How to Retain Key Employees in the Age of the Hopper
In the College Student Career Confidence Survey, 61% of college students said they expected to be with their first employer for less than 3 years. 16% expect to change jobs as quickly throughout their career, 34% will switch every 4 years, while 50% expect to change jobs every 5 years or longer.
In a different survey conducted by Citrix, 61% of workers would like to be able to web commute on a frequent basis. In fact, workers preferred this benefit over stock options and on-site childcare.
What's this mean? It means organizational leaders need to begin connecting their people more intimately with the values that drive their companies, and learn to connect with the values of their employees.
The Citrix survey underscores how the workforce has changed over the years, reflecting a society that is more mobile, versatile and focused on personal freedom than at any other time in American labor history. Never before have we been more connected. But, connected to what?
Unless leaders connect their people to something bigger than themselves (or bigger than a paycheck), they can expect to see turnover rates, and the subsequent costs of recruiting and training, continue to rise. Based on the survey, every 3-4 years 50% of their workforce will have turned-over.
Organizational storytelling -capturing the stories that drive the values of the organization and connect people to a vision or a noble cause- can go a long way toward reducing turnover. More to the point, connecting people to a larger vision propels the entire organization forward at an exponentially faster rate...allowing everyone in the organization to experience the benefits of accomplishing company goals much more quickly.
So, where do you find these stories? And, how do you make them believable? Here are five tips on establishing effective organizational stories.
1. Look around, be aware. Andrew Grove, former Intel CEO, espouses "management by walking around". There are a number of benefits to this. You remain connected to your business from the floor-up. You connect with your people. It's also a great way to collect stories. As you engage your people, ask them about challenges they've encountered and how they overcame barriers. Collect these stories. Connect them to the values of the organization.
2. Structure the story for the listener. If you use stories, then you are a storyteller. This means focusing on the need of the listener. In walking around you'll have discovered the personal values that drive your people. Infuse your stories with these themes and you'll capture their attention.
3. Be real. Many people have a disdain and mistrust for those in authority. To overcome this barrier you need to be authentic and real. If you tell a personal story, do include situations in which you failed...and what you learned from that experience. Be able to laugh about it. Also tell stories about how you succeeded before you were a leader. In each case you're meeting your people where they're at.
4. Be consistent. If you undertake the storytelling strategy, you need to stay with it. Over time people will connect with you through the stories. They'll come to expect them. If your stories are effective, they'll look forward to your stories.
5. Be strategic. Use your intuition. Know when to deliver a story and when not to. Telling a good story can become addictive...so use your stories at strategic moments and don't over-do it.
6. Get help. Storytelling is intrinsic to the human experience. We all learn through stories. However, because of education, training and life experience, not everyone is comfortable scripting, structuring and telling an effective story. If you're in this group, don't be afraid to get help. Remember, organizational stories are strategic. They're meant to deliver a specific result. To ensure the best results possible you should strongly consider seeking a little extra help.
So, in the Age of the Hopper (people hopping from job to job), leaders must focus on internal branding as much as they focus on outward branding efforts. Stories accomplish this internal branding. You'll be infusing the values of the organization you're your stories. You'll support the mission. You'll give the vision flesh and blood. So, in a time when people are truly seeking connection, organizational narrative can be a powerful tool in accomplishing the goal of keeping the hoppers at home.
(c) 2008 James Phelps Creative
Coach, consultant and copywriter, James Phelps, is the creator of "Practical Creativity: The Complete System for Powering-Up Your Creativity for Unrecognizable Results". To learn more about this step-by-step program, and to sign up for his FREE how-to articles and other resources, visit http://www.See-Create.com
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