How to Win the Post Pandemic Talent War

talent

You can’t lead without people. Unfortunately, many bad leaders forget this simple truth. Instead of investing in and developing solid relationships with those they get the opportunity to lead, they complain, blame, and act as if people are disposable.  

While no great organization would advocate with this as a sustainable approach, it wasn’t the worst talent strategy for decades. Countless professionals were looking for employment, and those employed were scared about keeping their job. This put the power squarely in the hands of organizations.

However, the current environment has shifted dramatically, and the power of employment is now in the hands of talented professionals, and the best companies recognize it.  

The current talent environment has the power of employment in professionals’ possession, and the best companies recognize it.  

Research suggests that between 55% – 70% of professionals are actively looking to change jobs. Most professionals who have left or are thinking about going aren’t walking away for a small pay raise. They are walking towards leaders and companies who care about them and add value to their lives beyond a paycheck.  

Great companies change the lives of their team members, not just their bank account.

While no company or leader is perfect, there is a long list of companies going above and beyond to positively change the lives of their team members. Chick-fil-A, Movement Mortgage, Lippert Components, and Cora Health come to mind, to name a few. Creating a culture that changes the lives of their team members sounds obvious; putting it into action is a much different challenge.  

Retention Rules.

On average, employee turnover costs organizations between 1x-2x a year’s salary once they have been in the organization for over three years. A Google study found that the average employee that turns over within one year costs about $50,000. The cost of turnover is expensive, and retention is essential.  

Most leaders and organizations grasp this, but instead of implementing formal retention efforts, they go with the “Next employee up mentality.” This is a powerful mantra that many of the best sports teams live by when a player gets hurt or can’t play for another reason. Not only is it a good one, but it’s true. Every single person is replaceable, and no one is trying to change that.  

However, in a talent market like our current one, retaining high performers and great team players deserves a dedicated strategy corporately and implemented by each manager. 

The key to retention is for front-line managers to behave like leaders.

All Turnover Isn’t Bad.

One of the most significant mistakes leaders make is that believe they have to retain a team member that hurts their culture because the talent pool is limited. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Team members who aren’t willing to sacrifice their interests for the team might seem to help in the short term, but they hurt in the long run. 

There is never a good time for a leader to retain selfish team members.

Now contrary to popular belief, people do change. Especially when it comes to grasping the consequences of one’s actions. If a team member is struggling to meet or exceed the standard required to be a part of a team, make them aware. Then coach and give them a chance to make adjustments before deciding to move on.  

Be Proactive Around Talent.

A recent Korn Ferry study found by 2030, there will be a global human talent shortage of more than 85 million people, resulting in $8.5 trillion in unrealized annual revenues. This means the talent shortfall is here to stay, and the employment market will continue to be hyper-aggressive. What’s required to thrive in a hyper-aggressive talent market is proactivity in seeking and developing people.  

Lawrence Bossidy said it well, “nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day, you bet on people, not on strategies.”

Not only is Bossidy right, but it’s also never been more critical than it is today. A relentless approach to seeking talent and an equally persistent effort to develop people inside the organization are required to succeed today.  

A relentless approach to seeking talent and an equally persistent effort to develop people inside the organization are required to succeed today. 

Closing

The “how-to” strategies to improve retention, good turnover, and successful recruiting are endless.  If you want to know if your organization is doing a good job, look for these as proof:

  • Leadership development programs
  • Best in class technology tools
  • Core values highlighted in the hiring and promotion process
  • Culture of coaching and mentoring

I hope that instead of blaming, complaining, and acting as if people are disposable, you will do your part to make a difference in people right where you are.  Use the opportunities in front of you to “bloom where you are planted” because that’s exactly what the best leaders do. 

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About the Author: John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company helping executives and managers to lead their best. He was named one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Management & Workplace. John is also the author of Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Success. You can follow him on Instagram @johngeades.

