Just about every leader I've spoken with recently is feeling the pain of The Great Resignation. Many speak about employees who have left their organization and an inability to keep up with hiring. Some took a chance and hired during the early months of the pandemic while great talent was available, and now while business is booming, they're dealing with growing pains.
As you look for guidance, there are a lot of reports and statistics that will tell you who is leaving, why they're leaving, and what it’s doing to businesses. What's missing, you may ask? What can I do today to make positive changes within our organization to make it a better place for our employees and ultimately improve our customers' experience?
It turns out I am one of those statistics…
the mid-career employee that has seen a 20% increase in resignations*
As a former recruiter, I'm also the go-to for many of my friends and network looking to make a move. I can recall 14 people besides myself who made a transition this year and a handful more that are still looking. I asked them about the little things that would have impacted their decision to stay and what their new company is doing right that they love? Here are a few actionable steps and ideas you can implement based on some top reasons people leave their jobs:
Career Management & Feeling Stuck
Now is the perfect time to ask your employees, "What does your ideal job look like within our organization?" Don’t risk losing a good employee to another company for a position you could have made for them. Goals and priorities often change for employees, so it's a good idea to check in quarterly to ensure they are happy with their scope of work, and if they'd like to explore other areas of the business, and then put together a plan to help them get there. Most importantly, remember that people can go up or down the "corporate ladder." You may have a leader that is looking to lighten their workload and focus energy in other areas.
If you have a top performer waiting for a leadership position to become available, invest in their training now and get them ramped up so they can see you’re serious about the promotion. Have them mentor a new employee or a junior-level staff member to develop their coaching and feedback skills. Invite them to shadow a leadership meeting once a month. Invest in leadership training and books so they can start with good habits and best practices in mind.
Lastly, be realistic with career management. There may come a time when a great employee outgrows an organization. Would you rather ignore the situation and find out when they're putting in their notice or know when they will start to look outside the company because you’ve been supporting them? Having frank conversations like this with your employees may feel uneasy at first, but at the end of the day, if you do right by your employees, they'll do right by you.
Employee Engagement & Culture
With many people now working fully remote or in a hybrid environment, it’s more challenging for leaders to create a sense of community and belonging with employees.
The value of weekly one-on-ones has only increased. Protect this time and avoid rescheduling- it shows your employee that they are a priority. Leverage every minute scheduled, use the time to check in on how your employee is doing personally, share stories, and build rapport. Provide coaching or role practice to help them improve their skills.
Investing in your employees is one of the best ways to increase engagement. Offer virtual training sessions or in-person workshops when you’re able to bring entire teams together. Ask SMEs within the company to lead a lunch & learn once a month to share tips and best practices on technology, time management, or the day-to-day aspects of the job.
Let’s not forget to address the elephant in the room. Most of the executives I've spoken to have said business is booming, and they can't hire fast enough. It's a good problem, so to speak, but you can't just cheer the business's success and brush the burnout factor under the rug. It's okay to acknowledge to your teams that you’re understaffed and use this moment to reset expectations and make agreements. Start by re-evaluating what business you take; a record year can get wiped out if you lose a few top-performers due to burnout. Leverage your teams' strengths, so your people are focusing on their best skills most of the time. Determine what activities make the most significant impact on your business and adjust the metrics you measure success. Last, encourage referrals. Ask for introductions to people who would be a good culture fit for the organization and allow the leadership team to determine if there is a good role in the company.
Find new ways to celebrate wins, no matter how big or small. Town halls are an excellent opportunity to share success stories. Use your company’s social media to highlight employees and customer testimonials.
Here are a few of the easiest to implement ideas I heard:
Send a company-wide email letting everyone know they will be given time to vote on election day and to work with their manager on scheduling.
Encourage participation in town halls by having people submit questions in advance along with their favorite charity. If their question is selected, the company will make a small donation to their charity.
Create a green team, allow them to review purchasing, and see if there is an opportunity to leverage more earth-friendly products. Have them implement waste-reduction plans in the office.
Encourage a volunteer club where people can meet and volunteer their time together at various charities and organizations. This is a great way to team-build as well.
I hope that gaining the perspective of those who have made a move will help you implement positive changes within your organization. If you feel your employees could benefit from career development and want to increase engagement, I’d welcome the chance to discuss how our Recruiter, Sales, Key Account, and Leadership Training could move the needle in your organization.