It was then that he told me that under his current employer he was required to work six days a week and was not allowed sufficient time off during the week to do all those personal little errands that we all have from time to time, like go to the bank, get a haircut or buy a present for a loved one etc. He also added that for as long as he had been with this employer morale amongst staff was quite low and as a consequence, staff turnover had been quite high.
This triggered in my mind the adage that people join a company, but leave a boss. How engaging is the culture within your organisation? Is higher than acceptable staff turnover a consequence of the less than favourable culture that has developed under your leadership?
Jason went on to explain that his boss gave little or no recognition to his staff when jobs were done well, nor did he provide any constructive feedback on how they might improve their current skill set or address blind spots associated with their personality type.
Like a black hole in space, staff turnover absorbs resources at an astonishing rate. It is far and away the most significant uncalculated expense in business. Some estimates to replace a departing employee range up to 250 percent of that person’s annual salary. The reason turnover has such a high cost has to do with the type of people who are leaving. If most of the people who left were poor performers turnover would be a good thing. But it’s not. Businesses that fail to effectively recognise their employees are losing the very staff they wish they could keep to meet their goals.
An insidious result of turnover is the psychological damage it causes the staff that stay. Turnover decimates the remaining workplace because many employees mentally follow their departing colleagues: they worry about their futures, passively wait for things to get better, or actively look for new positions.
In contrast to Jason’s employer, successful businesses have leaders who are visionaries. They see the untapped potential of their workforces and believe that it is possible to reach higher. They have spent years experimenting with their leadership styles and through their efforts, they have brought their employees a long way toward achieving their maximum potential.
The simple but transformative act of a leader expressing appreciation to a person in a meaningful and memorable way is the missing factor that can do so much and yet is used so sparingly. When employees know that their strengths and potential will be praised and recognised, they are significantly more likely to produce value.
Some actions that you might like to consider applying in your business to enhance staff satisfaction and engagement include:
- Assessing your current leadership style and identifying and applying other, more appropriate style(s) that will allow you to better meet deficiencies in your company’s culture;
- Implementing or modifying an annual staff performance appraisal procedure;
- Identifying personality blind spots amongst your management team members through the application of instruments such as the Myers Briggs Personality Type Indicator and then factoring goals to address those blind spot gaps into a regular staff coaching program;
- Implementing a process of actively identifying and rewarding staff behaviour that is deserving of recognition and praise.