How to Lose the Respect of Your Team in One Simple Step

Most leaders put in the effort to earn respect, while others naively rely on their title to provide it. Regardless of the way it is gained, without respect, you can’t lead. At best, you can manage others but forget the idea of getting the best out of a team. This is why the second leadership principle in Building the Best is: Without strong relationships, you can’t lead.  

Even the thought of losing the respect of someone or something a leader cares about can cause a pit in their stomach to form.  Research suggests that overall happiness in life is more related to how much you are respected and admired by those around you, not to the status that comes from the amount of money you make or have.

Commanding and Demanding Respect Isn’t The Answer.

While the position a leader is in often comes with built-in respect, it can’t and won’t sustain respect for an extended period. Respect is earned, and it’s earned through a lot of hard work and correct decision making. As Paulo Coelho said, “Respect is for those who deserve it, not for those who demand it.”

Once respect is lost, gaining it back is one of the hardest things a leader can do. Leaders lose the respect of their people for all different kinds of reasons. Often, it’s lost for a big intentional decision that is glaringly selfish. 

Through my experience working with leaders from all industries in a variety of positions, it’s most common that leaders lose respect not because of one of these big decisions, but because of a collection of subtle choices, often without awareness of their mistakes.  

Here are a few common examples:

  • Not standing up to someone or something that’s wrong
  • Treating team members differently based on personal relationships
  • Refusal to confront the bully on the team
  • Interrupting others while they are speaking
  • Physically being in a meeting but not being mentally present
  • Hearing but not actively listening to team members
  • Not keeping their word when they say they will do something

If you have been in a position of leadership for any length of time, you know your people are watching your every move and listening to the words that come out of your mouth. 

Take a good look at your actions. Are you guilty of any of these? We all make mistakes, but respect is lost when habits form, and people aren’t self-aware enough to recognize their pattern of behavior.  

Here’s how the best leaders cultivate a culture of respect on their team and you can too: 

Look beyond commonalities

It sounds almost foolish for me to have to write this given our current environment, but each person on a team is equal. They might not play the same role or contribute to the overall success of a team in the same way, but the moment team members start being treated differently is the moment your trust begins to erode.   

Your human nature will have you gravitating toward people who act like you, look like you, or that you get along with personally. While there is nothing wrong with this by itself, leaders tend to give special treatment, attention, and let mistakes slide for these people. All leaders are challenged to overcome different biases in order to have better respect-filled relationships across their team.  

If you want more respect in your culture, look beyond commonalities. Be consistent with the opportunities available and the accountability leveraged with each member of the team.  

Do what’s right, always

There are many critical questions leaders should not only ask themselves in their careers and have an answer for. One of the crucial questions you must ask yourself and be able to clearly answer is: Who do I want to be as a leader?  

It’s a deep question, but if you don’t have an answer for it, there is a good chance you don’t have boundaries of your character. This might not be a problem when everything is going well, but it becomes a problem when tough situations arise or decisions have to be made that are on the border of right and wrong.  

Questionable decisions start small. As an example, rarely does a criminal’s first offense start with robbing a bank. It starts small indiscretions and escalates over time. 

Since your people are watching, doing what is right under pressure will always be something that builds respect. Knowing who you want to become as a leader will help guide these tough decisions and do what’s right. I shared some ideas about making positive daily deposits to help you in a recent episode of the Follow My Lead Podcast.

Share the truth, even if it hurts

Many leaders struggle to share hard truths with their people out of fear of the reaction or the uncomfortable nature of the conversation. Regardless of the reason, sharing the truth is a powerful way to earn respect.

Sharing hard truths, while difficult, shows your people you care about the team and them enough to help them get better in the future. As I tell people in our virtual leadership workshops, if you have information that can help someone else improve and you don’t share it, you are only hurting them. 

The best part of getting into the habit of sharing the truth is your team will appreciate your courage and willingness to share it. The more you do it, the easier it becomes until it’s just part of your culture. 

Empower people to make decisions

As a leader, you are ultimately responsible for everything your team does. However, if you make all the decisions, your people won’t reach their full potential, and won’t achieve the level of success you desire.

