Article | The Great Retention

Nov 19, 2021

If you want to accelerate your team’s performance and business results in the next 6-12 months, you must get better at retaining your people.

According to a recent Inc. article by Jessica Stillman, “the CEOs of Microsoft and LinkedIn agree: we're in the middle of the 'Great Reshuffle,' not the 'Great Resignation.’

Either way, people are moving, because the current global working environment favours workers who now have greater clarity, confidence, conviction, and courage than ever before, and unless you’re supporting their personal vision and values, and co-creating their future, you will lose them. 

When I left my corporate job in 2020, it wasn’t because of my boss (he was awesome), nor was it because of our team, or the people I engaged with in markets around the world (they were also great people); it was because of a corporate culture and direction of travel that was incongruent with my personal values, goals, and aspirations. Good fit for some, but not the right place for me, and seeing colleagues around me burning out with mental, physical, and emotional fatigue, indicated I was not alone.

Taking responsibility for my then current reality and future, I decided to step out, in the middle of the pandemic, in search of more purposeful, meaningful work and chose to start my business, FiiT4GROWTH. My mission was laser-focused:  I wanted to serve at a higher level; to be a force for good; to encourage, inspire, uplift; to equip achievers with the mindset, skillset, and toolset they need to achieve their goals faster, without burning out, and whilst improving their holistic wellbeing and relationships. I wanted to make a positive impact in the world. However big, or small the impact, I recognised that I have a responsibility to play my part in making things better than they are today.

My purpose: To serve by liberating greatness for individuals, teams, and businesses through high performance coaching and leadership development.

Am I crazy? Absolutely! Steve Jobs taught us that “the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” I’m not alone in my aspirations for greatness and desire to do great work. Stillman discovered that “4.3 million people quit their jobs in August this year, which amounts to an astounding 3 percent of the U.S. labour force.” Another source indicated that over 25 million people quit their jobs in the first 7 months of 2021, making that close to 30 million people in 8 months, and still climbing.

People around the world are redefining why they work, and what they want to do with their personal and professional lives. They are moving away from organisations when they find themselves disillusioned, disengaged, demoralised, and demotivated. They’re searching for more purposeful, meaningful, and fulfilling work. They want work-life fundamentals that enhance mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual wellbeing. They’re being more intentional with how they invest their time, energy, money, resources and sanity, in return for greater impact, personal development, future value, and lifestyle. They value personal progress and performance ahead of the organisation’s goals and ambitions. Unless those goals and ambitions are aligned with their own.

Harvard Business Review’s Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer demonstrate in their book “The Progress Principle,” that “the best leaders are able to build a cadre of employees who have satisfying inner work lives: consistently positive emotions; strong motivation; and favourable perceptions of the organisation they work in, and their colleagues.” Positive emotions. Strong Motivations. Favourable perceptions of the organisation.

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People want to make personal progress, and when they do, that spills over into better relationships at home and at work and boosts long-term creative productivity, be that personally or professionally.

If retention is keeping you up at night, as it should be, take heed of Gallup’s Survey on “Turning Around Employee Turnover,” which showed how recognition and praise have no effect on reducing employee turnover, when the overall engagement is low. The survey also found that

“75% of the reason for poor performance and attrition come down to things that leaders can influence.”
  • So what are you doing to engage your people and energise your organisation?
  • How will you satisfy their inner work lives, so that you turn high potential into high performance? 

Introducing the ‘Great Retention.’ 

Crisis always brings about danger and opportunity; in this case, the danger is clear: you’re losing your best talent, and you’ll lose more of them soon. The opportunity that presents: you could potentially have a broader pool of top talent entering the market for you to employ, but they’ll come with high recruitment and training costs, and will most likely need 6-12 months to fully settle into their roles, the culture of the organisation and deliver value to the business. It’s an option, but it’s costly.

