Retention, Not Resignation, Should be Top of Mind
If nothing else, the past year has been one of change and departures for many employees. The media has dubbed it “The Great Resignation.” But it might be better to think of it in a different way. Now is a great opportunity to think about employee retention.
Why are so many employees leaving their positions? Yes, money is one reason. Many have moved to new (or similar) positions for benefits and paychecks, some have retired, and a few have opened their own businesses. The majority of employees are still in the workforce, and there are some significant steps that you can take to ensure that your employees stick around.
Retention Ideas that Work
A large portion of the current workforce is part of the Millennial Generation who are now between 25 and 40 years old. A study from Glassdoor shows that they are the ones who are more likely to place culture and company mission over salary.
As a leader in your organization, you can play a key role in creating that great culture that will keep your employees happily working in your organization. Here are some ideas to consider:
- Provide relevant professional development: A study from the Work Institute showed that fully 30% of people who left their jobs did so because of unsupportive management and lack of professional development. Many studies show that there’s a straight line from poor professional development to high turnover in an organization. Managers and leaders need to talk to their employees to find out what kinds of skills are needed and wanted. Simply throwing money at unneeded training doesn’t solve the problem. The Harvard Business Review found that although global businesses spent more than $350 billion on training, they still weren’t spending that money effectively. Only a minority of employees used the skills their organization had spent training on.
- Strategize employee engagement: An engaged employee can be considered a very good return on your investment in them. And ensuring that your managers are trained to understand this concept and seek regular feedback is also a very good investment for your organization. Actions such as setting clear goals and expectations and effectively evaluating the employee’s performance will go a long way toward maintaining a positive workplace.
- Take a hard look at your company culture: The Glassdoor study mentioned earlier showed the importance of culture (and the organizational mission) to more than three-fourths of the employees surveyed. Building a strong and positive culture in your organization creates a stronger bond with your employees and often results in more positive performance overall. And don’t forget that how you express your company culture is very important . . . make sure that everyone understands and can internalize that culture. In the best of all worlds, each employee will be able to act.
- Prioritize resilience and well-being: Employees today are navigating uncertainty about the future like never before. And it's up to the leaders of the organization to offer help and support. Yet, in a recent survey of employees, about half felt as if the C-Suite had not done enough to help them adjust to the new conditions that remote working and the pandemic had forced on them. It's important for leadership to offer support during this complex time. Business as usual is not—and will probably never be—the same.
- Provide a psychologically safe environment: Creating a psychologically safe environment is not just a nice-to-do, it is a must-do. Being able to express themselves without fear of reprisal is something employees not only appreciate, but they are more productive and engaged as well. (We’ve discussed psychological safety in more detail in a previous post if you want to find out more.)