Group of employees A quarter ofemployee turnover is attributable to a lack of positive andproductive work relationships, well-being, and work environment.(Photo: Shutterstock)

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Today, most employees don't have a "relationship" with theiremployer. Paychecks are deposited automatically, we work incommunal space if we don't work from home, we never "move-in," very fewnotice if we ever come back, and we communicate through electronicmeans with our colleagues and customers who can be anywhere in theworld.

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According to Gallup, 68 percent of U.S. employees, at best,take a "paycheck without passion." Alarmingly, that's the lowestpercentage of people in the world–Western Europe is closer to90 percent.

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Related: Who's working for passion, and who's just in it forthe paycheck?

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With that high a number of employees who are ambivalent abouttheir job, we shouldn't be surprised by the fact that totalturnover across all U.S. professions was 44.3 percent in 2018. And we definitelyshouldn't be surprised that 26 percent of that turnover isattributable to a lack of positive and productive workrelationships, well-being, and work environment.

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All this suggests that a transactional employer-employeerelationship is the norm. And herein lies both a challenge and anopportunity for employers, as it pays to create a bond of trustwith employees: According to Gallup, if an employee reports that a"supervisor/someone at work cares," that has an impact on retention, customer satisfaction,productivity and profitability.

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In baseball, it might even have an impact on your team's abilityto win the World Series. There are all kinds of reasons why anathlete would want to hide an injury in order to be seen as beingmore "game ready" than they are, but despite all the pressure to"hide the ball," Max Scherzer owned his injury in Game 5 and toldJoe Ross to get ready to be lead-off pitcher in one of the mostcritical games of the Washington Nationals' career.

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Max Scherzer, knowing the organization, felt safe in his abilityto share details regarding his injury and found an alternative thatgave his team a better path to winning. All employees should feelthis way about their organization, but the reality is that too fewdo.

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This is where continuous evaluation comes into play. Some see itas a repeated pre-hire background check that virtually everyemployee receives prior to being hired, but really, it's so muchmore than that.

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We know that the majority of workplace physical or sexual assaults are preceded by verbal assault,intimidation and harassment. We also know that in most cases, theseactions are taken by employees who feel significant pressure andstress. In fact, more than one-third of U.S. workers sayfinancial stress impacts their work.

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If these early warning indicators are not continuously evaluatedand therefore missed or ignored, employees write off company policyas only lip service, and employers see productivity drops andabsenteeism and risky behavior escalate. They see employee-employertrust erode as employees see claims of assistance but not actionthat contributes to a physically and emotionally safe workplace.And, as a worst-case scenario, employers sometimes see employeeswho feel the employer does not serve their interests take action toconvert employer assets or take their frustration out onothers.

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So, how can employers get away from benign neglect to achievingthe very basic of engagement goals of physical and emotionalsafety? It starts with "why."

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Employees will ask:

  • Why are you doing this?
  • What do you intend to do with the continuous evaluation dataonce you get it?
  • What's in it for me?

To which an employer should explain that continuousevaluation will help them:

  • Recognize the needs of employees and guide them to assistanceprograms
  • Eliminate bullying and intimidation
  • Stop sexual harassment
  • Protect employees from outside physical assault before it findsits way inside the workplace

In so doing, employers will actively demonstrate to theiremployees that they care. And, most importantly, they will createan environment in which more employees can follow in Max Scherzer'sfootsteps, feeling comfortable enough to ask for help when theyneed it the most, and before it has a negative impact on theorganization.

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Tom Miller is CEO of ClearForce, anorganization that protects businesses and employeesthrough the continuous and automated discovery of employeemisconduct or high-risk activities.


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