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Combating “The Great Resignation”

Combating “The Great Resignation”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a record 4 million people quit their jobs in April. In a recent Microsoft report, another 41% of the global workforce is considering leaving their jobs this year. The most recently available BLS data indicates there are approximately 9.3 million job openings in the United States. All of these signs have driven organizations to realize they are in trouble if they do not start to figure out how to combat this new trend called “The Great Resignation.”

What can organizations do to future proof against “The Great Resignation?” Here are 5 key areas organizations should address to increase retention of employees:

Organizational Purpose. The recent pandemic has caused a lot of employees to reevaluate their lives and think about what is important to them. Now, employees want to know more than just “what” they have to do, they want to know “why” they are doing it. They want to be part of something they believe in, and a purpose statement gives them just that. A good purpose statement gives employees the “why” and allows them to emotionally connect with what they are doing. The Organizational Purpose gives them the direction to work toward and is the basis for decision making and unity.

Organizational Culture. With a shortage of employees in many industries, it is an “employee-driven market.” Candidates are looking at websites like “Glassdoor” for reviews of organizations before agreeing to work for them. They want to work for organizations that have healthy cultures of engagement, enthusiasm, and empowerment. This is not a new concept as employee engagement surveys over the last decade have indicated that organizations with higher levels of engaged employees are the “Employers of Choice.” As a result, they have lower attrition and attract more employees. Employers that no longer care about their culture and employee reviews are at a great disadvantage when attracting and retaining top talent.

Organizational Flexibility. I spoke to one executive who said their highest producing salesperson could no longer work Saturdays because they were a single parent. This executive was not willing to flex the days the employee needed so ended up losing their top producer. Working from home for a year allowed employees to avoid the “California Commute,” lower their living expenses (car & food) and spend more time on the things they cared about. Organizations that have taken a hard line in the past on where employees need to work, what hours they need to work, and on what days they have to work are now at a disadvantage. Many organizations realize that the retention of quality employees is more important than having a rigid structure. Organizations should now consider if they can flex the hours or days employees work and whether or not they can offer hybrid or remote positions. This type of flexibility can have a big impact on the retention of top employees.

Organizational Opportunities. Diversity and Inclusion have been hot topics for organizations to address over the past year. In addition, motivational studies show that one of the main drivers for today’s employees is that they are being developed and grown by the organization. Organizations need to put a development plan in place for every employee. Mentoring, developing, and cross-training employees not only motivates them to stay with the organization but also naturally produces succession planning by creating a diverse bench that is ready to move up to the next level if/when they are needed.

Organizational Pride. We covered how the Organizational Purpose Statement could help employees emotionally connect with the organization. However, employees want their organizations to take it a step further. Employees want their organizations to be “Good Corporate Citizens.” They want their organization to give back. This could be accomplished in a number of ways including donations to the homeless, digging wells in a third-world country, or coming together for a beach cleanup. Employees want to be proud of how their organization makes the world a better place.

Organizations that proactively address these five key areas will retain more people, enhance productivity, and boost profitability. The massive return on investment these organizations receive will give them an edge over their competition for years to come.

Interested in learning more about employee engagement? Join us for a complimentary 1.5-hour webinar, Managers Matter: Remote Employee Engagement, on August 18, 2021, at 9:00 AM.

Download a free copy of Dale Carnegie’s Developing a Resilient Workforce white paper.

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