The implied contract that has traditionally bound employees and employers has disappeared from the fabric of employee – employer relationships. Thousands of employees have experienced the agony and suffering that has been handed to them due to economic downturns, reduction in conversion costs, organizational rationalization, and mergers.
Employees today are far less loyal and committed to their organizations than what they were ten years ago and for good reason. Canadian Labour Statistics show that employees stay at each job for 4.5 years and the average expected tenure of younger employees is approximately 2.2 years. Tessa Basford and Bill Schaninger of McKinsey & Company say that their research shows that “job hopping” is the new normal where millennials (born 1981 – 1996) are expected to hold 15 – 20 positions over the course of their working career.
To counter the Job Hopping new normal it is important that Leaders invest time, effort and capital in changing the mind set and behaviour of employees. That is not to say that organizations can eliminate Job Hopping however, they can minimize its frequency and affect.
Employees are expecting organizations to place their needs and wants first and rightfully so. With talent availability being low, job complexity increasing and competition for talent increasing many organizations are struggling in their endeavours in winning the hearts and minds of employees. Rebecca Skilbeck, (Head of Client Insights & Market Research at PageUp) states that employee expectations have changed. Employees “want to bring their authentic selves to work, be inspired and supported by their leaders and have the opportunity to learn, grow, develop and advance in their careers.”
To that end, what are some leadership tactics that we as leaders can employ in winning the hearts and minds of our employees? Here are four building blocks that I believe will enable leaders do just that.
Start From The Hiring Date:
Starting from the very beginning is always a great place to start in delivering a great working experience. With job seekers having more options than ever before, they chose your organization to begin and / or advance their career. Fostering an understanding and conviction to the betterment of the employee is a critical step in building the employee experience. Job seekers are expecting a seamless hassle free experience. From the moment the employee walks in the door there is an expectation of “Value Matching”. The essence of a good employee experience is underscored by great communication, transparency and trust. A good employee experience begins at the time of hire with the onboarding process and includes feedback, coaching and mentoring, autonomy and fair compensation.
Leadership is a science and an art. The science portion is understanding the job, the measurements, the performance parameters and the idiosyncrasies associated with bottom line results. The art side is understanding people, their needs, their wants and this is where leaders ought to concentrate their efforts without losing sight of leadership science. Leadership is often referred to as being the process of motivating a team of people to act toward achieving a common goal. In a business setting, this can mean giving direction, provide coaching and mentoring to employees and colleagues with a strategy to meet the company’s needs.
Exhibiting a high level of integrity, leaders will demonstrate to others their expectations. The manner in which a leader handles challenging situations or conflicts is one example of leadership opportunities for modeling strong integrity. By dealing with a conflict directly and in a transparent manner, leaders prove themselves to be honest, forthright managers with a high sense of values.
If you are looking to win the hearts and minds of your team members, then you ought to learn the operational art of appreciating them for their efforts. An employee that feels acknowledged for their efforts will be more motivated toward following the vision you have for the organization. You can also establish a system that recognizes the top-performing employees of your organization. Showing appreciation can influence your level of persuasiveness and induce influence amongst your team members.
Employees want to be challenged; they want to learn and develop those intrinsic and extrinsic skills that enable them to grow their confidence. Successful organizations must have a full range of talent management qualities in order to win the hearts and minds of employees in several environments and demographics. Given the declining pool of talent, compensation alone will not be the critical factor in this endeavour. Talent must feel that the organization has a deep interest in their career development. Personal and professional beliefs and corporate values are interwoven with position descriptions and short to the point / numerous performance feedback sessions.
Organizations ought to realize that talent will not be retainable if they do not enjoy what they are doing, leaders fail to communicate effectively on a regular basis and they are not surrounded with talented employees who challenge them on a regular basis.
Winning the hearts and minds of employees is not easy task and in a number of organizations it isn’t a priority. If organizations want to establish themselves as a leader, then they ought to take the time to understand employee dynamics and the personal goals and objectives of each employee. Aligning these aspects with organizational vision will help the engagement process of employees in a more efficient way.
About The Author.
Nicholas Pollice is President of The Pollice Management Consulting Group located in Niagara, Ontario, Canada. An international presenter and consultant, he is known as a leader in operations management. Nicholas conducts programs in leadership, supervision, communication, negotiation and conflict resolution. He has been a consultant since 1989 and is the author of several professional publications. His presentations have been consistently ranked in the top10 % throughout North America. See Nicholas’ bio, his other publications and services on the PMCG. Website at www.pollicemanagement.com