HR & Management

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How to stop end of year walkouts: Why loyalty is worth working for

6 Mins

In John’s case, a new management structure has made him voiceless and depressed. Decisions he was once part of are now made behind his back. And the result? Discretionary effort; going the extra mile; working beyond contractual obligation have been withdrawn. Emotionally, John has checked out. The good-will has gone. He takes more sick days and will end up among your end of year walkouts.

This hypothetical example describes a common and real scenario in businesses all around the world, and worryingly, for many it may be considered the norm. You may not even realise, but the chances are high that within your own business you may have at least one John, perhaps even more, itching to increase the number of end of year walkouts.

One of the greatest assets of your business leaves the office every night. What are you doing to get them to return the next day feeling inspired, motivated and enthused to be the best they can be?

Developing loyal employees as a business leader must be one of your highest priorities. The costs associated with end of year walkouts are significant – recruitment, induction and retraining. This is just the hard cost. It excludes the “opportunity cost”: the lack of continuity with customer relationships, the change in team dynamics and the lead-time an individual requires to become fully operational, all of which impact the capability of your business to deliver your accelerated growth plans.

So how can you prevent end of year walkouts and why is loyalty worth working for?

The big Idea: Your employee value proposition

A Compelling Value Proposition (CVP) is a key differentiator for your business in achieving competitive advantage. Similarly, your Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is a key differentiator in your people strategy. Your EVP is critical in helping you achieve employer of choice status and it’s the balance of the rewards and benefits received by your employees in return for the skills, capabilities, experiences, and performance they bring to your organisation. Your EVP should be employee-centered and designed based on a deep understanding of what is important to your existing and potential employees. Here are three key considerations when drafting your EVP.

1) Understand your people’s why

One of the keys to building employee loyalty is to clearly understand your people’s personal goals and how being successful at work can be one of the vehicles and enablers in helping them realise their goals. The moment we create the bridge in their mind – the link between their personal goals, business goals and what they do daily during work – self-motivation kicks in. This is the defining moment a person changes from someone with a job to someone with a purpose. Whilst the motivation to do so must come from within, the triggers that compel them to make the switch are ones an organisation and its leaders can create.

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2) Acknowledge your people’s emotional wellbeing on an equal footing to their physical wellbeing

I often encounter stressed managers in the hospitality trade; despairing bankers who don’t see their children; pressured recruitment consultants trying to seal the deal. Their emotional wellbeing is not a luxury – it’s the energy source powering their performance. When it’s low, their performance is low, which has both a short and long-term impact on business. Their wellbeing is measurable beyond business performance too as their lack of happiness has an impact on health. A study from the University of Warwick found happiness in the workplace led to a 12 per cent spike in productivity, while unhappy workers proved ten per cent less productive.

3) Non-monetary rewards are becoming key differentiators, highly valued by employees

These include flexible working, home office days, career development, choice of location, flexibility to attend school functions, the Christmas nativity play and sports days. It’s the little things that make a big difference! Firms that consider people as merely a resource tend to have difficulty retaining good people. Companies that value people as great assets, demonstrating it through actions, are positioned to retain top talent.

A well-formed EVP will result in increased attraction and retention of key talent, help prioritise your people agenda, create a strong people brand, help re-engage a disenchanted workforce and reduce hire premiums. If an firm’s EVP matches its people’s personal values then a win/win/win scenario exists. An employer can count on a motivated, committed worker who will go the extra mile. The worker will experience his/her job as meaningful and fulfilling and both will benefit from a mutually beneficial long-term relationship.

And end of year walkouts and loss of employees throughout the year will become a thing of the past as you retain your best talent and people.

Royston Guest is author of Built to Grow, a blue print to help entrepreneurs, business owners and professionals understand the guiding principles of accelerated, sustained and profitable business.

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