Empowering your people to make decisions is a fast track to creating a culture of respect. Check out this story of a manager from Chick-fil-A, empowering her people to make decisions.

Closing

Remember, respect is earned and without it, you can’t lead. Heade this warning: it can also be eroded in an instant. Don’t take it for granted. 

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About the Author John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company making virtual training easy and effective. He was named one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Management & Workplace. John is also the author of Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Successand host of the “Follow My Lead” Podcast, a show that transfers stories and best practices from today’s leaders to the leaders of tomorrow. He is currently scheduling virtual workshops an keynotes. Learn more about the talks. You follow him on Instagram @johngeades.

Why the Best Leaders Don’t Make All The Decisions

Man standing with forward direction arrow

One of the most critical elements of leadership is empowerment. Which means “to give control over another’s life and the authority to do something.” The best leaders know it’s their responsibility to allow other people to make decisions where the information is.

The hard part is knowing as the leader; you are ultimately responsible for everything that goes on in your team. However, if you make all the decisions, there is no way your people will reach their full potential, or your team will achieve the level of success you desire.

I hope this story from my experience at Chick-fil-A will help you think about how you are encouraging your people to make decisions on your team. If they aren’t ready to make the correct decisions, it time you think about coaching, mentoring, and developing them so they can.

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About the Author: John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company that exists to turn managers into leaders and create healthier places to work. He is currently booking events and speaking engagements for 2020. John was named one of LinkedIn’s 2017 Top Voices in Management & Workplace and was awarded the 2017 Readership Award by Training Industry.com. John is also the host of the “Follow My Lead” Podcast, a show that transfers stories and best practices from today’s leaders to the leaders of tomorrow. You follow him on Instagram @johngeades.

3 Secrets Chick-fil-A Leaders Know About Culture That You Should Too

Whether you love them or completely disagree with them, you can’t deny Chick-fil-A’s meteoric rise to the top. Just look at your newsfeed. People cannot stop talking about their impeccable customer service or the fact they make more per store than any other fast food restaurant and they are closed on Sunday.

I’ve fallen victim myself and am obsessed with studying the organization to glean leadership lessons companies of all sizes can learn from. Recently, I went on a tour of their headquarters (Chick-fil-A calls it the Support Center) and my expectations were exceeded more than they have been in any of their restaurants. Here’s what I learned:

No ordinary Corporate Support Center

Six years ago, Chairman and CEO Dan Cathy had a vision of giving Backstage Tours with the goal of delivering an authentic storytelling experience inspired by the history, culture, and values of the company. 

Within the first 30 minutes of the tour, our group was escorted to an area where the Executive management team gathers for their weekly meeting. Instead of just a peek through the door, we were invited in to hear from Cathy himself to learn what the management team was focused on (scaling company culture) and why the company started the Backstage Tour. Before we left, Tim Tassopoulos, their COO stood up and addressed us, “Without you, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do, so thank you.” Then the management team proceeded to give us a round of applause. What other company would do something like this?  

Practices worth applying in your own business

1. Collaborative Work Spaces

Chick-fil-A has spent millions of dollars renovating to create more open workspaces that foster collaboration between teams and departments. Only 25% of the company’s employees have assigned seating and everyone is encouraged to utilize the entire campus.

Mike Hazelton, the SVP of Supply Chain Operations told me, “The work that happens at the Chick-fil-A Support Center is innovative and collaborative, and we wanted the office environment to reflect and foster that thinking.”

Chick-fil-A surveys the staff after each renovation and the results have been positive with engagement, collaboration and productivity increasing each year.

It might not be feasible to renovate your workspace, but you can find ways for more collaboration between employees. If you’re remote, set up dedicated time on your team’s calendar with a Zoom conference to collaborate and use the collective experience to solve problems.

2. It’s Not Just the Customer Experience

You’re most likely familiar with Chick-fil-A’s world-class customer service at their restaurants, but did you know they use that same level of service with their employees?

“We take great care in creating and providing an enjoyable experience for guests, operators, restaurant team members, and staff. When planning our new office space, we mapped out a “day in the life” for a Chick-fil-A employee as part of our utilization survey,” said Hazelton.

