Strategic Partner, Diane Janovsky shares some very important resolutions for leaders at all levels of the organization. As the labor market continues to heat up and tighten up, these factors are going to be increasingly important as you not only work to recruit best talent, but also hang on to them for the long haul. Enjoy Diane’s thoughts on this important topic in our continuing series on Leadership in the 21st Century.

I don’t know about everyone else, but it seems like it has taken me longer than usual this January to slog my way through the backlog of emails I received over the holidays. Now that the action items are taken care of, I’ve finally been able to read some of the more interesting newsletters that I had put aside for when time allowed.

One of the articles that caught my eye was entitled “Eight Resolutions for CEOs” from the Korn Ferry Institute. Some of the ideas are new, and some are familiar, but what is most important is recognizing that CEOs and senior leaders can best drive the success of their business by setting the example and creating the environment where people are highly valued and supported.

Create an effective culture.
A 2017 Korn Ferry study of talent acquisition managers found that the number one reason a candidate currently chooses one company over another is because of CULTURE. As we move away from the Great Recession, the stability of salary and benefits are much more of a given, and people are more attracted to transparent, fair and purpose-driven companies. Culture starts at the top, and according to Arvinder Dhesi, a Korn Ferry senior client partner, “Everything that we do contributes to the culture. There’s no culture-neutral behavior.”

Improve the engagement of your employees.
Studies continue to show that only about 30% of employees are engaged in their work. Improving that number, even by a few percentage points, provides a massive opportunity for increased productivity. The path to greater employee engagement is not unlike creating an effective culture. It requires sponsorship and commitment from top management to take systemic actions that link individual success with organizational success.

Be more transparent with stakeholders. 
With the rise of technology and social media, leaders must recognize that there are no secrets. Transparency is a given, and lapses in honesty and integrity will be apparent to customers, suppliers, shareholders, the community, and especially employees. Creating an environment of trust and fairness reduces stress in the workplace and will help with retention of talent.

Understand the power of diversity.
Diverse perspectives, especially at leadership levels, lead to more balanced and robust decision-making, while a perceived lack of diversity and inclusiveness can lead to higher levels of stress and employee turnover. Being intentional about cultivating and supporting diversity in the workplace is a key strategy for CEOs to ensure the sustainable profitability of their company.

Be a better teammate. 
Although senior leaders are expected to be decisive, the best leaders still manage to solicit ideas and encourage participation, collaboration and cooperation among their staff and peers. CEOs who model team player behavior will create a healthy and open environment which can result in greater levels of engagement and innovation.

Be more agile.
Embracing ambiguity and constantly innovating is a necessity in our world of rapid change driven largely by advancements in technology. Even in a future populated by robots and enabled by Artificial Intelligence, a recent Korn Ferry study still indicated that human capital will outweigh the value of technology as long as people are adaptable and continue adding to their skills and potential. Senior leaders need to make agility a highly valued and rewarded attribute in their organizations.

Create a deeper leadership/talent pipeline.
This resolution is nothing new, but it is perhaps more important than ever. Attracting and retaining the best talent is more and more challenging in a robust economy. Understanding changing expectations of top contributors and future leaders and intentionally investing in their development is critical to retention and future success.

Be a mentor.
Mentoring is one of the most effective methods of developing people and demonstrating commitment to high potential employees. Mentors benefit through skill development and being viewed more favorably by their own leadership, and they also tend to be more satisfied with their jobs and dedicated to their companies. It’s a win-win!