The good news that unemployment levels continue to decline is bad news for many employers.

Why? Because stronger employment statistics mean workers have more opportunities to abandon sinking or vexing ships. Organizations with poor leaders are bound to see turnover rise – in some cases dramatically.

In fact, after interviewing over 3,000 full-time workers in 14 countries this year, a Dale Carnegie Training study reported that 44% said they will be looking for a new job in 2017. In the U.S. the percentage was only 26% -- but that’s still more than a quarter of all people on payrolls. And 15% of American workers said they are already actively looking for a new place to work.

The problem is not just that employers are hosts of a lot of toxic workplaces. The problem is that employees are looking for cultures “where people are driven to bring their best selves to work,” says Tanveer Naseer, a leadership coach, speaker and writer.

In The Catholic Vision or Leading Like Jesus, we talk about this in terms of the C4 Culture Index. 

  • Compliance Culture (C1) – where spans of control are short and the focus is inevitably on meeting only minimum levels of performance.
  • Cooperation Culture (C2) – where management encourages employees to want to do their bidding, but the leadership task is still getting people to do what the leaders want.
  • Contribution Culture (C3) – where the focus is on getting from people whatever they have to offer, and then working with them to grow their capacity to contribute on a continual basis.
  • Communion Culture (C4) – that very rare situation in which everyone’s values and goals are completely aligned.

Studies have shown that workers – especially younger ones – are looking for places where they can contribute and continue to grow their aptitude and their skills.

When they sense that opportunities for growth and contribution are limited or virtually non-existent, they start looking for other, better opportunities.

And whether or not they find other opportunities, when they are tempted to be looking for them, they are not focused on the work you want and need them to do. Employment engagement suffers even when turnover does not spin out of control.

“Leadership is not about enabling people to meet expectations, but empowering them to exceed them,” Naseer says.

The Dale Carnegie Training study found that “effective leaders develop themselves and create a safe environment that fosters their employees’ capacity to grow.” In the study almost 80% of employees worldwide said that a key motivating factor is having a leader who “encourages me and makes me believe in myself.”


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