This approach is perfectly in line with another success entrepreneur Richard Branson approach said, “take care of your employees and they will take care of your business. It’s simple as that.” Turn your attention to not only to how customers experience your products and services, but also give attention to your employees’ experience each day.

Become an experience company for both your employees and your customers. Be radical about mapping out these experiences because it’s one of the few things that impossible for the competition to replicate.

3. Employee Perks that Matter

Many organizations provide perks for their employees to increase retention and employee engagement. Chick-fil-A takes this to a new level. They provide lunch every day to all of their corporate employees at no cost. Providing lunch is just part of their culture of care and generosity, they also provide on-site child care in a state-of-the-art facility. The cost? Only $10/day.

While I understand this doesn’t fit in the budget for most companies, skip the free beer on tap and focus on the perks all employees care about. Things like employee development, wellness programs, leadership development, flexible work schedules, and additional vacation days. Highlight these perks to attract new talent and retain the great talent you already have. 

Chick-fil-A’ proved to me culture is not only of the utmost importance; it starts at the top, but it’s proven by its people.  

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About the Author John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company which exists to turn managers into leaders and create healthier places to work. John was named one of LinkedIn’s 2017 Top Voices in Management & Workplace and was awarded the 2017 Readership Award by Training Industry.com. John is also the author the upcoming book Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Successand host of the “Follow My Lead” Podcast, a show that transfers stories and best practices from today’s leaders to the leaders of tomorrow. You follow him on Instagram @johngeades.

Viral Chick-fil-A Video Points Out 1 Critical Lesson Every Organization Must Remember

There are well over four million hours of content loaded to the internet every day. While some experts claim to know exactly why some videos go viral, the latest one was simple, it was funny and honest.

Carissa Cropper, a comedian from Baton Rouge, LA started a Facebook live expressing her deep satisfaction with the customer service, experience, and food from Chick-fil-A and the internet loved it. At the time of posting this, it has over 7.4 million views in just a few weeks.

She says in the video, “Chick-fil-A is killing it. They have a military base they train out of, I am convinced. I just appreciate the professionalism, it’s hot as hell out here but they are smiling saying cheese and asking how can I help you Ms. Carissa.”

She even throws some other fast food restaurants under the bus because they don’t compare to the experience at Chick-fil-A.

“I don’t understand why I go to Popeyes and I got to wait on hot chicken and all you sell is chicken, McDonald’s don’t ever have anything working, and don’t get me started on Burger King.”

While she had me and I am sure you laughing, she then delivered a message that should make Dan Cathy and the leadership team at Chick-fil-A proud and is a lesson for all businesses restaurant or not.

Take care of you people and your people will take care of you, that’s the lesson today

“Take care of you people and your people will take care of you, that’s the lesson today. It comes through Chick-fil-A, but that’s what’s true in these streets.”

Whether you like the company that generates more revenue per location than any other fast food chain in the U.S. or not, there is no arguing that taking care of your people is always a good idea.

Here are a couple of things Chick-fil-A offers their employees that I believe are important for any business or leader within it.

A Reminder of Why the Company Is in Business

Chick-fil-A’s founder Truett Cathy famously said, “We aren’t in the chicken business, we are in the people business.” This organization is about something bigger than themselves and the food they serve is just a means to impact the world.

According to Glassdoor, they don’t pay their hourly employees much more than the competition ($8.44 vs $7.98) but they invest in them heavily. They know the more training, leadership opportunities, and career advancement they provide, the longer people will stay.

Reconnect your business with the people you are meant to impact, not the amount of money coming in.

Perks That Matter

Chick-fil-A has a lot of young employees and instead of just focusing on perks like free food or flexible hours, they focus on big things that can add a lot of impact in their lives. They offer opportunities for college scholarships and have given over 36,000 restaurant team members scholarships since 1973, according to Eater.com. Employees are given off on Sunday because the restaurant is closed which gives them an opportunity to attend church, rest, or spent time with family. Last but not least they provide career paths and opportunities for advancement.

