So, one more employee stepped into your cabin to let you know that he has found another opportunity? Well, employees come and go— this is the reality of running any business. But when the turnover rate starts to creep higher and higher, it creates a serious pain point for the organization. Every time an employee walks out the door, the ripple effect not only impinges on the balance sheet but throughout the company. Also, it is hard to overlook the lost knowledge, training costs, interviewing costs and recruitment costs invested in the employees. According to a study, employee turnover is costing $160 billion a year to U.S. companies. So, if you are experiencing higher than normal turnover, it’s time to seek the answer.
While there are many causes of employee retention issues in the workplace, management or leadership style is one of the main yet most overlooked reasons. You must have heard the phrase “people don’t leave their job, they leave their manager.” So, what can you do about this? Adopting servant leadership techniques can solve this problem to a great extent. After all, servant leadership is about focusing on meeting the needs of others and helping them achieve their greatest potential. Who wouldn’t like to work for a boss like that?
- Traditional Vs Servant Leadership
Power, position, influence are some of the traits that come to our mind when we heard the word leadership. Though these all are essential for leaders to be effective, there is another side of true leadership—a relational, warm, and non-confrontational side which ultimately makes or breaks a leader. That is the servant side of leadership. Servant leadership was defined by Peter G. Northouse in his book Leadership: Theory and Practice—“the good of followers over their own self-interests and emphasize follower development.” While traditional leadership generally involves the accretion and exercise of power by the leaders, servant leadership is about sharing the power, putting the needs of others first and helping people improve their performance.
- Servant Leadership Techniques to Retain Employees
Sometimes we become so focused on tasks and result that we overlook people behind it. This “results-first-team-second” mentality hampers the morale and even performance of the employees. However, by leading as a servant leader and adapting the principles of this unique leadership, you can create a healthy work environment that anyone will hardly want to leave. So, how can you tap into servant leadership, and retain your people effectively? Here are a few techniques to help you out.
- Focus On Better Communication
According to HBR, the top 10 complaints about leaders include not giving clear directions, not communicating properly with employees, and not providing constructive criticism. As a servant leader, no matter how busy you are, you should find time to communicate with your employees. Listen to them with open mind and make them clearly understand the big-picture goals of your company. Take a cue from Bill Gates who joins Microsoft programmers during the conceptualization session of many of the products that make the company what it is today.
- Encourage Growth
Remember employees who enjoy their work are more likely to stay in their jobs. When they get the chance to play to their strengths, and continuously gain skills and experiences, it gives them a sense of satisfaction. So, follow the servant leadership techniques and help your team members realize their greatest potential and reward their growth at every turn.
- Foster a Sense of Community
You might have noticed a few employees don’t speak up in meetings. Some employees don’t often socialize with team members. You might have ignored it thinking of it as introversion. However, this could be the result of employees feeling excluded from the team. Such feelings can adversely affect workplace culture and result in employee turnover. This situation can be avoided by forging a sense of community in the workplace through servant leadership. Foster workplace cohesion, and make all employees feel valued and included to eliminate the potential for isolation and alienation that contribute to toxic workplace culture.
- Put People First and then Profit
Another key aspect of servant leadership techniques is to help employees to make progress not just as professionals but also as human beings. The more they grow in their capabilities and skills, the more they will bring in to the table. It is important to understand that companies can only thrive if their employees feel content. By becoming a servant leader who puts people over profit, you create a positive work environment that retains great talent that brings about great things.
The Bottom Line
Remember the core ingredient for your company’s success is you and your leadership. There will always be someone who wants to leave your company to either change career paths or to become a stay-at-home parent or maybe to start their own business. Though it is not possible to completely eliminate employee turnover, leveraging the characteristics of servant leadership can help you reduce the number of employees leaving your company to a great extent.