Curb Attrition with Behavioral Skills

November 30, 2022

Companies today are dealing with an inevitable dark cloud over their heads - attrition. From the great resignation to quiet quitting, trends over the last couple of years have dictated the shift in the way companies are now looking at employee retention. Organizations are understanding the roles their leaders play in retaining or attracting talent. However, attrition continues to be a huge business metric for companies because it comes with a huge cost. Replacing talent can be very expensive and also lead to a significant productivity drain.

A few weeks ago, we’d broadly discussed how to navigate the talent war in our podcast. This week, we’ll dive a bit deeper into what companies can do to curb attrition significantly.

At Fundamento, we’ve been working with employers to understand critical power skills that drain and drive their customer-facing teams with regards to specific business metrics. When it comes to attrition, irrespective of whether customer-facing or not, our team of IO psychologists and experts have identified that leadership plays a huge role. After understanding our data and analyzing this further, we’ve narrowed down the power skills that organizations must develop in their leaders and teams in order to improve employee experience, enhance productivity and dramatically curb attrition.

Furthermore, we’ve broken down these skills into micro behaviors that reflect manifestations of each skill in day to day work life. Organizations must constantly attempt to answer certain questions in order to genuinely solve for attrition.  

Does your company have solid leaders?

While there are several aspects of a leader that are critical to business success within an organization, it is important that the leader is also one who is able to inspire and motivate their team to do better. This ends up being one of the biggest gaps when it comes to employee satisfaction. Investing in the development of leaders then becomes a priority for organizations dealing with high attrition. Therefore, the power skill associated with this is Inspirational Leadership.

Inspirational Leadership refers to one's ability to inspire, influence, and lead by example. This involves creating a shared vision and articulating a mission towards achieving common goals.

This power skill allows leaders to become role models for their team members wherein the team follows their footsteps to deliver high quality work.

  • Lending ownership: Leaders are able to provide autonomy to team members while allowing them the flexibility to build new capabilities
  • Leading by example: Leaders are continuously a positive influence on the team and motivate the team towards ideal behavior by delivering best practices themselves
  • Identifying talent: Leaders are able to unlock latent potential of the team by understanding their strengths and challenging them on a regular basis
  • Setting goals: Leaders enable goal-setting exercises for the team and inspire them to have ambitious goals so that they can step out of their comfort zone

Do your leaders communicate openly?

A lot of discontentment in the team comes from the fact that there’s limited or selective top-down communication. More often than not, teams feel disengaged or disconnected due to low transparency and trickling information delivery. At every level of leadership, clear and open communication goes a long way in instilling a sense of trust within the team. It is considered a significant driver in curbing attrition. The power skill that organizations need to develop in their leaders is: Transparency.

Transparency refers to the ability to maintain honesty, openness, and integrity about emotions, beliefs and ethical principles.

This power skill allows leaders to build trust within the team which enables team-bonding, better collaboration and higher productivity.

  • Setting benchmarks: Leaders are able to establish realistic performance expectations by issuing a clear sense of direction for the team so that there’s no scope for confusion or misunderstanding
  • Creating communication channels: Leaders are equipped to establish better modes of communication that ensure timely exchange of information
  • Enabling team bonding: Leaders are able to activate practices that keep the team together with minimum conflict
  • Giving feedback: Leaders do not hold back feedback, deliver it effectively, regularly and work actively with the team towards goal achievement

Does everyone on your team contribute to peer growth?

Leaders set the ball rolling when it comes to peer-to-peer learning. If a leader invests in the growth of their team, the team invests in each other's growth. Lifting each other up is step one to enhanced productivity because it taps into the strengths of each individual. For this, we’ve identified two power skills that once developed ensure the entire team contributes actively to peer growth: Empathy and Developing Others.

Empathy is the emotional ability to understand, share and anticipate the feelings of another.

This power skill allows leaders to make the team feel heard and invested in. This correspondingly creates room for an approachable and open culture within the team.

  • Taking time out for the team: Leaders are able to make the team feel heard and their contribution valued
  • Offering support: Leaders show genuine interest in their team member’s life and challenges they’re facing
  • Being approachable: Leaders are easy to speak to and always available for discussions to ensure their team is on the same page

Developing Others is the ability to determine strengths and areas requiring improvement in others and mentoring or coaching them towards enhancing their abilities.

This power skills allows leaders to make decisions on the back of their team’s needs and make their growth a priority.

  • Developing team strengths: Leaders are able to recognize the development of existing strengths as a priority
  • Communicating consistently: Leaders share constructive feedback consistently and tie it to improved business outcomes
  • Taking the team’s needs into account: Leaders are accustomed to taking inputs and altering their approach to suit the team's learning needs for a stronger impact

Does your team focus on solutions over problems?

Conflicts within a team are unavoidable, but how they’re addressed is key. If the leader sets a problem-pointing culture over a solution-finding one, the team’s morale can take a big hit. Therefore, a power skill we believe is crucial to minimizing friction within a team, hence retaining employees is Conflict Resolution.

Conflict Resolution is the process of putting an end to a dispute by utilizing active ways of rectification. It involves finding a solution to a disagreement or opposition.

This power skill ensures that leaders initiate a culture of problem solving within the team and reduce friction to the extent possible so that teams are able to perform better.

  • Being unbiased: Leaders are able to focus on events, not personalities
  • Knowing problem areas: Leaders are in a position to anticipate possible conflicts and prioritize issues that need immediate attention
  • Staying involved yet distanced: Leaders are able to maintain a balanced approach when resolving conflicts and intervene only when necessary

Does your team reflect often?

A metric such as attrition is complex and there are several factors that must be considered while solving for it. However, behavioral skills go a long way in creating a work culture that employees don’t want to leave. The power skills elaborated above manifest in ways that significantly help curb attrition. None of that is easy to maintain though without an extremely critical power skill: Emotional Self Awareness.

Emotional Self Awareness is the ability to identify one's internal states - feelings, emotions, values or goals and to be conscious of their effect on one's speech and actions.

This power skill is the one way to ensure that neither the leader nor the team is unaware of their own strengths or weaknesses. This allows then to be open to feedback, not make emotional decisions and understand consequences of their actions.

  • Accepting feedback: Team members are able to ask for and accept criticism from others
  • Being aware of own tendencies: Team members are able to regulate themselves on an ongoing basis and not make rushed or emotional decisions
  • Understanding behavioral impact: Team members are constantly aware of their body language and know how others perceive their actions

While all of these skills are primarily focused on leaders, it is important to note that leaders precisely set the tone for the way their teams function. If these skills are developed in leaders, the chances of them transferring to the team are manifold. In order to curb attrition, the most effective way is to develop necessary power skills in leaders and see a trickle down effect in the team. When the team collectively feels more productive, individuals are more likely to stay and deliver high quality output.

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