- Salaries have been frozen for nearly two years although companies are sitting on piles of cash.
- There’s a critical skills shortage but half your best people plan to leave.
- Innovation is a key differentiator but employees are burned out.
- Leaders want to build morale and encourage teamwork but engagement’s at an all-time low.
A recent Fast Company article ‘Quarterly Earnings Kill People-Based Innovation’ put it best: "How do companies across the globe expect to innovate on the backs of an increasingly demoralized workforce that's stressed, overworked, undercompensated, unrecognized, lacks career opportunities, and doesn't trust leadership?"
It’s time to make some changes and the most important thing is to rebuild trust in your organizations. Lack of trust makes itself felt in a number of counterproductive ways that you may recognize:
- Focus on making oneself look good rather than helping others.
- Reluctance to share or mentor others for fear of becoming expendable.
- Increased meetings and decreased decision making.
- Withholding praise or development opportunities to secure one’s own position.
- Looking for a new job in order to acquire new skills.
- Making stress-related mistakes.
How can we we rebuild trust? Communication is a start, and there’s a great article about the importance of communication over at TLNT. Unfortunately, communication isn't enough. Keep in mind that employees have lived through downsizing, salary freezes, increased hours and poor communication.
Re-establishing trust will require more than words. It will also require action:
- Define a clear strategy that maximizes what your company does best. Ask employees for their feedback so they feel like valued members of the team. Get people talking, brainstorming and contributing. If people believe the company has a future that they are part of they’ll be more likely to stick around and apply their creative energy.
- Loosen up some cash in two directions: 1) rewards; and 2) job creation. The first is to show appreciation for everyone’s sacrifices over the last months, the second is to get people out of the trenches and part of a dynamic, growing collective again. Before you start hiring people, look internally to offer people new opportunities.
- Empower people to develop their skills, choose meaningful rewards, and seek out new opportunities within the same company. Help them build confidence. Recognize and reward mentors, who can help foster teamwork and ensure that key skills are transferred. Encourage open exchange of ideas and constructive criticism.
- Follow up promptly on employee feedback, inquiries and concerns. A timeless recipe for establishing trust is to say what you mean and do what you say.
Actions speak louder than words. Don't just tell people they can trust you, show them.
Picture courtesy of ZDNet.