Strong teams start with happy individuals

Strong teams are only possible if the individuals that comprise them are happy and motivated. As obvious as this may seem, the turbulence brought about by the pandemic and enforced work-from-home, has created new challenges for leaders to keep their teams happy.

One stark measure of employee contentment must surely be their intention to leave the company.

Unintended staff churn is damaging to any business and undermine strong teams. For starters, there’s the unavoidable lapse in staffing levels and calibre while replacements are sought and brought up to speed. Staff churn disrupts team harmony and work flows both within the organisations and with external teams.

Team leader, HR manager or both?

When it comes to the client-agency dynamic, agencies are essentially providing a service to their paying clients. Staff churn and team disruption is almost certainly damaging to the relationship.

As a former agency leader, I recall that at one point in a volatile market with political and social uncertainties, I grappled with staff turnover in excess of 35% per annum. With a headcount of almost 200, that meant spending almost two-thirds of my time on human resource issues.

The burn and the churn

According to this article from McKinsey, more than 15 million workers in the USA have quit their jobs in the six months since April 2021. What’s more, 40% of employees stated they are at least somewhat likely to leave their current job in next 3–6 months.

strong teams need staff continuity
Source: McKinsey

If the past 18 months have taught us anything, it’s that employees crave investment in the human aspects of work.

McKinsey Quarterly Sept 2021

Employees are tired, and many are grieving. They want a renewed and revised sense of purpose in their work. They want social and interpersonal connections with their colleagues and managers. They want to feel a sense of shared identity. Of course, pay, and benefits are critical as ever but they now crave to feel valued by their organisations and managers.

Understanding the issues

Unless you understand why people are leaving the organisation, you can’t begin to stop them. Strong teams will weaken. McKinsey’s research indicates a disconnect between the factors that are important to employees versus what employers think is important.

Employees were far more likely to prioritise relational factors such as their value to the organisation and a sense of belonging whereas employers were more likely to focus on transactional ones such as their compensation.

What to do?

The research suggests that executives aren’t listening to their people enough and urge leaders to ponder some hard questions;

  • Do we shelter toxic leaders?
  • Do we have the right people in the right places (especially managers)?
  • How strong was our culture before the pandemic?
  • Is our work environment transactional? 
  • Are our benefits aligned with employee priorities?
  • Employees want career paths and development opportunities. Can we provide it?
  • How are we building a sense of community?

At Aprais we know that stronger relationships build stronger business. This begins with having highly motivated people, with the right skills, doing the jobs best suited in the right places at the right time. But to achieve this requires continuity.

This presents a range of challenges for team leaders.

To understand the seven key behaviours that separate the best teams from the rest, download our free report here.