• Cat Metcalfe, Founder

What 30% of your team may not be telling you…and how to get them to stay

Almost a third of the UK workforce is considering moving on professionally – and most will wait for their January paycheck before handing in their notice.

Why? Of course there are many reasons: to start a new business, to get away from their boss, to find more meaningful work, stress, frustration at lack of career progression and not enough pay are just a few.

So, how do you make sure 2020 gets off to a flying start with your team raring to go, not raring to…go?!

1. Make work meaningful

According to Gallup, only 8% of the UK workforce say they are engaged at work. That’s 92% of people who are unhappy, unengaged and not working to their full potential. That’s not great news for them, or your bottom line.

A clear way to drive engagement is to articulate the purpose of the organisation. Why does your organisation make a difference and to whom? How do each of your teams enable this purpose to happen? As a leader this may be instinctive to you, but less obvious to those working for you.

One example is of a warehouse where goods were being damaged in transit from one section to another. The cost of the damage – both in time and money – was significant to the organisation. The goods were medicines that made a significant difference to the patients receiving them. Once the warehouse team understood the significance of their work – not just moving boxes but getting life-changing medicines to those who needed them – the rate of damage was dramatically reduced and motivation increased.

Not everyone is literally saving lives, but a sense of purpose boosts motivation, productivity, morale and overall job satisfaction. According to Mercer, thriving employees are three times more likely to work for a company with a strong sense of purpose. However, only 13% of surveyed companies offer an employee value proposition (EVP) differentiated by a purpose-driven mission.

So how can you motivate your team this year?

  • Define your company’s purpose with your team – what difference do you make?

  • Share the purpose with everyone

  • Make it the compass for the organisation’s decisions

  • Encourage every individual and team to explore how their job supports the purpose and how they impact stakeholders

  • Share success stories of the purpose being fulfilled from across the company

  • Say thank you

“For a purpose to engage your team, you need to make sure it is authentic and truly embedded in the business. It’s no good just putting it up on the office wall. In fact, it will work against you if it isn’t genuine. Put it at the heart of your business decision making and reward employees who make it come to life.”

Fiona Phelps, Brand Anthem

2. Open up conversation

If you have ever conducted an exit interview, you’ll know how exasperating it is to hear the reasons for a talented team member leaving you. If only you’d known?

Listening to your teams about their frustrations, their missed potential and their ideas before they have reason to fly the nest makes good business sense.

Though it may be uncomfortable, take time to ask direct questions. Listen. Don’t be defensive. Show appreciation. Be positive. Choose the most effective communication tool. Have an open door policy. And most importantly, act upon it.

3. Take time to reflect

This is something we rarely do in business, but absolutely need to. A research team at the Harvard Business School found that:

“When we stop, reflect, and think about learning, we feel a greater sense of self-efficacy. We’re more motivated and we perform better afterward.”

Effective reflection requires absolute dedication and complete honesty. But if you can tap into this practice, and encourage your teams to do the same, the potential for creativity, self-awareness and success is unimaginable.

1. Be open to the benefits you’ll enjoy by taking time to reflect – it’s a powerful and valuable use of your time. You can read more in our previous blog here. Encourage your team(s) to do the same together and as individuals.

2. Prepare for your reflection time with questions you’d like to answer. Or, if you’re using a reflection partner, such as a coach, be clear on what you’d like to reflect upon during your time.

3. Find a space that works for you – a quiet corner, a walk in the woods, your favourite coffee shop. You may need a pen and paper or a device to record and map out your thoughts. When reflecting with your team, set a different tone by finding a new place to think together, rather than the usual board room. Encourage other teams to do the same.

4. Read, read, read. Read often and widely to gain knowledge and perspective. Share what’s stimulating your thoughts with your team and ask for their recommendations.

5. Return it to the now. Take all of your learnings from your reflection and apply them to help you take effective action in the future.

So...a new year and new chance to drive your business forward. Define your purpose and make it live, open up conversation, and make reflection a habit. We don’t believe in new year resolutions – they don’t stick. But by applying these three simple goals in 2020, hopefully your team will be delighted to stick around for you, way past pay day!

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