Articles & Insights

New year, new job? One simple solution to hold onto valued employees.

Author: Kim Brosnan, Associate Executive Coach & Consultant, Working Transitions.

The new year often brings a desire for change. But what change, exactly? Will your employees be switching to a healthier diet, quitting smoking, reassessing their work/ life balance or searching for a sense of purpose? Where do people start, and how do they determine what will make the all-important difference they crave?

Often the perceived solution is a new job. The job might be new, but the approach and mindset remain unchanged. So how can organisations help? How can they purposefully and proactively reduce attrition among those reassessing their lives in the new year?

Any decision to move or stay on is usually part of a 'push' or 'pull' equation. Perhaps leavers are pushed by a relationship, role or situation they want to escape. Or maybe they're pulled elsewhere by a self-development opportunity, a new challenge, a promise of promotion or a better work/ life balance.

Viewing these motivations in the context of Maslow's 'Hierarchy of Needs' can help organisations hold on to valued employees. The theory might be 80 years old this year, but it remains relevant today - perhaps even more so, considering the 24/7 nature of contemporary life.

Maslow described a hierarchy of needs that all humans are motivated to satisfy. This motivation drives their behaviour — "physiological needs" and "safety needs" are the primary drivers, followed by "belonging and love needs" and finally "esteem", "self-actualisation", and "transcendence" needs.

From this perspective, organisations should consider how employees can feel a sense of belonging and love when they're struggling with job insecurity and don't feel safe to be themselves or contribute without fear of rebuttal. Similarly, is it realistic to expect an employee to have the self-esteem, confidence and freedom required to fulfil their potential without a sense of belonging and love from which to grow?

So how can organisations help? It's all about investment, investment in their people and investment in the capability of their leaders to create psychological safety and an environment where people can thrive. Leaders need to be wholeheartedly inclusive and recognise the value of servant leadership. As Simon Sinek discussed in a recent interview, the workplace no longer tolerates poor leadership.

One of the best ways to create this environment is through professional coaching, internal coaching, and a coaching leadership style. If your organisation has coaching capability, maximise every opportunity to leverage it. And if not, seek external experts to help. Or, even better, adopt a blended plan that draws on the uniqueness of both capabilities. Nancy Kline articulates this issue perfectly in her book Time to Think (1999), noting, 'the quality of everything we do depends on the quality of thinking we do first.' This thinking space is what coaching creates so effectively.

Organisations that seek to create a coaching culture must nurture an environment that promotes safety initially - the psychological safety that allows individuals to be open to the influence of others, embrace diversity, trust one another, and unite behind a common goal.

Creating this environment requires a definitive shift in perspective. Moving away from constant assessment towards an understanding that the best ideas come from the best thinking, and 'the mind that holds the problem often holds the solution'. Such settings often use coaching to develop thinking, overcome barriers, realise potential, and foster autonomy and empowerment.

Such environments will see employees renewing their engagement, drive and sense of commitment to the organisation, even during times of reflection and change. Indeed, by cementing Maslow's needs and motivators together, organisations can use 'pull' and 'push' factors that have the potential to unsettle employees as a positive force - to inspire the change employees want to see in the workplace.

Working Transitions are coaching specialists. They offer expert coaching for every moment of workplace transition, from joining to retirement and everything in between. They listen to your priorities and tailor their coaching services to deliver successful next steps and careers for your employees, enhancing recruitment, engagement and, most importantly, retention.

The truth is everyone needs a coach now and again, so contact: [email protected], or call 01604 744 101 for a no-obligation chat or advice or visit Working Transitions' website.
















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