Former Amadeus, American Express and TRX leader Vic Pynn is enthusiastic about opportunities for companies to improve their appreciation and nurturing of human resources. Continuing his contributions to industry dialogue on leadership, mentoring and talent retention, here he highlights the reasons for putting people first and how to do so.
I am amazed at the amount of time, money and effort organizations spend on product enhancements, marketing campaigns and other tactics to differentiate themselves from the competition. Often these efforts come up short while the biggest differentiator – people – goes unnoticed.
A company’s key constituent groups are customers, shareholders and employees. Most organizations spend an inordinate amount on the first two rather than putting their people first. Proof of this came from a benchmark study that revealed 79 percent of people who quit their jobs cited “lack of appreciation.” A recent Gallup study reported that 53 percent of employees were simply “not engaged.” Therefore, it stands to reason that if organizations put their employees first, they would see better results with their customers and, in turn, their shareholders.
Three Ways To Put People First
How does a company go about putting people first?
1. Build trust. Elevating people begins by creating an environment where employees can trust their leaders. According to a study by the Harvard Business Review, 58 percent of respondents trust total strangers over their bosses. This is a scary notion because without trust in the workplace, there will be no risk-taking. That kills innovation.
2. Recognize their value. Employees desire work environments where they can make impactful contributions and earn recognition. Studies showed that employees rated recognition above higher pay, promotion, autonomy or training. Making an impact and receiving recognition fosters well-being, which boosts employee engagement.
3. Offer development opportunities. Employees want to learn and grow through developmental opportunities. Gone are the days when we expected our employees to sit in the same chair or do the same job for 20 years.
What’s A Leader To Do?
Senior leaders in today’s organizations must wake up and place a renewed focus and priority on leadership. This includes making sure leaders are trained in creating dynamic environments for their employees. A Careerbuilder.com study showed that 58 percent of leaders surveyed did not receive any leadership training before assuming their role. They were promoted into these roles due to past accomplishments as individual contributors, yet had no idea how to lead.
By not investing in people, companies experience disengagement, attrition and higher costs. According to Leigh Branham, author of “The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave,” 89 percent of bosses believed employees quit because they wanted more money. As much as any boss would love this statistic to be true (because it basically exempts a manager from wrongdoing) it simply isn’t. In reality, according to Branham, only 12 percent of employees leave an organization for more money.
As the old saying goes, “People don’t leave companies; they leave leaders.”
Organizations that make the commitment to grow and develop their people will not only win the talent war, but also win over their customers and shareholders. Now that’s the differentiator everyone wants.
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