Like Elvis, is Your Talent Getting Ready to Leave the Building?

elvis imageAccording to two recent research studies from BlessingWhite and The Corporate Executive Board, and cited in the article "Engagement Hits the Skids" (login required), organizations have an engagement problem and it only looks to get worse in 2011.

First BlessingWhite's "The Employee Engagement Report 2011":

"…fewer than 1 in 3 workers worldwide is fully engaged (31 percent), with 17 percent described as "completely disengaged."

The Corporate Executive Board study:

"The percentage of employees with high levels of "intent to stay" fell from 27 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009 to 22 percent in the third quarter of 2010."

In times of economic turmoil like we've experienced from 2008 to the present, it isn't really surprising that employees are starting to look around. They've experience layoffs, downsizing, plant closing, reassignments, changes in strategy, etc. As the economy shows signs of loosening and more organizations are advertising for positions, top talent starts to see what's out there. Its only natural.

Ambitious, high-performing employees are bound to check on their worth from time to time. We respect that. If their services weren't in demand by the market, we'd probably start to question the value they bring to your organization.

Yet more significant to us here at Work Effects is what the BlessingWhite study has to say about the connection between trust and job satisfaction. The study included interviews with 11,000 employees, line managers and human resources executives in Asia, Australia/New Zealand, China, Europe, India and North America.

Quoting again from the article:

"The satisfaction piece is affected in part by the amount of trust employees have in leaders, according to BlessingWhite. And trust is an area where training is called for, says BlessingWhite president and CEO Christopher Rice. Among highly engaged employees, executives in North America earned the highest score for trust at 50 percent. Still, that means roughly half of the most-engaged North American workers are at least somewhat leery of corporate decision-makers, Rice says. "If you're an executive, doing your job well obviously is important. But other things are much more so: trustworthiness, the ability to empathize with and inspire people … those are areas where executives tend to need lots of development."

If we are to believe what the BlessingWhite study says, job satisfaction isn't based on compensation or a job well done. It is very much affected by trust. Regardless of how good your top performers are, if they don't get inspiration, support and guidance from their leaders, they won't trust you.

To the credit of North American executives, they have the highest trust scores of any global region that was studied, but it appears that only 50% of the most highly motivated, loyal and committed employees trust them.

As the economy starts to show positive signs of positive growth in 2011, engagement will be an increasingly popular topic to discuss in the board room. Talk is a good start, but unless a plan is implemented soon to retain top talent through a leadership development program based on trust, these employees are going to start to walk.

Just make sure you don't wait too long to engage your top talent because, like Elvis, this talent will have already left the building.

To learn more about the Work Effects leadership development practice group, please click HERE.

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