Hire staff with interpersonal skills to boost your bottom line

Once upon a time, a company just like yours hired an amazingly talented employee. Everyone who met her knew she was going to be an asset. Over the next few months, her co-workers were buoyed by her warmth,energy and innovative ideas. Then, one day, they came into the office and saw her desk was cleared. All their boss said was, “She left.” The co-workers gathered in the lunchroom that day to discuss it, but there was no mystery: everyone knew why she’d left.

People generally don’t quit their jobs. They quit their bosses! So if you don’t foster a culture of chief relationship officers in today’s global, competitive job market, you’ll see your top talent exit faster than bedbugs leaving a burning mattress.

Read: Employees are overworked, burnt out

To be a great chief executive officer, chief financial officer, chief operating office — or C anything — you need to be a great CRO first. And, as an employer, hiring CROs should be a critical part of your recruitment process.

What’s a CRO?

A CRO is someone who understands all business is relationship-based and is committed to developing authentic connections with employees and customers. The reason you need to be a CRO is simple: the top predictor of career success, says Gallup, is the quality of your professional relationships.

Recent research from Gallup shows “managers from hell” create employee disengagement and cost U.S. businesses an estimated $450 billion to $550 billion annually. And many of those managers don’t even realize they’re a problem!

Read: Canadian employers lag in the talent game

On the other hand, the Gallup research finds the 30 million engaged workers produce most innovative ideas, bring most new customers and have the most entrepreneurial energy.

How to make everyone a CRO

1. Have a crystal clear corporate purpose. This isn’t the same as a mission statement or vision.

2. Share the corporate purpose with all employees.

3. Create time and environments where people get to know one another beyond a surface level.

4. Discuss what the corporate purpose means to individuals in the company.

5. Develop corporate cultural connoisseurs within the organization who actively engage with others across departments about the overall corporate purpose.

Why good people leave good jobs

A few years ago, Florida State University researchers looked into the possibility that people leave jobs because of bad bosses, and — surprise, surprise — they found evidence it’s true. Surveying more than 700 employees, they discovered the following:

  • 31% of respondents said their supervisor gave them the silent treatment in the past year;
  • 37% said their supervisor didn’t give credit when it was due;
  • 39% noted their supervisor didn’t keep promises;
  • 27% said their supervisor made negative comments about them to other employees or managers; and
  • 23% said their supervisor blamed others to cover up mistakes or minimize embarrassment.

The research also revealed employees in abusive professional relationships experienced more exhaustion, job tension, nervousness and depressive moods. They were also less likely to take on additional tasks, such as working longer and on weekends, and were generally less satisfied with their jobs.

Read: Most managers don’t give career guidance

In fact, employees were more likely to leave if they were involved in abusive work relationships than if they were dissatisfied with their pay.

The party line

Employees who leave voluntarily generally do so because they’ve formed a perception of their leader or organization that’s different from the official party line. Unfortunately, executives rarely create environments that are safe enough for employees to openly talk about such incongruences. It takes courageous leaders with minimal egos to welcome honest feedback.

It’s far easier to shrug off employees leaving your company as unimportant. But if you do that, over time, your talent pool will dry up. And, in the world of social media, you can bet your back teeth those leaving will inform others about the disconnect.

So, to retain your talent and grow your bottom line, make being a CRO a crucial part of your corporate culture. Because CRO is not a position you hire for; it’s arole every member of your team — from CEO to janitor — takes on.

Dõv Baron is a leadership and corporate culture strategist. This article was adapted from his latest book, Fiercely Loyal: How High Performing Companies Develop and Retain Top Talent.

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