Struggling to retain talent? COVID has exposed 4 workplace weaknesses: lack of boundaries, lack of praise, miscommunication, and unproductive conflict.
I’m sure you’ve heard this before: “People just don’t want to work.”
Here’s the deal: That mentality is holding employers back.
With 10.9 million job openings, if a business relies on low wages and modest benefits, it will continue to struggle.
4.5 million folks voluntarily quit their jobs in November 2021 alone. There’s clearly a gap between the opportunities that are available and what workers want. Trying to make your old retention strategies fit into this new reality won’t work.
If you’re struggling to recruit or retain top talent, it’s time to assess the current state of things by asking tough questions like, “What are our organizational weaknesses?”
4 MAJOR WORKPLACE WEAKNESSES
COVID disruption has helped spotlight four critical weaknesses in our workplaces: lack of boundaries, lack of appreciation, poor communication, and unproductive conflict.
While the pandemic will eventually recede, without major change, these workplace problems will persist. Let’s look at each weakness more closely.
Boundaries: Does your workplace have healthy boundaries and group norms?
Professional boundaries, or the rules we establish regarding what’s acceptable at work (and what’s not), are key to creating a healthy workplace. A lack of boundaries may look like last-minute requests, working after hours, working through lunch — something 59% of managers feel pressured to do, or even illegal behavior like harassment.
Healthy boundaries help preserve our physical and mental energy, so when boundaries are crossed, employees experience discomfort, stress, and burnout, resulting in employee turnover.
Since stress and burnout are two of the main reasons why managers and directors are leaving their roles amid the Great Resignation, it’s time to get serious about boundaries. Does your organization suffer from poor boundaries?
Praise: Do you appreciate your employees and provide recognition?
“Well, what am I supposed to do? Tell them ‘good job’ for doing what they’re supposed to do?” Yes, you are. Research shows that workplace praise is powerful. In one study, employees who did not receive recognition or praise in the past seven days were twice as likely to say they would quit in the next year.
Employees need to feel like they’re crossing a finish line and being recognized for their work. Yet, Gallup reports that “At any given company, it’s not uncommon for employees to feel that their best efforts are routinely ignored.”
This lack of recognition negatively affects things like employee productivity, engagement, and of course, turnover. Fortunately, employee recognition can be free or low-cost. Something as simple as a small personal note can help retain your best people.
How can your organization provide more honest, authentic, and individual recognition?
Communication: Are there opportunities to improve your workplace communication?
Poor communication varies widely. It may look like passive-aggressive comments, poor listening, bullying, gossip, or condescending directives — just to name a few. Whatever the type, when organizations fail to confront miscommunication, workplace culture suffers.
Miscommunication contributes to employee dissatisfaction and turnover, and it costs organizations hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. Too much gossip leads to employee discomfort. Bullying destroys confidence and trust. Poor listening leads to accidents, sometimes fatal.
Do you need to transform your workplace communication? Organizational indicators of poor communication include discrepancies between expectations and results, blame and tattling, and duplicate work. Employees are often interrupted, they rarely (or never) receive credit for their work, and they often lack the resources they need to do their jobs well.
Conflict: Is your workplace conflict productive or unproductive?
Productive conflict is a healthy form of conflict where all parties feel equally heard and respected. Alternatively, unproductive conflict occurs when employees argue and then feel angrier. When organizations suffer from unproductive conflict, relationships suffer, and organizational division occurs.
The Myers-Briggs Company reports that the individual impact of conflict can be considerable. “People can suffer from a reduced level of work engagement, increased sickness or absenteeism, increased intention to quit, as well as potentially long-lasting emotional effects such as anger and frustration.”
Does your organization suffer from unproductive conflict? How can you shift to productive conflict?
The Cost of Not Changing
During the Great Resignation, you’re competing with more than your traditional competitors; You’re also competing with the organizations that want your employees.
To retain your top talent, you may need to establish stronger boundaries, prioritize employee recognition, improve communication, or strengthen conflict management. By identifying your organizational weaknesses, you can invest in fixing the problem through coaching or training.
“80% of [employees] who receive coaching report increased self-confidence, and over 70% benefit from improved work performance, relationships, and more effective communication skills.” On the business side, coaching can lead to improved retention and engagement, increased revenue, and decreased turnover.
The idea that “People just don’t want to work” is false.
People don’t want to work for companies where they feel underappreciated, stressed, and burned out.
If your team is struggling with these common workplace weaknesses, let’s chat! We’d love to talk through your team’s unique strengths and challenges to help you recruit and retain top talent.