How Managers Can Prevent Their Team Members From Leaving

Managers need to take the time to listen to their team members
Managers need to take the time to listen to their team members Image Credit: airpix

As a manager you have spent a great deal of time and energy building a highly successful team. You know everyone on your team and you go to great lengths to make sure that everyone knows what is expected of them and what you need them to be doing. However, it turns out that in our environment right now there are a lot of workers who are fed up with their jobs and are starting to look for new opportunities. How can you as a manager hold on to the team that you have built?

The Challenge Of Retaining Your Team Members

When it comes the workplace, as a collective whole, our society has reached a boiling point. Team members are not only anxious but in many cases are outright refusing to return to a system that was originally built prioritizing the needs of employers, often at a great personal sacrifice to employees. This year is being labeled the year of the “Great Resignation” with up to 40 percent of employees planning to change jobs by the end of this year. Work has forever changed and all the lies managers once told ourselves about work – that we need butts in seats to have better business outcomes or that productivity is related to a set schedule – have all been disproven.

Team members have very little interest in returning to a workplace that does not empower them to take control of their lives and support their well-being. A recent study found that 100% of employees surveyed who fell under the category of previously working from home are anxious about the idea of returning to the physical office. The findings also surfaced that some of their biggest concerns were losing flexibility and going back to their regular commutes. In other words, “returning to the grind.” Team members currently hold a lot of the cards right now and managers who fail to listen to employees and implement changes are going to end up hurting in a big way. On the contrary, managers who treat employees more like humans and less like bundles of risk to be managed as transactions are going to thrive.

Managers Need To Ask

If you’re not sure where to start, ask your team members how they feel about transitioning into this next chapter of work. A survey found that 56 percent of team members say their organization hasn’t even asked for their feedback about return-to-workplace policies and procedures. This shows what can be a major disconnect. Managers are a huge part of the equation here, and if managers are reopening their doors without bringing team members into the fold, this is a recipe for disaster.

Managers Need To Learn How To Act

There is a major asterisk to the “ask” recommendation; you need to only ask about things you are willing to act on. Share any results transparently and make sure your policies align with what team members shared.

Managers Need To Learn To Be Flexible

Create as much flexibility as possible so team members feel empowered to make choices that best support their well-being. Have your leadership make it clear that well-being and self-care are the most important and that the company is here to support team members. Managers should also be modeling this behavior.

Managers Must Get Intentional

When navigating in-office time, you need to be intentional. Have your team choose to come into the office on days when they want to do collaborative work and make a day of it. Cater lunch, do some team building activities and use that time to enhance and bolster strong team culture within your team.

Managers Have To Take The Time To Fix Workloads

In addressing workloads, it’s time to move beyond well-worn lip service and time management tips. Things need to come off team member’s plates and stay off. You need to find ways to increase efficiency or staff according to the body of work that needs to get done. Can you afford it? Take a look at the cost of turnover on your team and ask if you can afford not to.

What All Of This Means For You

The fact is: Team members are struggling with social anxiety and other mental health challenges that impact both work and home. Sure, some are excited to return to the physical office, but others have concerns about returning to the day-to-day grind. The most likely scenario is that team members are looking for a Goldilocks setup, basically a balance. Make sure that it doesn’t have to be “all or nothing”– either you’re back in the office five days a week 9 am to 5 pm or I never see you in person ever again. The right solution is most likely going to be located somewhere in the middle. Trust your team and give them the power to have input and make the choices that are best for them. In the end, it will be good for team members and for the business.

This moment in history is a once-in-a-century opportunity for managers to transform work into a source of purpose, energy, humanity, and positivity. Managers and organizations that lean into the discomfort of change and set down outdated norms and assumptions about work are going to not only attract and retain top talent but thrive. Those managers that cling to power and control and center policies around the comfort of those in positions of power will pay the price. Right now is an opportunity to improve and change the way that we approach work. Make sure that you get this right.

– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: What do you think the right mix is for your team to work from home and come into the office?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

I think that we can all agree that we are currently living in a very dangerous world. There are a lot of people out there who would like to break into your company’s IT systems. Once inside, they could do many different things from stealing valuable information to setting traps. Since managers are on the front lines of how the company accomplishes tasks, we are also on the front lines of keeping our company’s resources safe. Just exactly how are we supposed to go about doing this?