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Trust is a two-way street 

Stemming high employee turnover is crucial to businesses, not only from a financial perspective, but also from a cultural one. Stretching those employees who opt to stay will likely increase burnout, breed a toxic work environment and damage a company’s reputation – meaning prospective hires will be less attracted to the business. 

As the Great Resignation continues to rumble on, leaving business owners and their employees to pick up the extra workload – how can businesses stop the revolving door of employee turnover?

Stemming high employee turnover is crucial to businesses, not only from a financial perspective, but also from a cultural one. Stretching those employees who opt to stay will likely increase burnout, breed a toxic work environment and damage a company’s reputation – meaning prospective hires will be less attracted to the business.

As the rising cost of business crisis also continues to tighten its grip on business cashflow and finances – companies are now looking at different ways to save on operation costs. The financial consequences inflicted by high staff turnover is now at its most costly since the most recent crisis triggered by the 2008 financial crash.

When it comes to employee satisfaction, there is no ‘silver bullet’ to prevent staff from leaving. But there are practical steps managers can take to build trust between themselves and their employees to mitigate the risk of high employee turnover.

Communication is key
Today’s working world is not solely driven by workers demanding high wages. Although pay is typically the number one reason. Now it is pay and or pay plus. Some employees prioritise mental health, a healthy work environment and even schedule autonomy over wages. This means that managers cannot simply assume that if an employee has an issue, it will always be monetary related.

Managers who can create an open and honest line of communication with employees are more likely to not only build trust, but also delve into any issues that employees may be harbouring. Employee surveys, ‘town hall’ meetings, and an open-door policy are all positive steps managers can take to ensure their employees do not feel left out in the cold. On a more personal level, one-to-one employee engagements has also been found to be an effective and confidential way of communicating with staff.

If staff members do not feel that they can communicate confidentially with their management team, then trust levels will only be hindered. Reassuring employees that they are valued and offering the necessary feedback will greatly improve internal relations. An added bonus of this will be that employees will be aware of recurring mistakes they must work on to avoid, as well as any new aims/objectives they are able to work towards as well.

A lack of communication in the workplace will fuel uncertainty and confusion amongst staff. It can lead to employees questioning themselves and fuel doubts. It can also lead to them dreading their next performance review and potentially lead to them searching for greener pastures.

Proactive rather than reactive
The Great Resignation has seen the rise of the ‘boomerang’ employee: a worker who initially quits, but then decides to return to the same company later down the line. The latest research from UKG has shown that of boomerang employees, 77% felt managers fostered an environment in which managers allowed them to cultivate their frustrations. Compared to 64% of all job quitters who felt differently.

It shows that managers who put in the work and try to connect with employees, even if they are likely to leave, will pay off in the long run. Being proactive, opening communication lines, and not burning relationship bridges contribute to a positive employee experience.

Taking this approach, rather than being reactive when the time comes that an employee makes the decision to leave, will impact a business in a number of ways. Firstly, staff will feel more valued if their manager puts in the time to check-in on their employees and make sure everything is optimal for them. Furthermore, being a reactive manager will only increase disconnect between staff and management. It is usually too late to change an employees’ mind once they have accepted an offer from another company.

Trust is a two-way street
Employees feeling unsettled in their current roles must remember that not all responsibilities can be placed on their manager’s shoulders. Building trust at work must operate from both ends of the hierarchy.

If a manager opens the correct communication lines for their employees to sit down and discuss any issues they may have – the employee must allow some time for change to be implemented. The chance is that the manager wants to keep key talent onboard, but may take a few weeks to implement the change, depending on the situation. Employees should consider this and remain patient rather than potentially burning a critical bridge and not allowing any change to be introduced. Ensuring that employees are heard, rather than simply spoken to, otherise know an as ‘actionable listening’ could be the difference between losing and retaining key team members.

Not all change can happen over night. Which is why employees must listen to managers when they are reassured that change is coming. The delay could be caused by an issue with timing or potentially budgets – whatever the change is that is being implemented, it will often be worth the wait to feel the positive effects.

Where to go from here
Looking ahead, business leaders wanting to ensure they avoid the costly effects of high turnover and uphold their reputation will have to begin considering how they can effectively build the trust factor between themselves and their workforce.

Building a healthy company culture hails from the pillars of trust and communication. Businesses which fail to roll out a culture of trust will likely fall victim to the Great Resignation and the ever worsening economic climate currently encircling businesses.

The Great Resignation and its costly effect will one day slow down. However, businesses with low staff retention will remain. The discussed steps are simple yet effective ways for managers to build trust and better understand their employees’ concerns, which will not only help improve employee experience and retention, but overall business operations as well.

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