The post-Covid workforce is at odds with leadership and it’s personal. It’s obvious when you see the impact on retention. We as leaders let them down. In a time of great uncertainty and fear – in all aspects of their lives – our employees worked long hours under the most challenging conditions. Yet, communication was sparse and vague, undermining confidence in us to lead them through the crisis.  

True, we didn’t have a “plan” for shutting down in March 2020, but we certainly didn’t think through the recovery and create one for getting back to work. The shutdown experience changed our employees’ priorities and expectations, and we didn’t ask the right questions nor consider their answers.  

Slips in integrity, broken promises, or multiple changes in direction cast doubt on trustworthiness.
“Slips in integrity, broken promises, or multiple changes in direction cast doubt on trustworthiness.” ~Karen M. Pierce

Leadership wanted to return to the normal of 2019. And our tactical, unempathetic decisions reinforced their distrust in us – specifically that we didn’t value them or their valiant efforts.

Now they have options and are exercising them. Their combined revolutionary voices are demanding attention. They’re actually telling us what we need to know.  

So, what did we learn and where should we put our efforts right now to improve retention?  

The first step is calling a cease-fire to the battle. This requires understanding the underlying issues and finding common ground on which to rebuild your relationship. The Workforce Revolution intensified our talent’s desire for relationships with colleagues and for a community in which to belong. Leaders who treat employment as a transaction do so at their own peril.  

Leaders aren't equipped for today's changing environments.
Leaders aren’t equipped for today’s changing environments.

The real problem is trust.  

Trust is easily lost.  

Slips in integrity, broken promises, or multiple changes in direction cast doubt on trustworthiness. Now, in the wake of repeated failures and sparse or vague communication, there isn’t much room for grace and forgiveness.

Trust is gained slowly.  

This takes courage, consistency, and most of all, vulnerability. Leaders are like the cocky teenager who promised to abide by their parent’s rules, but thinking they got it all in hand, texts while driving anyway and rear ends someone at a stoplight. Like them, we were entrusted by our employees to do the right thing, to look out for our employees’ health and well-being, to set direction through the chaos, and keep them informed along the way.  

But we crashed and burned. Our employees are the parents in this scenario demanding we clean up the mess.  

How do our employees trust us again?  

What are we doing to make changes so we can build trust and change the impact on retention? Where do we even begin?

Don’t know where to start to rebuild trust with your employees? Let’s discuss how we can help you and your leadership team develop your battle plan and prepare your managers to execute it successfully. It’s time to act and gain back the trust you need from your employees.