Need to Retain Your Talent? Start with Building Trust

By Cara Silletto, MBA, and Leah Brown – Crescendo Strategies

Today’s new workforce does not blindly trust leadership: companies have to work for it. That mindset stems from a few things. Millennials (born 1981-1996) have grown up surrounded by a 24/7 news cycle and more information than ever about people in leadership positions taking advantage of their power. So it’s no wonder that the new generation of employees cycling into the workforce wants transparency from management.

Leaders and organizations must gain the trust of their staff over time, and this process requires authenticity and good intentions. Trust is an asset, and companies should treat it as such. Trust also increases productivity, which drives the bottom line. But trust is also something where continuous effort needs to be made, because it’s a fragile concept.

Are You Prepared to Explain “Why?”

“Because I said so” is no longer a justification most staff will accept. Your workforce wants to know the “why” behind policies and decisions made. Remember: If management doesn’t explain its reasoning for things, employees will make their own assumptions. That quickly turns into an “us vs. them” hearsay battle.

It’s helpful for managers to think about some basic questions to help guide the transparency process. Do employees know how and why company-wide decisions are made? Are wage ranges clearly defined? Are career paths identified and discussed with staff? Do managers accept social media friend requests from staff? There are various options to consider, but you may find that a shift down the transparency spectrum toward more openness could help your retention efforts.

Share More with Staff

Your staff generally wants more information from company leaders. So, re-institute a company-wide newsletter, put up news boards around the building, and hold regular open-forum Town Hall meetings.

One-on-one time with your employees can also pay huge dividends. Companies have done exit interviews for years, but many managers could benefit from instituting “stay” interviews as well. These give leaders a chance to check in with their staff on a regular basis and build stronger, more genuine relationships.

There’s plenty of ground to cover in these interviews: What does a great day look like for your employees? A frustrating day? Do they feel they’re treated with trust and respect? Are they getting proper recognition for their work? What do they like and dislike about their position? What resources do they need? Figuring out the answers to these questions lays the groundwork for developing more effective retention strategies.

Don’t Allow Anyone to “Eat Their Young”

Beyond all this, it’s also important that managers ensure their seasoned staff members aren’t chasing away good new hires. Dumping a larger workload onto newer employees, giving them the equipment or tasks no one else wants, and belittling them for not knowing something are never acceptable. If you know this behavior exists, you must stop staff from “eating their young” and pushing away good people. Otherwise, the incoming workforce will keep spinning the revolving door and finding other places to work where they’re valued. And they’ll tell their friends never to apply at your organization.

Like in any other relationship, employer-employee trust also has to be built – it’s no longer a given simply because of a title or seniority. Increasing transparency and building this trust can become the lasting foundation for creating a better culture of retention at your company.

The reasons behind employee turnover can be complicated – and hard to pin down. This is part 6 of a 6-part series delving into retention strategies and tips that make it easier to keep your employees. This series was derived and modified from the M.A.G.N.E.T. strategies outlined in Cara Silletto and Leah Brown‘s recent book Staying Power: Why Your Employees Leave and How to Keep Them Longer.”

The workforce thought leaders and speakers at Crescendo Strategies work with thousands of business leaders to help reduce unnecessary employee turnover. Contact us at solutions@crescendostrategies.com to see how Crescendo Strategies’ programs or Workforce Retention Bootcamp could help your organization.

Part 1: Management Effectiveness Makes or Breaks Retention Efforts
Part 2: Recruiting Strategies to Bolster Staff Retention
Part 3: Employees’ First Days on the Job Affect Their Willingness to Stay
Part 4: New Staffing Models that Reduce Unnecessary Employee Turnover
Part 5: Empowering Company Leaders Improves Retention


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