello! How are you doing today?” shows your team that you see them and care about them as human beings first. A student in my MBA leadership course shared with me that he has made a point of stopping for a moment to speak and connect with employees at the start of a shift. People were a little surprised at first. But even these brief conversations have begun to change working relationships and uplift morale.
People desire to be connected with one another. If your workplace environment is in-person or remote, tools exist to help you be connected. True connection goes deeper than any face-to-face interaction. It’s about being seen, being listened to, and feeling valued.
It’s easier to break trust than to build it. But when you’ve built it, it’s powerful. Set the conditions so that employees have positive experiences with you that build the trust required for deeper, constructive influence. Trust is earned. The potential to earn trust is heavily influenced by your character, values, and motives.
Ask yourself, do I:
- Stand true to my word?
- Practice transparency when I can?
- Take responsibility for my own mistakes?
- Show a genuine interest in each person on my team?
- Operate with the best interest of others at the forefront?
Where might you do things a little differently?
Better outcomes can start today.
Employees have choices and are voting with their feet. You have influence. And leaders who work to elevate their influence can point the way to higher staff retention, engagement, and more profitable outcomes for all, starting today.
If you’re ready to elevate your leadership influence, reach out. I’m here to help.