January 2018: Plans for the year are in place; you have devised a training scheme which will develop the skills needed to deliver the plan and everything is on track. Then the first resignation letter arrives, followed by another and another. All of a sudden your hopes for the year are thrown into disarray in the face of multiple resignations.
What’s going on? Well to paraphrase Oscar Wilde to lose one employee may be regarded as a misfortune, to lose two looks like carelessness, whilst to lose more looks like you may need to revise your leadership approach. And it’s scant comfort to know that you won’t be alone. Research by Investors in People has revealed that 47% of people are looking to move jobs in 2018 with 49% citing poor management as the main reason why they are looking elsewhere.
Surprisingly that’s a slight improvement on one year ago but the bottom line is that poor management practices are not only leading to employee discontent, there is also a knock on effect on a whole range of parameters including productivity, profitability and customer satisfaction. In fact a Towers Watson study in 2012 revealed that companies with high levels of engagement saw three times higher operating margins and a 41% lower retention risk. On the other side of the coin, those who in times of high unemployment may have stuck it out are now voting with their feet and leaving for pastures new.
Time for employers to step up
Now let’s admit that money does have a part to play in this being one of the top three reasons why people look to move jobs. But in those top three reasons job satisfaction outweighs the money aspect and with the feeling that skills aren’t valued by employers coming in at number three it is clear that employers have to step up if they are to retain valuable employees. And that Towers Watson survey mentioned above also revealed that leadership behaviour is key to employee engagement. Oh, and if you want any more reason to work on leadership development; at the time of writing a Haines Watts survey has just been released which reveals that 35% of SME owners see their own management teams as a barrier to growth.
With that in mind perhaps it is time for a new approach in 2018, one which looks towards leadership development in order that leaders can in turn help to develop and engage their people. Let’s be clear though that we are not suggesting all employee training stops until leaders have honed their own skills. That way will only lead to further employee losses. But equally employee training and development is meaningless if the leadership are not in a position to draw out and maximise potential. So train your people, but also work on your own leadership skills so that together you can look to build levels of engagement and work towards fulfilling the strategy.
About Helen Green
Helen is a collaborator, a deadline demon and a diplomat. She is often described by her colleagues and clients as the glue in their projects. She can be contacted via www.questleadership.co.uk or E-mail: [email protected].
After a degree in Hotel & Catering Management at Surrey University, she worked for 10 years with Whitbread, Bass and the Forte Group, gaining broad business experience in operations, communications, senior management and franchising. This eclectic experience reinforced Helen’s belief in the untapped potential in people and the importance of strong values in business and has formed the foundations of her subsequent career.
Helen worked for 10 years in business consulting with Tom Peters Company, as senior consultant and Partner, before co-founding Quest Leadership in 2007.
During her consulting career, Helen has worked at all levels, with individuals and teams, to initiate and facilitate personal development. Recent clients include: LSG Skychefs, Aim Aviation, Leica Geosystems, Texas Instruments, EnOcean, Gripple Ltd..
Helen’s competitive streak has driven her to compete at county level in badminton, and squash and equestrian eventing. Helen’s non-work interests centre on family, friends, cooking and sport.