Around this time every year, after employees have had a chance to reflect over the holiday period, they get into the mindset of ‘new year, new you’ and ‘time to make a change’. Needless to say, it is one of the busiest periods of the year for recruitment agencies.
In January, salary guides come out, bonuses have been paid out, and for many, it is time to move on to the next challenge. Right now, recruiters such as myself are advising candidates that there may be better opportunities out there, that they could very well get more money, better benefits, a better work-life balance.
Having been an agency recruiter for close to seven years, I have heard so many reasons why people choose to leave their jobs. These include; work-life balance, money, benefits, bad bosses, unrealistic expectations, awful cultures and more. All of which are very valid reasons for leaving. However, if you dig a little deeper, they all have one thing in common. They do not feel valued by the organisation or management. They do not feel important.
If they did, believe me, they would not even answer the phone to recruiters or respond to their e-mails, even if the opportunity presented to them sounded better.
Granted, companies have become more creative with their perks and benefits. You will hear of everything from subsidised (and even free!) canteens, in-house gyms and life concierges being offered these days. There are positive trends towards workplace wellness programs and flexible working too. All of which are contributory towards showing the value that companies put into employees, but is this helping? If it is then great.
However, these perks and benefits are sometimes just masking the true culture of an organisation. For some, the perks and benefits increase the pressure they are under. They feel that it’s a case of ‘we’ll give you this but in return, we expect better results by any means necessary’. In these instances, people are not the most important asset, the emphasis is on the results that people bring.
A pressured culture can be created, intentionally or unintentionally, by the slightest shift. For example, if a manager makes a fuss of someone who works late or who worked over the weekend when they didn’t have to, this increases pressure on others. The wider belief among staff can then become one where they then feel that to be recognised for the work they already do successfully, they must also work longer hours, generate more revenue and bring in more business.
In most organisations, top performers and exceptional results, represent only 15-20% of all staff. Rewarding excellent individual results can be an essential element of a target driven business. However, as soon as it seems like results are the only component that is valued you could begin losing the engagement of 80% of staff.
There are so many elements to employee performance, a lot of which are within your control as a business but there are elements which are not. Economic challenges, changing trends, under performing or disengaged teammates creating a tense environment. In all of this, a company may have exceptional people in their ranks who are more important for many other reasons than just the quantifiable performance.
However, when a company focuses mainly on results, they run the risk of losing the key team members who create a positive environment. Those people who work harder than most even though the battle is more of a challenge for them. The people who define the values of any successful company, that are great team players and have a great work ethic. The people that represent the company best.
Staff who feel valued, strive to succeed and want to return the value that the company has placed in them through their efforts.
They tend to be the companies where success is sustained over long periods because their employees will do what they can to ensure the companies continued success. When a group of people want something to succeed, when they express their love and admiration for their place of employment, it becomes infectious. More people want to know about it, want to work in those places, invest in such companies.
The companies that value results first are the ones who will constantly see great people leave, resulting in environmental shifts within teams. They will see their “most valuable assets”, suffer from stress and anxiety, burn out, workplace isolation and loneliness, all to ensure they achieve results to feel valued. If great people truly are the most important asset, surely you should be taking better care of your best assets?
The importance of people within an organisation can never be underestimated. Companies are only as successful as the people who represent them. Almost every organisation, with few exceptions, are firm believers and constantly say that “people are the most important asset”.
Results cannot be achieved without people, so take care of your people and trust the results will come.