There’s a better way, and an even bigger opportunity: for you to RETAIN your people because you offer them the environment for them to be their true, authentic, best selves, where you encourage them to be confident, courageous, creative and productive, and they’re focused and inspired to deliver work that has a personal purpose and greater meaning.

Here are our FiiT4GROWTH Great Retention Strategies for engaging your people, energising your organisation, and turning high potential into high performance.

1. Envision, Enable and Encourage Personal Mastery. 

Mastery is a journey that requires study and practice. Stephen Covey taught us that “private victories precede public victories.” When you help your people win in their personal lives, they’ll also win at work. That means providing them with the time, resources, and opportunity to reflect, gain perspective and positive input from a coach or mentor, establish new goals and action plans, and make the necessary fine-tuning adjustments required to enhance their performance and wellbeing. 

Personal Mastery starts with self-awareness, clarity on where you are now, where you want to go, and what you need to do to become the person capable of achieving your goals. Personal by nature, it cannot be one-size-fits-all. It’s about each individual on your team having the confidence, courage, humility, and willingness to learn and grow. It’s also about the journey, and less about the outcome.

Encourage your people to identify their passion and purpose. One of the quickest ways to energise people is when they have clarity on who they are, how they serve and show up in the world, what they’re here to achieve, to find their “WHY,” as Simon Sinek inspires us all to do. As did Viktor Frankl who said that if you

“have a strong enough 'why,' you’ll find almost any 'how.'”

Give your people permission to care for themselves, because self-care is in the service of others. If you want to accelerate your team’s performance by generating the energy they need to bring their purpose and passion to life, encourage and enable your people to master their personal ecosystems; help them get the basics right: sleep, nutrition, exercise, environment, and their MEPS Wellbeing (mental, emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing).

These are fundamentals that set people up for success when they get good sleep, are well nourished, exercise for mental and physical vibrancy, and create energising environments to thrive in, especially when that means getting outdoors, fresh air, and natural light. Mastering these areas, taking care of their MEPS Wellbeing, reduces stress, increases happiness and overall wellbeing, and provides clarity for enhancing creativity and productivity.

Wellbeing in the workplace and its direct link with employee engagement are not new findings. A recent RAND Corporation study shows that more than 85% of U.S. companies employing 1,000 people offer some sort of workplace wellbeing program.

No alt text provided for this imageHowever, Gallup's research shows that only 60% of U.S. employees are aware that their company offers a wellness program, and only 40% of those who are aware of the program say they actually participate in it. Furthermore, a Mind (UK) study, also found that 56% of employers said they would like to do more to improve staff wellbeing but don't feel they have the right training or guidance.

Genuine commitment to improving wellbeing in the workplace first requires a deeper understanding of a workforce's needs. Next, long-term action needs to be taken to create a culture and environment that recognises and supports those needs, as well as empower workers to prioritise their own mental health. Without that commitment, wellbeing programmes risk being reduced, at best, to a tick-box exercise, at worst, to a single mental health day.

The most effective programmes are those that transform mindsets, attitudes, and behaviours over a period of at least 3-6 months to create a culture of high performance that recognises and values increasing performance while maintaining relationships and wellbeing.

Coaching is a long-term solution that creates a safe environment for employees to manage emotions, challenge negative thinking patterns, improve relationship skills, reduce stress and anxiety, and embed new habits that form the foundation for future growth. Group coaching specifically enables the sharing of experiences and bringing together people beyond the transactional day-to-day, taking the individuals and teams to their next level.

As the tide rises, all boats rise, so once the Personal Mastery journey is underway, develop and demonstrate Professional Excellence.

2. Develop and Demonstrate Professional Excellence. 

Perfection is not the goal. Setting inflexible and excessively high standards, causes people to evaluate their behaviour overly critically, to hold an all-or-nothing mindset, as a result, preventing action from being taken and continual progress from being made. 

Encourage your people to be bold, brave, and brilliant, to test, fail forward by learning and growing by becoming 1% better every day. There’s always room for improvement, no matter your current level of success and significance. Continual improvement, consistent, positive action, and progress with a spirit of excellence, is the goal. It’s a journey, not a destination.

“Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better.” - Pat Riley 

Athletes get this right. They actively seek and encourage feedback; they want a different perspective to identify areas of improvement, combined with expert coaching, guidance, support, and encouragement to work hard at improving their skill. Coaching is the fastest way to accelerate their training process and close performance gaps. Coaches will have a keen awareness of both the athlete’s current situation and their desired performance level, and most importantly, will keep them focused, inspired, and disciplined towards taking the next best step. They play a vital role in analysing performance, helping the athlete to self-reflect and identify their own shortfalls, providing valuable insights on techniques, strategies, and tactics for continual improvement. 

“Great coaches are your external eyes and ears, providing a more accurate picture of your reality.” - Atul Gawande

As in sports, high performance coaches in a business environment provide clarity, congruence, challenge, and camaraderie for leaders proactively seeking new strategies and tools to become better leaders. You’ll always do more for a coach than you'll do for yourself, because a coach will challenge and push you outside of your comfort zone, and that’s where the magic happens!

So how can you apply these principles of Personal Mastery and Professional Excellence in a work environment? 

3. Create a Culture of High Performance, throughout the organisation. 

In partnership with the High Performance Institute, FiiT4GROWTH helps organisations around the world create a culture of high performance, by equipping individuals and teams with the strategies and tools to accelerate their performance while maintaining relationships and wellbeing.

The High Performance Institute, conducted the world’s largest high performance study in 190 countries with over 174,000 participants and the results showed a strong correlation with happiness, confidence, career impact, work quality, and life satisfaction. The world’s highest performers embed six deliberate habits that we teach in our Certified High Performance Coaching curriculum and use with clients around the world, including fortune 50 CEOs and Olympians.

High Performers master these six habits that can be learned and embedded by anyone who commits to studying and practicing them consistently.

No alt text provided for this image“We can all achieve and enjoy long-term success, with the right habits.”
- Brendon Burchard, Founder and CEO of the High Performance Institute, and author of High Performance Habits

Organisations we work with who are currently implementing these High Performance Habits are achieving remarkable results, as their individuals succeed at new personal and professional levels, helping their teams excel and achieve stronger commercial results. We have High Performance Coaching solutions that provide quality scale at various levels in the organisation, including weekly or fortnightly 1:1 Coaching, Group Coaching, and a Habits Builder Online Course with facilitated monthly sessions. For more information, contact us: [email protected]

So what can you personally do today to start the ‘Great Retention’ in your organisation?

4. Be a better Role Model of the attitudes and behaviours you want to amplify in your organisation. 

Your organisation needs you to be a better role model. Now more than ever before, as millions of people deliberate on whether or not to leave their current job to join another organisation, or to start their own businesses, you need to step up, lead by example, inspire, encourage and uplift your people.

“Leaders go the way, before they show the way.” - John Maxwell. 

Commit to your Personal Mastery and Professional Excellence. Study and practice the High Performance Habits. Embed them as part of the DNA of your business, with one language and one high performance culture. Seek coaching, perspective, and support. Your competitive advantage depends on your ability to raise up leaders faster than your competition. To do so, hang onto your people!

If this is indeed the 'Great Resignation,’ or the 'Great Reshuffle,' this is your moment as a leader in your organisation to level up, embrace this challenge, and turn clear and present danger into an opportunity by co-creating the ‘Great Retention.’

I believe that our role as leaders is to inspire hope for a better future, to encourage consistent, daily action on the things that matter most to our people, and uplift them by providing opportunities to explore, define and fulfil their purpose, achieve their personal and professional goals, and use our organisations as the vehicles that bring their gifts to life. Anything less than that and they won’t stick around for long!

Join me in this ‘Great Retention’ movement by being an inspirational leader that liberates greatness for your people, and then you, your people, and your business will make a positive impact in this world and go to new levels of success and significance.

Your Coach, John.

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