From birth to death we are all on a quest to grow, to succeed, to be better. Initially it’s learning to raise our heads, to walk, talk, express ourselves and develop self-sufficiency. As we approach the end of our lives, it is more likely activities to keep our brains agile and involved – reading, crossword puzzles, teaching and learning about others. This pursuit for growth is a part of our natural evolution. The business world however, seems to be ignoring this human component. This need for growth and development.
Gone are the days where employees expect, and are therefore satisfied, to punch buttons or perform routine or repetitive work. Today’s workforce expects a more holistic experience. Yet somehow employees still end up being bogged down by repetitive tasks and expectations of delivering ever-increasing levels of productivity. The automation that was expected to make life easier, instead made it exponentially more demanding and complex.
The business community hasn’t made this any easier. Rather than developing their employees, businesses are investing in metrics and technology. Their goal – as that of the past – is to drive employees for higher sales, faster service, better results. But, unlike the workforce of generations past, today this comes at a high cost: burnout and turnover. The cost of employee turnover is estimated to run upwards of 200% of the annual salary for some positions.
The shift to a more humanistic employment model is not a sudden, millennial-driven, shift. In fact, over the past 30 years, employees have been on this path. It began when computers came into the workplace – and working remotely became an option. Today technology brings education, empowerment, and social and environmental connectedness into the same equation. Opportunities for individual growth are so close, and yet for most employees, are so far away.
Today’s businesses need to catch up. Leaders must be ready to understand that engagement is more than a buzz-word. They need to recognize why they are struggling to develop and retain their talent. And the secret, is no secret. It’s that growth matters – individual growth.
Growth is a fundamental part of the human condition.
Companies need to examine what they are doing to create an environment for growth. Have they created opportunities for employees to learn and be mentored by others? Does their business encourage innovation? What opportunities does the organization provide for employees to initiate new projects and ideas? Or to teach others? To have a lasting impact on employee engagement and turnover, businesses must make a commitment to helping each employee satisfy his/her own needs for growth and fulfillment. In other words, let them be better – and they’ll help you be better.