IT IS WHAT IT IS
As we are all aware, employees are jumping ship in record numbers, since there is a widening mismatch between the job environment individuals prefer and what currently exists. As a result, many organizations are having trouble filling the millions of current openings. Below are some suggestions to immediately, though partially, address this priority.
It is incumbent upon senior and middle management to address this talent crunch. Making your organization a safe and more attractive place to work in will reduce attrition and enhance motivation and productivity. A comprehensive employee retention program can also play a vital role in attracting key employees, as well as in reducing turnover and its related costs. Why? Because it is more efficient to retain a high-quality employee than to recruit, train, and orient a replacement employee of the same quality. All of these can contribute to an organization’s productivity and overall business performance.
The current challenge is severe. Many of our clients have told us that they are seeing upwards of 30% attrition in a variety of positions. Our manufacturing clients have told us that some of their plants have had more than 100% employee turnover since March 2020. In other segments of the workforce, such as technology and data science, employers describe the turnover as unrelenting. The current turmoil in the labor market is unlikely to subside anytime soon.
Employers need to recognize that it takes significantly longer to recruit someone than it does for the employee to give their two-week notice and depart. The solution is to immediately bolster retention while ramping up recruiting. To do so, companies need to get on the same page with employees by listening to them in order to reconceptualize what will motivate them to join a company and remain.
One of our forward-thinking organizations trained their senior leadership team in EQi and ran Covid awareness, retention or “stay” meetings during the past month asking their employees:
- What are the Covid challenges they have faced and continue to address?
- What could the organization do to assist them in addressing their work and family situations?
- What could the employees and managers do to remedy the situation?
WHY ARE THEY RESIGNING NOW!?
THE GREAT RESIGNATION
When resignations are abundant, it is often a huge hit to morale. The remaining employees who stay can feel depressed, stressed, or challenged. Frequently, these individuals have lost friends and coworkers they relied on. They are also given more duties and new responsibilities. As a result, they often feel lost and stretched thin, trying to survive!
WHY ARE THEY LEAVING NOW!?
- Lack of role clarity, job redesign or changes in reporting relationships
- Burnout combined with new needs, priorities, expectations, and routines
- Being passed over for a promotion or experiencing difficulties with a supervisor
- Opportunities for greater growth and development
- Better rewards, recognition, or benefits
- Anger about a work-related or personal issue, such as harassment, bullying, or unfair and inconsistent treatment and quit on impulse
- Getting fired or laid off by the organization
WHERE ARE THEY GOING?
- Going back to school or other life changes, such as having a baby or a child with special needs
- Epiphanies in which people experienced major shifts in purpose and/or identity that led them to pursue a new career or start their own business venture
- Following a spouse who has been transferred or a manager or colleague who joined another organization
- Retirement or no longer needing employment
WHAT CAN WE DO NOW? TRY THIS!
RE-REWARD & RE-RECOGNIZE
Focus residual resources on these employees to encourage them to stay. For example, promote team building events where employees can get to know coworkers whom they have not met before. This can go a long way towards boosting spirits and developing bonds and creating a greater sense of community.
Modify compensation for these people. In the short-term, additional compensation goes a long way towards motivating and retaining top talent. Consider re-examining your approach to merit increases, equity refreshers, and remote worker’s support.
People want to feel appreciated for the work they do. Expressing gratitude can make an especially big impact. Be sure to thank direct reports who go the extra mile and explain how their hard work impacted performance and the organization. Shining a light on notable achievements, such as finishing ahead of a deadline, reaching a fifth work anniversary, etc., can be motivating and increase retention.
RENEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWTH
Help employees identify areas for their professional growth such as learning new skills or being challenged with new projects. Upskilling is especially important today as technology continues to change how we work, and business requirements continue to evolve.
Invest in employees’ professional development by giving them time to attend conferences, providing tuition reimbursement, and paying for continuing education.
Succession planning is an effective method for advancing professional development and building leadership skills.
Walk the talk by showing current employees that they are valued even more than potential new hires by providing them opportunities to learn, grow and advance, as well as, visualizing their future with your company.
Do regular check-ins with people regarding their level of engagement. Help them set realistic career expectations and make sure they are receiving the right development opportunities.
Even when the bonus pool is running dry, you can still help “up and coming talent” feel excited. Employees who have the opportunity to move cross-functionally within the company, whether to new jobs in different departments or by promotions, are more likely to remain in your organization.
REFOCUS WHAT IS IMPORTANT, NOW
Many employers are abandoning the annual performance review process in favor of more frequent check-in meetings with their leaders and team members. In these shorter one-on-one meetings, leaders talk with their employees about how their current roles can bring added value to the company goals. Rewriting SMART goals is also a way to manage performance more effectively.
Focus goals and align incentives on bringing great ideas and innovation to the table. Instituting compelling recognition programs can also be helpful.
Purpose is the reason that your organization exists. In other words, it is your mission, vision, and values. This is one of the primary reasons people join and choose to stay in an organization.
Research motivation that demonstrates, in turbulent times, a belief in what your organization is trying to achieve. Frequently, an employee’s work ethic derives from their own values and the actual conditions they encounter on the job.
Communicate the importance of connecting and solidifying relationships within the organization. Employees become embedded in their jobs and their communities as they develop a web of connections and relationships.
You can increase employee engagement by providing team-based projects and providing clear socialization and communication about the company’s values and culture, as well as offering financial incentives based upon tenure or unique incentives that may not be available elsewhere.
REINFORCE EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
The pandemic has underscored the importance of emotional intelligence and communication. Employees should feel they can come to their managers with ideas, questions, and concerns at any time.
Make sure you demonstrate emotional intelligence in working with people on-site and remotely. Connecting with each team member on a regular basis to understand their challenges at home, workload, and job satisfaction is helpful.
Spot surveys and feedback assessments like 180’s and 360’s are useful tools to ensure that employees are engaged and receiving meaningful feedback on their performance.
Energize managers and employees to contribute ideas and solutions. Promoting teamwork by creating opportunities for collaboration, accommodating individuals’ work styles and giving people latitude to make decisions and mid-course corrections is helpful.
Helping employees remain mentally and physically healthy is a good business practice, and it can reduce unproductive costs. Expand and improve your wellness offerings. Stress management programs and reimbursement for fitness classes are just some examples of what a business might consider providing employees. Include healthy snacks and food, and good aesthetics such as natural light, plants, and art.