How to survive the Squid Game?

In Squid Game, the best way to make it out alive is not to try to be the best of all, but to unite with others. (Photo: 123RF)

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Q. – “Our employees are leaving one after the other, seduced by the offers made to them by our competitors. This is tragic for us, because our employees are very specialized, and therefore rare on the job market. How to stop the bleeding? And how can we prevent others from vampirizing us? ” – Aurélie

A. – Dear Aurélie, the labor shortage has become so glaring in certain industries that businesses are reduced to looting their neighbors in the hope of survival. In doing so, they indulge, without even realizing it, in a deadly Squid Game, the game presented in the South Korean series of the same name from Netflix where hundreds of players compete for a unique prize of 45 billion won ($ 47 million ), the losers being eliminated by a burst of submachine gun. A mind-boggling game that nobody can really win, as we understand at the end of season 1 …

In Squid Game, the best way to make it out alive is not to try to be the best of all, but to unite with others. In other words, it is necessary to play not individual, but collective. The same is true in real life: if you want your organization to put an end to the bleeding of its vital forces, the ideal is to establish leadership there that is conducive to collective play. As evidenced by four recent and complementary studies:

– The team of researchers led by Gustavo Tavares, professor of leadership and organizational behavior at the Insper Business School in São Paulo (Brazil), discovered that an effective way to decrease the turnover rate of an organization ( the relationship between the number of departures and the total number of employees) consisted in making managers adopt a “charismatic leadership”. In this case, this means adopting six specific values: “integrity; responsibility ; impartiality; open-mindedness; altruism ; and professionalism ”.

When managers put these values ​​into practice, employees feel better within the organization. Because they realize that their own talents are recognized and useful, and they are therefore less eager to see if the grass is greener elsewhere.

– A concrete example of “charismatic leadership” is highlighted in another study conducted by a team of researchers led by Liuba Belkin, professor of management at Lehigh University in Bethlehem (United States). The aim was to see if the implicit obligation for employees to consult and respond to emails sent to them outside of working hours had the slightest impact on them. Results ? This obligation harms the balance between work and private life, and the nuisance is such that it triggers signals of “professional disengagement” or even “professional burnout”. The result is a “much higher” staff turnover rate than in organizations where this obligation does not exist.

– This impact is confirmed by another study carried out by Monica Choy and Ken Kamoche, two professors of management, respectively at the Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong (China) and at the University of Nottingham (Great Britain) ). It emerges from it that the main factors pushing to leave an employer are, in general: the obligation, explicit or implicit, to work outside normal working hours; lack of social contacts at work; an unpleasant working environment; too great a distance between home and workplace; bad relations with the boss and / or colleagues; remuneration deemed insufficient; and poor prospects for career development.

In other words, lack of “charismatic leadership” – open-mindedness, altruism, etc. -, employees do not hesitate to listen to offers made to them by competing organizations.

– This last point is corroborated by a study signed by the team of Tobias Huning, professor of management at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville (United States). It is when the leader serves their team members that the staff turnover rate is lowest. Yes, it is when he acts with everyone as a coach – understanding, advising and supporting – and no longer as a “little boss” – commanding and controlling – that employees prove to be happy and efficient in their daily work. . And therefore, that they least want to go elsewhere.

In short, my dear Aurélie, to survive the Squid Game in which you have embarked in spite of yourself, the best thing is to change the leadership in force within your organization towards “charismatic leadership”. That is, to invite each of your managers to understand instead of criticizing, to advise instead of command and to support instead of cracking down. No longer to consider that their team is at their service, but rather to put themselves at the service of each member of the team. And then you will see employees think less and less of leaving for other skies.

In short, dear Audrey, open yourself up to the unexpected and you will see the unexpected happen!

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