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There’s no doubt that talent is holding the leverage in today’s market.

And companies are rightly scrambling to hold onto top performers.

Some organizations are throwing wet noodles (money, programs, etc.) at the wall to see what sticks. But other, wiser companies are doing pulse checks – they’re asking employees what’s working well and where a change or shift might bolster the experience triggering commitment to stay.

In recent months, I’ve run pulse checks for companies in retail, financial services, manufacturing, and technology. And while each engagement yields some insights unique to a company or industry, there are some universal truths beginning to emerge for me.

Today I share 5 things that employees in every sector are deeply wanting their leaders to hear. These are calls to action not to be ignored.

My guess is that at least one or two of these is relevant to your team.

So how will you choose to respond?

1. Please mind the downstream impacts of decisions being made.

People are experiencing a breakdown in communication or consideration. Every decision within a team or function has a downstream impact on another team or function.

Decisions being made without consulting the party(ies) who will have to execute can be damaging and exhausting.

When a promise is made to a customer a goal is set, a campaign is sent…who in your organization is going to have to scramble to deliver on that goal or promise? And have they been invited to weigh in on the promise before it’s made?

Run a reality check with them to drive alignment. Chances are, someone near you is feeling the burn of this right now.

2. Boundaries and days off without prioritization isn’t helping

While people are hearing the message “take time off; don’t work evenings or weekends” their lived experience isn’t allowing them to heed the counsel.

The sentiment is lovely. The execution, not feasible.

This conflict creates frustration.

Leaders, it’s on us to help our teams distinguish the must-have’s from the that’d-be-nice’s. We must support them in saying no or taking strategic shortcuts or expanding timelines.

We need to prioritize, find efficiencies, and resource our most critical initiatives.

3. Communication feels like a game of “Telephone”

From strategy and mission to Covid policies and staffing updates –countless teams are wading through inconsistent messaging.

Someone recently described this as “a game of telephone.”

We used to rely on updates happening at water coolers and in bathrooms. Key updates found their way into people’s ears.

In a hybrid world, intention and discipline in communication need to be dialed up.

We have to be clear and precise in talking about the what, why, how, and when. When teams experience inconsistency or lack of clarity, it erodes trust.

And trust is kind of everything right now.

4. Please help me understand our very changed organization.

Teams, talent, structures have seen many changes in the past two years. And in a largely virtual – or even hybrid – world, people are having trouble tracking.

Which teams own which work, which people are doing which roles – these are basic but very real questions.

I’m hearing a lot from teams that are struggling to maintain efficiency and efficacy simply because they no longer know how to get things done.

Keeping this information up-do-date and available as needed will drive efficacy, collaboration, and in turn, engagement.

5. I want to know my loyalty is valued.

The war for talent is fierce.

But as companies craft compelling sign-on incentives for new talent, we need to mind the message we’re sending to our existing teams.

Like the cable company offering sexy incentives to new customers only, this strategy leaves the loyal masses feeling taken for granted – as if commitment and longevity are commodities.

Leaders, are you placing more value on the talent you’re trying to attract than the talent who’s stuck with you during a difficult journey?

Find ways to remind your loyal team members how critical and appreciated they are. Money, gratitude, recognition, and opportunities to shine can all hang together in your toolbox.

I hope you’ve found a pearl in here. If you’re curious about the shape a pulse check might take, hit us up. Maybe you’d like to DIY a check-in. And we’d be happy to offer you some pointers.

Happy hunting!