Are your employees drowning in hopelessness?

“Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies"

                                                                                                                                               Shawshank Redemption

When I first start meeting employees in a company with high turnover there is a pervasive hopelessness. The creed of the fatalist - “It is what it is” and therefore cannot be changed. There may be some talk about what is being done to reduce employee turnover but they are not seeing it.

This hopelessness is a cancer on your greatest asset and your culture. However, hopelessness can be turned around quickly if the issue is taken straight on. If the root causes are correctly identified, strategies and plans developed and implemented successfully – progress will be evident almost immediately.

I have seen this happen many times. The hopelessness starts to be dispelled when:

  1. The plans are announced and they make sense to middle management and the employees
  2. The employees see the first concrete positive change
  3. When the changes first begin to affect the individual employees work day
  4. Lastly, when statistical results are published

A specific example is when I was the Chief Human Resources Officer of an organization - things were starting to move in the right direction. We were in full implementation stage. People could sense it and it was exciting – which is the opposite of hopelessness.

I was walking down the hall and another employee walked up to me and in a hushed tone said “It is getting better”. She said it as if she was scared that by uttering confidence it would jinx it. It didn’t. Things continued to move forward per the plan and things got better and better. But it was a good example of how we had escaped the hopelessness cycle.

At this point is when the employees jump on the bandwagon. They don’t want to hear the negative stuff anymore. Now the horizon is seen as a place even better than it is now. When you are mired in hopelessness the horizon is not seen as any better and in most cases will be seen as something that will be even worse.

When you have traded hopelessness for excitement there are certain benefits:

  1. Employee turnover will go down
  2. You will gain control of your Greatest Asset
  3. Recruiting will become easier if managed correctly
  4. Productivity and engagement will go up

Wouldn’t you rather work in an environment of excitement versus hopelessness?