The company is also poised to become the 3rd largest fast food chain in the US by 2020, according to Eater, so there are new stores and global growth opportunities happening all around them.  Do your best to use perks that really matter to people or promotional opportunities as ways to show your people they matter.

A version of this article originally appeared on Inc.com

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About the Author John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a full-service organizational health company which exists to turn managers into leaders and create healthier places to work. John was named one of LinkedIn’s 2017 Top Voices in Management & Workplace and was awarded the 2017 Readership Award by Training Industry.com. John is also a sought-after speaker for companies and conferences. He hosts the “Follow My Lead” Podcast, a show that transfers stories and best practices from today’s leaders to the leaders of tomorrow. He is also the author of FML: Standing Out and Being a Leader and the upcoming book “The Welder Leader.” You follow him on Instagram @johngeades.

3 Flawless Leadership Lessons You MUST Learn from Chick-fil-A

I have always been enamored with companies that blatantly outperform the competition. I marvel in everything from their CEO’s decision making, habits of their leadership team, marketing, strategy, all the way down to their execution. What’s even more fascinating is for companies to separate themselves in industries that have an equal playing field like food and beverage.

Enter Chick-fil-A. The company generates more revenue per location than any other fast food chain in the U.S. and consistently ranks first in restaurant customer service surveys. So what exactly are they doing to crush McDonalds, KFC, Burger King among others?

Here are 3 terrific leadership lessons you can learn from Chick-fil-A:

Make People The Priority

Chick-fil-A’s founder Truett Cathy famously said, “We aren’t in the chicken business, we are in the people business.” This organization is about something bigger than themselves and the food they serve is just a means to impact the world. Making people the priority isn’t just a Chick-fil-A thing. Just this week on the Follow My Lead Podcast former Starbucks Executive Howard Behar said, “Starbucks isn’t in the coffee business serving people, they are in the people business serving coffee.” Two great companies on opposite ends of the political spectrum, acting the exact same way. Think it’s a coincidence?

According to Glassdoor, Chick-fil-A doesn’t pay their hourly employees much more than the competition ($8.44 vs $7.98) but they invest in them heavily. They know that the more training, leadership opportunities, and career advancement they provide, the longer people will stay.

Takeaway: Be in the people business

Do Common Things in an Uncommon Way

We all think of good customer service at restaurants as common practice, but Chick-fil-A does the common in an uncommon way. DeeAnn Turner, author of It’s My Pleasure, told me, “When a guest says thank you, what you hear back from our employees is, ‘my pleasure’ because what it really means is, ‘it’s my pleasure to serve our customers.'”

Chick-fil-A cares about you personally when you walk in their stores. It’s a genuine care, not manufactured. This service mentality is embedded in their culture all the way from hiring through day-to-day execution. One of their presidents said, “If you aren’t serving chicken, you better be serving someone who is.” You as a leader have 100% control over the service to your customers just like you have control over your culture.

Takeaway: Make customer service a competitive differentiator.

Be Driven by Purpose

People in organizations don’t get burned out because of the work they do, they get burned out because they forget WHY they do the work they do. In 1982, Chick-fil-A had hit its first sales slump ever and instead of making major corporate cuts, Cathy and his executive team came up with a corporate purpose statement, “To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that’s entrusted to us and to have a positive influence on all those who come into contact with Chick-fil-A.”

The Chick-fil-A purpose statement has withstood the test of time and remains in front of their corporate office for every Chick-fil-A employee to see. Purpose driven companies continually outperform companies that lack purpose.

Takeaway: Know your organization or teams purpose and communicate it relentlessly

So whether you agree with the politics and or values of Chick-fil-A, there is no denying the impact they are making on the world and the results they are achieving. Open your mind to learning from them.

A version of this article originally appeared on Inc.com.

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About the Author John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft and host of the Follow My Lead Podcast. He is also the author of F.M.L. Standing Out & Being a Leader, a contributing editor on Inc.com, and is passionate about the development of modern professionals. You follow him on instagram @johngeades.