When your best people leave, is your leadership style to blame? The leaders in your organization set the tone of the workplace, motivate your best people, and are more instrumental than you realize in employee retention. Developing and maintaining a leadership style or brand that engages your team can mean great things for your company’s bottom line.
According to recent statistics, more than two million Americans are voluntarily leaving their jobs every month—even in today’s volatile employment market. With the cost of employee turnover ranging between 50 and 60 percent of an employee’s annual salary, this can be a costly trend.
If you want to know the reason why so many employees are leaving, you might want to look in the mirror. According to a study from Accenture, 31 percent of employees are unhappy because of their boss, another 31 percent feel disempowered, and 43 percent feel unrecognized.
It’s time to change the way you lead and rebrand your leadership style. Here are five ways you can create a personal leadership brand to improve morale, re-engage your workforce, and retain your best people:
Be a Thoughtful Leader. In the Accenture survey, 43 percent of employees were unhappy because they felt a lack of recognition. Your best people want their work recognized, but they also want to feel like more than a cog in the machine.
In order to engage your people and motivate them to give their best work, you need to be thoughtful. This could come in many forms and can be practiced in many ways, such as publicly rewarding good work on a project and making sure you communicate how much you value your people’s efforts.
You should also take the time to really care about your team as people, not just worker bees. For instance, you can send a greeting card for a special event or even just check in during tough times. If your people know you recognize them as valuable members of the organization, they’ll work harder to contribute positively.
Be an Open Leader. Transparency can be scary for many companies, but sometimes being open and honest with your whole organization is the best way to get people involved. My company, Ciplex, has done away with the corporate hierarchies which separate workers and keep leadership ensconced away from on-the-ground talent. Instead, we put our clients at the top of our organizational pyramid, and the rest of us work together in teams to support our client’s goals.
Helping with this transparent culture is our physical workspace, which has an open office floor plan allowing for many spaces to foster teamwork and collaboration. While we also have places in our office where smaller groups can avoid the hustle and bustle to get work done, opening our office up has allowed us to change our corporate structure and be more transparent.
Be a Thankful Leader. It’s not enough to be thoughtful. You also need to be thankful for the work your best people are doing. At data storage company Netapp, a few hardworking employees sometimes pick up the phone for a surprise: on the other end of the line is the company’s vice chairman, Tom Mendoza, saying thanks for the hard work.
Mendoza asks managers for the names of employees who have gone above and beyond, then calls those workers up to say thanks. If you want to motivate your best people to keep striving, make sure to say thanks for what they’ve already accomplished.
Be a Leader Who Connects. You don’t have to be a super connector to be a leader who forms bonds between your best people. Use the same skills you’ve honed through networking events and by cultivating your own circle to expand the horizons of your workforce. Get people from different departments collaborating together. Put employees on unexpected projects in order to see if their fresh ideas will give work a boost.
Employees want to learn, grow, and be challenged on the job. Don’t be afraid to connect your best people with professional growth opportunities, from getting outside their job description to taking an industry-specific class. If you connect your best people to opportunities for growth, you’ll end up with even better workers.
Be a Leader Who Inspires. Your leadership brand should always involve inspiration. If you lack the ability to inspire, your team will likely start dreaming of greener pastures. Make time to connect and communicate with your employees so they know what direction the company is moving. Encourage outside-of-the-box dreaming and foster creative thinking throughout your entire organization. Make your company culture one where not jumping for a new idea is much worse than falling down in the attempt.
If you want to keep your best people around and inspire them to greatness, it might be time to rebrand your leadership style. If you inspire, connect, and communicate with your all-star talent, you’ll have them around for years to come.
What do you think? How would you rebrand your leadership style? Share in the comments!