The Great Retention
The pandemic has presented many employees with the opportunity to reflect on what is important to us, to our families, and to our happiness. Hybrid work is here to stay, and many of us are in the mood to make changes. Companies are warned of a mass exodus of talent – ‘The Great Resignation’.
If you haven’t already, please do read part one of this blog where I discuss how the pandemic changed our attitudes towards our lives and how we want to work. In part two I want to discuss what organisations can do to avoid losing their top talent in ‘The Great Resignation’.
What can organisations do to avoid this exodus of talent?
Fortunately, the suggestion that nearly half of employees are contemplating leaving their current employer doesn’t mean that they will. But, it is clearly vital that leaders take action and build their own ‘Great Retention’. It’s crucial to stop the attrition boulder before it gets rolling.
Many employees will have reevaluated their circumstances to such an extent that they have chosen to completely change their career focus or to follow a passion. There is little we can do about that except to wish them well. For those that remain, there is much that can be done.
How managers can take action and build their own ‘Great Retention’
In an article by Tracey Brower a number of key points are made, which I think are important for managers and leaders to bear in mind:
- The culture of your organisation will be even more key now. The way in which you approach the issues of flexible working will be front of mind with your people. Let’s not forget your current employees will have been making up their mind about these things throughout the pandemic. How the organisation has treated them in the time of Covid will influence what happens next.
- You might need to help people navigate this expressed want to work from home in the context of future career progression. Without some careful consideration, available opportunities might be less obvious. It might seem that career opportunities could be less obviously available. People will need to maintain visibility within the organisation that employs them to remain front of mind for future progression. Thought will also need to be given to the dilemma of offering choice and flexibility whilst still managing engagement.
- Without the pandemic, seeing people face to face is the best way to build relationships, establish networks and to learn. We’ve all made a huge and conscious effort to do this when we were all inhabiting the virtual world. We might not be able to sustain this effort as we move fully or partially back to the real world.
- We mustn’t forget that organisations are there for a reason! There will always be tension between what’s best for individuals and what’s best for the organisation. Whilst it is perhaps true that in many organisations it has been to the detriment of the individual, we need to think how far the pendulum is swinging to avoid it swinging too far into the opposite direction. Some actual team working is likely to be essential.
- We should recognise that we are all learning. What we agree to do in the coming months should not be set in stone. We are evolving together.
- Control is potentially a big issue and needs to be addressed. Perhaps, many of us now have more of it that we used to, and some of our managers may have less! We need to find a compromise. Respect and transparency will be key principles in this. There is a harmony to be found in balancing empathy for the employee with a need to hold people accountable for great work.
- Even the most introspective of us do need to connect or reconnect, and the organisation should consider how this is going to happen in the hybrid world. Teams, as well as individuals, will need to consciously organise to ensure there is clarity about what is done face to face, what is done remotely and what can be supported by a mix of the two.
- The way in which people are brought back is important. Compulsion is unlikely to work well. Being open about what they can expect is likely to at least begin to inspire trust.
- Brower’s conclusion is worth quoting in full
“Reciprocity is part of the human condition, and we are all more willing to give when we are getting something in return. When leaders provide coaching and mentoring and companies offer great benefits and opportunities for career growth, these “gives” will motivate employees to contribute. We’re enthusiastic to engage when we feel appreciated. And we’re eager to exert ourselves, when we believe the company has our best interests in mind.”
So, like Truman we are stepping through the doorway. When I watch the film, I inevitably wonder what happened to him “on the other side”. As an audience, we are of course left to make up our own mind. I think we are all still wondering what the future of “work” will look like but, as for Truman, I am sure that future will be nothing like our past. And that’s really rather exciting!