Role of Trust in Keeping Talent from Leaving
Organizations bleeding talent is a fixable problem. Before we can look at how to fix the problem, let’s look at some of the causes.
The problem has been triggered and exacerbated by recessional workforce reductions in favor of short-term savings. The problem persists and will only worsen as fed-up employees grow confident in finding a different place to work that is “anywhere but here.”
Let’s continue, for a moment, to look at some of the causes of bleeding talent. Those employees fortunate to avoid the axe find themselves grateful to have work but burdened by and resentful of an unrealistic workload. Visual reminders of reductions in force (RIFs) are everywhere as empty cubicles serve as organizational boneyards.
Employees fortunate to avoid the axe are burdened by and resentful of an unrealistic workload.
Add to the dismal workplace cultures an endless stream of executive ethic scandals. We can’t overlook inequities in bonuses awarded to underperforming executives while hard-at-work employees get little to no increases. Trust in upper-management is taking a beating.
Add to the dismal workplace cultures an endless stream of executive ethic scandals
So it’s not surprising that data are emerging showing that employees who kept their jobs are feeling more confidant looking for better employment opportunities. Consequently, voluntary turnover is on the rise. This should be unwelcome news for organizations now that the economy is stabilizing.
Voluntary turnover is on the rise
Executives and middle-managers are facing talent issues that have been brewing before and since the Great Recession. Executives who bury their heads in the sand will find themselves running to catch up to forward thinking companies acting now to keep top talent.
To be certain this is a complex issue that doesn’t come with easy solutions. And to be fair, employees who leave their jobs for promised greener-grass is a poor strategy. There is, however, a key to keeping your talent in these post-Great Recession times. That key is trust.
Before I explain why I believe trust is the key, I need to point out the solution is not giving employees more money. Money is a short-lived motivator and satisfier: employees quickly adapt their lifestyle to the increase in pay, negating the motivator.
Money is a short-lived motivator and satisfier
Longterm solutions to motivate staff to stay, to contribute their talents, to trust again and to find job satisfaction are needed to keep talent from seeking other career opportunities.
Repairing trust is part of the solution. It has longevity. Where does a manager begin? Consider these recommendations.
Invest in workforce development
Finding skilled employees to match business needs will grow more difficult for companies. Spend money on employee development. Upskill your employees’ talents.
Modernize your career advancement practices
For many companies career tracks are nonexistent or available only to pipeline employees (succession planning). Not good enough. Pull together a cross-functional team tasked to modernize how opportunities are given to employees that help them grow. Give employees a reason to stay with you.
For many companies career tracks are nonexistent
Make talent retention a visible strategy to employees
The above items are limited and in no way reflect all the solutions to rebuild trust to keep your talent from bolting out the door. Whatever you do, involve employees and match your words and actions. Regaining employees’ trust isn’t impossible. Time consuming and diligent? Yes. Employees want to believe that their employer is interested in making a difference, for them and for customers.
The war for talent looks different than anticipated. The U.S. recession changed the look, urgency, and focus. Businesses may be slow to respond to the shape of the problem, but managers can start addressing it by repairing trust. It doesn’t have to be at the organizational level. Lead local. Start where the greatest influence is: with your immediate team.
How are you rebuilding trust to keep employees with you and not a competitor?
Graphic by Rhys