When it comes to attracting and retaining top talent, people management is essential. To do this successfully, managers need to inspire and motivate their teams and provide a positive, psychologically safe employee experience. This is important because with the war for talent raging, organizations can’t afford to lose top performers. Motivated and engaged teams with a high degree of psychological safety are more likely to perform at a higher standard, and less likely to quit.
In a recent study, CareerBuilder found that 58 percent of managers never actually receive any formal management training. When you consider that training helps managers develop critical skills that promote a positive employee experience, it’s not hard to see why there’s a disconnect between what companies need to do to retain top talent and the training they’re willing to provide to their managers to make that happen. With that in mind, here are three areas managers can focus on to ensure they’re creating productive teams and retaining top talent.
Psychologically safe environments
As leaders, managers have to hold people accountable for performance metrics, but the job doesn’t end there. In this talent-strapped market, they must also maintain an exceptional employee experience by creating a people-first environment where employees feel empowered to take risks and are engaged. This is where psychological safety comes into play. According to Amy Edmondson, a Harvard Business School researcher, psychological safety “describes perceptions of the consequences of taking interpersonal risks in a particular context such as a workplace."
For example, a manager might produce a psychologically unsafe environment by not encouraging their employees to share their opinions, which could lead to anxiety and low productivity within the team. On the other hand, managers can create a psychologically safe environment by engaging their teams in decision making and focusing on finding solutions instead of Placing blame. When put into a psychologically safe environment, employee performance will improve, and loyalty and productivity will increase.
While developing a psychologically safe environment may seem like common sense, it requires constant intentionality. Managers must maintain a system of checks and balances to ensure that the positive environment they are generating remains intact and evolves as the team does. With the war for talent raging, establishing a psychologically safe work environment is critical to retaining top performers and avoiding a revolving door of new hires.
The importance of team building
According to a recent survey, the number one skill employees believe that managers lack is team building. Team building is important for creating the kinds of interpersonal relationships that allow teams to thrive and work cohesively to deliver business results. Successful teams are comprised of self-aware team members who are purposeful about their interactions, mindful of behavioral differences, and communicate effectively with each other.
The biggest thing that managers need to remember is that it takes time and consistency for team building to be effective. Similar to creating a psychologically safe environment, the benefits of team building are not instantaneous. Having teams participate in a variety of projects with clearly defined roles will help managers see increased motivation and collaboration, and improved productivity over time. Beyond workplace assignments, offering opportunities for employees to get to know each other past the typical daily routine opens up trust and communication for colleagues to work more cohesively across the office.
Utilizing people data
When behavioral assessments are used to collect people data either pre- or post-hire, the manager ratings tend to be higher. This may be because behavioral assessments help managers understand how individuals are wired to think and work, allowing them to hone the “softer” requirements of a managerial position. People data contributes to greater self-awareness and can be leveraged to improve working relationships and to tailor coaching according to individual preferences. For example, managers might have a team member whose innate drive creates a need to avoid making mistakes. They will want to understand expectations and the right way to get the job done. Managers can utilize the data in this case to put an emphasis on structure, process and systems.
People data can also be useful when it comes to team building. When looking for the right hire, people data can be used to inform everything from how to assemble the right personalities to get the most out of a team, and how to best encourage an employee and provide them with the appropriate support. Over time, this will help companies build successful, high-performing teams which will translate into higher company revenue.
The broader business benefits
When managers are able to proactively diagnose issues contributing to low morale and decreased productivity, they are able to help maintain a strong company culture. Creating a psychologically safe environment, incorporating team building and appropriately using people data are all factors that add to developing and maintaining a culture that employees want to stay in for the long term. Following these guidelines allows companies to save time and money by stopping the revolving door and maintaining a high success rate.