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Business is so different now than it was 15 years ago, and 15 years ago, we said how different it was from the 15 years before that. This will continue, and if you don’t stay current with what people want out of their roles, you’ll find yourself on, or continue to ride, the merry-go-round of hiring.  

For those of us old enough to have been a part of it, we went through a dark period where the corporate lifestyle was pretty awful. It was cold, gray walls, gray carpet, gray cubicles, gray attitudes. It was the creation of the transactional job and the transactional employees.  

Boomers and their predecessors took up the task of creating these environments, and Gen X was willing to participate because we didn’t know any better. To us, it seemed a rite of passage into adulthood to have a stale corporate job where you were a cog in the machine. “Ah, now I’ve made it! I’m a middle manager. If I don’t ruffle feathers, I can fly under the radar, keep my decently paying job, and go home to a clear evening and weekend.” 

With transactional mentalities comes mass layoffs. Which leads to less worker loyalty. It’s a cycle that companies themselves create. Transactional companies create transactional employees.  

But you don’t need to be a large organization to create that same type of transactional environment. The trickle-down process is alive and well with bad business behaviors.  

Fortunately, people have gotten sick of it and expect more. None of us LIKES being transactional, but if that’s all that we’re offered, it’s hard to be much else. Engagement and commitment come from engagement and commitment. Like any personal relationship, it has to go both ways to succeed.  

If you don’t give your team something to be excited about, they’ll give you something to stress about.  

There’s been a discussion on LinkedIn about 1:1 meetings and what they should be about. I wholeheartedly believe they should be about helping people do their jobs better today and preparing them to do them even better tomorrow – whatever that means for each person. We should have regular conversations with people about them personally and what they want to do and achieve.  

If you’re not helping people better themselves, it’s highly likely that you have a transactional relationship. If your people are not coming to you to talk about their future, it’s highly likely that you have a transactional relationship.  

The cost of losing employees is high.  

The strain and stress on the team to lose a team member is high.  

The loss of knowledge with the loss of a team member can be crippling.  

Keeping people engaged and committed takes time and effort. 💯 But the time you spend doing that is a totally different type of time commitment from the time you spend replacing people. 

Searching for a new team member is stressful and often anxiety-inducing, and you may have taken on yet another role until a replacement comes in and gets up to speed. It's time spent under stress.  

On the other hand, talking about skills, growth, and future plans is a positive conversation and can be energizing for both people if you’re the engaged and committed type. 

Which would you rather take home at the end of the day? Anxiety and stress? Or engagement and excitement from helping people grow?  

Bring people onto your team and shower them with time and attention to help them get up to speed. But spread out the onboarding training so it doesn’t fall to one person. Because that’s just not fun or fair.  

Set up a regular cadence of communication with your team. Have them meet weekly with their supervisor. While it may sound like a lot, it’s probably not actually often enough.  

Set regular reviews to simply review their role, their growth, and their future. A stagnant employee is likely a transactional one. Talk about how to keep them engaged and committed. We have a Producer Planning Guide and a Professional Development Planning Guide to help with this. You can find them under Resources on our website.     

Take time with people on your team. Invest time with them, learning about them, talking about their interests, helping them develop new skills, lead new projects, and take on new roles.  

You may be able to see more in them than they do, and it’s your job to bring that out in them.  

Create a vision for your company and share it openly. Give people an environment worth being a part of.  

Step away from a transactional mindset and watch your company flourish.  


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