Recognise This! – Research is a poor indicator of your employees’ intentions to stay or go. Rather, look to your culture and expectations of cultures as a better indicator.

Yesterday I published a blog post discussing Accenture research showing nearly 2/3 of employees (even those highly dissatisfied in their current roles) have no plans to leave their employers. I commented that there is equal research showing the opposite.

Case in point – this research I read a couple of hours after I posted yesterday’s blog:

“As part of FPC’s 2011 Year in Review, the recruiting firm interviewed 1,500 U.S. workers, of whom a whopping 79% said they “were planning on looking for a new job once the economy improves.”

“The laundry list of reasons FPC culled from its survey participants tells a story of workforce warriors with limited opportunities and a long memory of transgressions, perceived and real, that they suffered at the hands of often arrogant employers during the Great Recession.”

So who are you to believe? Are employees staying or leaving?

Both surveys – and most of the others on the same topic I’ve read – report the underlying factor of disgruntled, overworked, underappreciated and fed-up employees who no longer trust their supervisors or the organisation as a whole. (In fact, I commented on the problem of trust in reaction to recent CIPD research showing the trust deficit in this article.)

Whether they stay or go is not the immediate problem to be dealt with. Instead, true people leaders should be concerning themselves with: “How do I regain the trust of our employees by inspiring, motivating and engaging them so they understand our objectives, live our values, and work to their highest potential for their own benefit as well as to the benefit of their teams and the company?”

John Hollon, editor of TLNT, engaged in a bit of a comments discussion in reaction to his original post about the Accenture research showing dissatisfied employees plan to stay. His comments are directly related to my point today:

“And like you, I hope that managers and executives will now take this study and see it as (perhaps) an opportunity to do the right thing and reconnect and engage the workers that so many have taken for granted for so long.

“Yes, I hope that’s the case, but I’m not holding my breath – because those are the very same employers who have driven so much of the employee dissatisfaction in the first place.

“Can they change their ways and treat employees better? Of course they can, but will they see that doing so is in their best interest? Well, I think the jury is still out on that question.”

What do you think? Can managers and organisation leaders change their ways? More importantly, will they?

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