5 Ways to Transform the Employee Experience and Retention
The employee experience and retention are in a downward spiral. Leadership worldwide is in crisis mode and trust is broken. In all areas of life, leadership distrust has hit rock bottom. Seldom does a day go by without another story in the media about a leader–in government, religion or business–that bites the dust because of an ethical or behavioral failure.
In the business arena leadership failures abound. Gallup’s research: The State of the Global Workplace; shows 85% of employees unengaged worldwide. In other words, employees are not that committed to doing their best for their leader or company. Unengaged employees are less productive and lose companies billions of dollars in lost sales, poor customer service and inferior quality.
The solution seems elusive because not much has improved in recent years, but it is relatively simple. Here are five laws of human relations that can help leaders change their approach, and at the same time transform the employee experience in any organization.
#1 It is about your team; it is not about you!
This is a fundamental problem with many leaders; it’s all about them. Too many are selfish and egotistical. Recently, AOL’s president demonstrated this when he cut employees’ health benefits because of what he called two “million-dollar babies.” He did this while the company enjoyed better profits and his income was $12,000,000 for the year. This kind of insensitivity happens often in leadership roles, and it destroys employee morale. The best leaders win because they help others win. Their focus is on others’ success, not just on their own personal success. Consequently, the teamwork grows and so does the employee experience and retention.
#2 Treat people with partners NOT commodities to Improve the Employee Experience.
Employees are the most important part of a company. However, they are often treated like Cinderella, the unwanted and abused stepchild. Target Corporation recently had a costly security breach in their credit cards that affected 110 million customers. One estimate predicts this will cost them $680 million dollars. Shortly after this breach, 475 employees were laid off. Did these employees cause the breach? Were they all poor performers? Companies often do layoffs without much concern for employees, to show Wall Street that they are taking action. Also, in this case, trying to restore the public’s faith in the company. However, these actions deaden employee’s loyalty.
What if leaders…
- in the corner office or on the showroom floor showed more genuine courtesy?
- listened better, or admitted a mistake, or handled conflict constructively?
- did more genuine leadership coaching?
These kinds of actions produce employee experience that increases productivity and trust. Gallup’s engagement studies show that employees fully engaged perform 202% better on performance drivers than other employees.
#3 Communicate: You are NOT in a Secret Society.
At one company, the employees confided in the consultant about their leader. They said, “Get him out of the office to see what is happening. All he does is use his reports to send out inflammatory emails all day.” On employee engagement surveys poor communication is often the highest complaint about leaders at all levels. Yet, many CEOs proudly proclaim that the #1 reason for their rise to the top is their ability to communicate. Unfortunately, clearly there is a communication gap! Leaders today need to ask more questions, listen better, hold better and purposeful meetings, and engage their employees more. Positive leadership engagement like this results in a better employee experience and elevates retention.
#4 Give your team the praise–shine the spotlight on them!
For too many leaders, work is like the big party, and they are the center of attention. Up and down the corporate ladder, supervisors, managers, and executives clamor for credit when things go well. In contrast they blame employees for any failures. Research by the Jackson ROI Study proclaims that the more genuine recognition you give to employees the greater the impact on the bottom-line. Common sense says that when you appreciate others, they will respond in kind. In the workplace this means employees do a better job. In addition, research demonstrates that praised and rewarded behavior is repeated.
#5 Lead by Example to Improve Retention: You go first!
Muhammad Ali captured people’s attention because he believed in himself. He said, “I am the greatest!” His ability to communicate and his boxing talents captured the hearts of millions worldwide. Mother Teresa took the approach one step further. Her faith was in her calling and God. Becoming homeless, hungry, and sick herself, she served the dying and the poorest of the poor. Eventually she built a network of 4,500 sisters in 133 countries. This leadership principle–leading by example–is an art forgotten by many. Most importantly, it alone can transform your employee experience and retention.
In summary, corporate executives want more technological advances, electronic gadgets, and business intelligence today. High-tech NOT high touch rules the corporate priority list. Furthermore, many leaders excuse their poor people skills because they are too busy to enter the fray to interact with employees or customers or work the midnight shift. Successful leaders do what they ask others to do. Coaching guru Marshall Goldsmith says, “One of the most important actions, things a leader can do, is to lead by example. If you want everyone else to be passionate, committed, dedicated, and motivated, you go first!”
Pulling It All Together to Maximize Your Employee Experience and Retention
In conclusion, leadership is positive influence not negative. Negative leadership equals micromanagement or bossiness. There are no grey areas. Leaders today can transform their employee experience by applying these five basic people skills. And do it with the same diligence applied to market analytics, or profit-making ratios. Why? Achieve with trust, and a stellar culture. As a result, the employee experience and retention will grow to exceptional levels.
Also, check out this NEW learning packet: 7 Ways to Unleash Employee Motivation, Productivity and Engagement.
In addition, go here for our RealTime Learning & Training leadership and personal development website. Micro-learning and career advancement at your fingertips!
Finally, improve your employee experience and retention. See Rick’s newest book. The Dynamics of Servant Leadership: Inspire Your Team to Achieve.