Monday morning, I headed to one of my favorite coffee shops to meet a client for a coaching session. I parked the car, walked up to the door, and found a sign that read “Apologize for the inconvenience, but we are closed due to labor shortages today.”
These signs seem to be everywhere. Closing on certain days, limiting hours and running short staffed have become so common in today’s marketplace. Finding employees is tough. Talk with any leader, business owner or entrepreneur and they will tell you one of the biggest challenges they have is talent – finding, hiring and keeping the employees they need to run their business and serve their customers.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4 million Americans quit their jobs in July 2021. Resignations peaked in April and have remained abnormally high for the last several months, with a record-breaking 10.9 million open jobs at the end of July.
This new trend has created a new term “quit rates” and the unfortunate thing about quit rates is they are on the rise.
Just this past week, my credit union lost three new team members that they had high hopes for. These new team members lasted no longer than three-weeks. A local retailer I frequent had two new employees quit before they ever showed up to work. And a brand-new corporate client I just signed with lost a long-term employee that they had identified for a future leadership position, someone they were ready to invest in and develop to ultimately lead an important department in their company.
These elevated quit rates are frustrating, time consuming, and are negatively impacting your credit union’s ability to serve members and grow your organization. If you want to build your credit union and succeed in today’s marketplace, you have to win the war on talent and turn these quit rates around.
Where do you begin? First with understanding why your employees are leaving.
5 Reasons Your Talent Is Walking Out The Door
- Failing Leadership – Like it or not, employees leave leaders they don’t leave credit unions. That may sound like a tough statement, but owning the problem is the most important place to start if you want to shift the trend. Employees today want leaders who give them a voice, leaders who actively show empathy, leaders who stand by their commitments, leaders who hold the team accountable – in other words leaders who actually lead.
- Lack Understanding – For many of your employees, these past two years have been some of the toughest times of their lives. They are not only dealing with shifts and changes at work, but this pandemic has impacted their children, their extended family, their spouse and significant other. They are dealing with financial, health and society pressures. Everyday when they come through your door, they already have a huge burden on their shoulders. Employees are looking for work environments that understand their challenges, leaders who are open to listening, and leaders who can help them find ways to successfully navigate the balance of work and home.
- No Investment – Every employee wants to be invested in. Even if your credit union is small, and you feel there is no room for growth or opportunity, if you fail to enhance their skills, your employees will leave. Not investing the time to listen to what skills your team members want to develop, and then providing a path to help them get there, will ensure you just opened the door and helped them walk out.
- Weak Accountability – Working in an environment that strikes the balance of rewarding and recognizing those that are contributing, and confronting those that are not is a key retention tool for top talent. Lack of accountability, not handling the discipline issues head on, will drive team members to leave.
- Grass Is Greener – Ultimately employees leave because they believe they can find something better. This is an employee’s market – and when you are not providing an environment where team members feel like they have a voice, they are being lead, their leader cares, they are actively invested in, and there is no accountability – they will seek and find a job and culture that does.
So if those are some of the reasons your employees are leaving, the next question needs to be how do you make it stop? Is it possible in today’s challenging environment to actually be able to hold on to talent when they have so many options?
Yes, yes it is! Leaving a job is a hassle, starting somewhere new is always a challenge, and for employees there is never a guarantee the opportunity will be better. They leave because they feel like they don’t have a choice. Your job as a leader in your credit union is to make sure that they do.
The ONE Strategy You Need To Make Them Stop
From the moment you start recruiting your employees, from their first day on the job, you need to start the retention process. If you want to hold on to top talent, every team member who works with you needs to understand the rules, how your culture works.
In other words. the one strategy you need to make talent stop walking out the door, is by establishing the rules of engagement. Literally developing a set of criteria that includes:
- What you will do as a leader, and what they can expect from you
- What you expect of them – their priorities
- How they can position themselves for promotion and advancement
The more you communicate, the more your talent understands the rules, the more likely they are to engage and the more likely they are to walk out the door.
When employees understand the rules, when they know what it takes to be successful, when they feel empowered to own their career development, and they know what to expect from you as a leader, they realize they are in a unique environment. One that cares about them, one that is willing to invest in them, and one where they can continually grow and develop.
Ready to see an example of a great set of rules of engagement? One that is successfully retaining employees in today’s tough market? Send me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will send one your way.
No doubt, these are challenging times for any leader. But if you focus more time and energy on trying to understand your team members, invest in them, and caring about their future and their growth, they will spend more time and energy on investing in you and the growth of your credit union.