In complex business environments, leadership cannot be off-boarded or outsourced. As leaders and executives, sometimes we blame the bad things happening around us on others, or the market, or circumstance.
Things like ineffective meetings, staff turnover, teams not hitting their goals, people holding back, lack of work/life balance, and not sticking to the strategy. These have nothing to do with other people and everything to do with the way you show up as a leader.
It’s been said that “people don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad managers.” The opposite is also true. People don’t follow ideas, they follow other people. Is your mission confusing and convoluted? Are there too many initiatives to remember? Have you made your vision of the future (and their role in it) crystal clear for the team? If not, chances are they will burn out. If they stop believing in your capacity to lead, you will no longer be their leader. No amount of bonuses or self-care days will undo it.
Executives and leaders experiencing complexity and overwhelm can do two things to establish leadership in complex environments:
This alignment will look more like group storytelling than strategy. It will involve all of your people and involve them in visualizing things like retrospectives, journey maps, and cones of plausibility.
Consider how the diversity of voices, perspectives and competencies you convene and empower today will impact, amplify, drive, or disrupt your work in the future. Visionary leaders prepare for this long tail and are able to manage the business along multiple horizons.
The emotional benefits for leaders who can do this include:
Some measurable results we have seen in leaders and businesses that can enable this kind of thinking and behavior in those around them include:
As mentioned in our book, Visionary Leadership, these types of leaders are able to do three things well:
Raise more visual leaders. Celebrate them. Watch them shine.
Guest post by Ashley Preston
There is a belief in the business world that almost every employee is replaceable. There are numerous CEOs who will shrug when they hear the staff is struggling with the workload. There are plenty of executives who think that demanding schedules and high expectations will help filter out the mediocre workers and leave only the best ones standing.
Those same CEOs watch people leave year after year, either through voluntary or involuntary departures. They regularly make rapid changes with each new worker they bring in – hoping to find the formula that keeps profits growing. They look to hire people who will continue to bring 110% to the table every day. They certainly do not mind when these workers put in the extra time and energy to advance company interests.
These CEOs will often put more and more on these new workers’ plates until these employees can no longer handle the workload, and then let them go for being unable to perform like they once did. It happens again and again, and while the company continues to adjust to make room for new people who are still eager to right the ship, they continue to waste time and money trying to perfect a system that is deeply flawed at its core.
These companies will continue to hit ceilings that without a knowledgeable, passionate, and energized team, they will never break through.
Here is the true cost of employee burnout and high turnover – and what you can do to stop the bleeding before your best talent walks out the door.
What it Costs to Regularly Replace Workers
Employee turnover is expensive, and the entire team feels it when a superstar leaves the company.
Researchers report that the cost of losing an employee costs the company thousands of dollars, and the more important the position, the more it will cost to fill.
Hourly workers cost on average $1,500 an employee, including the cost of hiring, onboarding, training, ramp time to peak productivity, loss of customer engagement, and general morale impact. Technical positions cost companies about 100-150 percent of their salary. C-suite turnover costs over 200 percent of the salary to replace and get up to speed.
They describe employees as appreciating assets that create more value for the organizations over time. It is estimated that about two-thirds of all sunk costs are intangible, including lost productivity and knowledge.
One case study argues that retaining a sales person for three years instead of two, along with better onboarding and management practices, yields a difference of $1.3 million in net value to the company over a three-year period.
However, the most substantial impact on turnover is not the cost – it is the damage that it does to your remaining employees. A beloved team member’s departure can have a huge impact on company morale. It leaves holes in team dynamics and can leave other employees asking if they should be looking for a different job too.
It does not help when those same employees must take up the extra slack. If the team is already taking on a full workload, they might not be happy to spread themselves so thin. Halting those projects could lead to delayed releases and lost revenue but pushing employees to work harder and more risks employee burnout and even more staff turnover.
Employees can spot a toxic work culture from a mile away and will not feel the need to stay loyal to a company that does not feel the need to make improvements. 47 percent of active job seekers cite company culture as the primary reason they left.
Companies with high turnover might soon find it difficult to attract top-tier talent after a while too. There are so many ways for current and former employees to review the company and its culture. Earning a reputation as a revolving-door employer will not do you any favors in attracting good candidates.
Regardless of the industry, some turnover is just part of business, but keeping good employees happy and productive is the best way to ensure company success.
How to Reduce Employee Turnover
Researchers say that about 75 percent of all turnover cases are preventable. There are proactive steps you can take to ensure your employees feel seen, valued, and empowered to help the company succeed.
Say Thank You
Failing to recognize employee achievements and celebrating their successes is one of the fastest ways to burn out your staff. It will make them feel undervalued and make them more likely to disengage from the job. Companies that have strong employee recognition programs have a 31 percent lower voluntary turnover rate compared to companies who do not take the time to say thanks.
Leverage employee spotlight programs to highlight a job well done. Take advantage of your company's social media platforms to recognize good employees. Be sure to use rewards as you can – while monetary are always welcome, you can get creative with how you say thanks. What matters is just that you take the time to say thanks.
Make sure your employees feel like they have a say. Give them an easy way to provide constructive feedback so they can raise concerns and address issues before they become problems.
Thanks to technology, you can use tools like employee engagement surveys to let them share their thoughts anonymously. Keep tabs on your rockstar employees and be sure to check in to see what they like about their position and what you can do to help them further succeed.
Offer employees what they want. Benefits like flexible schedules, remote work, and substantial health insurance packages are major draws for new employees. Nearly 40 percent of employees have left their job for one that offers remote work.
Make sure your employees understand you see them as people with lives outside of the office. Being an empathetic employer has major benefits too. Not only will the reputation help you attract better employees, but the employees you already have are more likely to work harder. Nearly 80 percent of employees are willing to work longer hours, and 60 percent of them will accept less pay if they feel like their employer cares about them.
Taking care of your employees takes care of business. It is the best way to ensure that you and your entire team can perform to the best of your abilities and create the success you are striving for.
If you are struggling right now, contact us to see how to regain control of your company culture, realign your mission, and close any communication gaps you have.
ABOUT THE Author
Joran Slane Oppelt is an international speaker, author and consultant with certifications in coaching, storytelling, design thinking and virtual facilitation.