As a 20+ year veteran of the C-Suite, I’m still surprised at how most leadership and HR teams place in an inordinate amount of time, energy, and resources on talent acquisition with minimal emphasis on talent retention.
The cycle of onboarding new employees always seems identical:
- Reel in new employees, get them pumped up during orientation.
- Train them till their eyes are crossed from too much PowerPoint.
- Trade high fives, then send them out to do their “job.”
The money spent on lost productivity and losing valuable talent is astonishing. However, this issue can be confronted head-on by proactive leaders with some insight and commitment to creating a Cohesion Culture™.
Cost Doesn’t Matter, Communication Does
When C-Suite and key management engage in simple niceties, while traversing the hallways of the organization, they are laying a foundation for what I call the Cohesion Culture™.
It means leaders are focused on helping employees feel they belong, bring value and offer commitments to common goals.
Greetings Set The Tone
During my 2017 visit to Duke Manufacturing in Prague, we discussed the similarities and differences in employee culture between the U.S. and the Czech Republic. One of the conversations uncovered was how important it is for employees to feel a sense of belonging.
We were able to narrow the focus on how well management acknowledged or “greeted” staff in common areas. Team Duke (as they call themselves) shared insights from employee surveys that suggested a higher approval rating from employees who felt valued. Employees self-identified as “engaged” when upper management took time to make eye contact, authentically greet them, and offer positive feedback for their work while moving through or congregating in common areas.
Feedback within my own organization continued to support that a greeting from the CEO and other C-Suite staff was needed and wanted by employees on a regular basis.
Research indicates that greetings, while a seemingly minor connection strategy, are essential for employee retention. When the CEO relates to employees with even a simple “how’s it going today?” it is heard as “this employee matters.” The employee feels connected and valued.
Greetings = Cohesion Culture™
Leadership Through Laughter
If your employees are not outwardly displaying “HR appropriate” humor, leadership may want to dial it up a notch. People need to laugh.
Let me be clear: I’m encouraging leaders to adopt a mindset of humor that encourages inclusiveness and laughter, not distasteful bullying, crudeness, or cultural discord.
When laughter fills the hallways and common spaces, employees can be more relaxed. Laughter releases tension and creates a more casual environment.
People who are more relaxed tend to free their minds of unnecessary concerns of belonging and contribute to innovative solutions, act cohesively in team settings, and show increased efforts toward productivity. The absence of humor may indicate your employees are experiencing high levels of stress and dissociation.
Laughter = Cohesion Culture™
Handshakes Close the Deal
For centuries business transactions have been consummated with two individuals who establish common terms and then shake hands in agreement. It’s a common practice which requires little to no training but can make all the difference.
Are your leaders outwardly recognizing employees for performance? Do you see other employees doing the same to their colleagues? If not, this is a signal of potential disengagement. These minor efforts can have a major impact on employees feeling part of a cohesive culture.
A culture of cohesion contributes to retention, saving your company the astronomical time and money it takes to replace disengaged employees. Being able to spot disengagement warnings and get ahead of the issues causing them will keep your most talented employees around and engaged for many years to come.
Handshakes = Cohesion Culture™
Together, we can “C” how “Suite” talent retention can be!
What leadership behaviors keep employees engaged in your organization? Please comment below on what the strategies that work within your organization.