How to Engage & Retain People in Times of Resignation

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The past two years have been some of the most challenging years to recruit and retain employees. More than 47.8 million professionals in the United States voluntarily quit their jobs in 2021 — this averages out to just under 4 million per month. Compare that to the rates in 2022, which are climbing every month, which signal one thing: The Great Resignation. This period of high voluntary resignation rates has been something that many professionals have seen signs of for quite some time. 

Source: Statista

As we move into 2022, companies and HR departments wonder: In a time of great resignation, how do we hire and retain talent?

Why are people resigning in such high numbers?

There are many reasons why employees choose to leave their jobs. In some cases, the pandemic put many things into perspective for workers and created a feeling of urgency. Some of the top reasons for quitting and looking for a new job or career are:

  • Low pay
  • Lack of respect
  • Looking for a new path and purpose
  • Health risks, burnout, and stress
  • Disagreement regarding core values
  • A desire for greater flexibility and better benefits
  • Room for advancement
  • Overall respect and professional treatment

The pandemic created a period where many employees could work from home, find more balance, and reflect on what they wanted. Many employees have discovered that more than a raise and a good benefits package, they want to feel valued — like they’re making a difference. What the modern employee is looking for is an emotionally intelligent employer

How to improve hiring & retention during a Great Resignation:

To improve retention, you’ll also need to enhance your hiring ability. If your current employees are happy and fulfilled, new employees and talent will take notice, and your company will become a place where people want to work. Focus on improving retention by considering these key aspects:

Connect with your team.

Social connection is crucial for our health. We spend so much time at work that our workplace connections must be healthy and fulfilling. The pandemic showed us how isolation can lead to increased rates of depression and anxiety. Research shows a discrepancy between the need for social interaction at work and the availability of this interaction. 

Take a personal interest in the members of your team. The best way to show you care is by getting to know people. An emotional connection will help to create an environment of respect and appreciation. In addition to getting to know your employees personally, ask them about their vision and ideas for the company. Involving your team in the company's future will help them feel more invested, improving retention.

Don’t be stingy with the compliments.

Praise in public, correct in private is the advice that leadership expert Tim Durkin gives. 

Have you ever noticed how uncomfortable people are when you compliment them? This could be because we don’t hear compliments as much as feedback or criticism. Be sure to praise your employees frequently and authentically. Regular praise for a job well done can be a powerful motivator. Research shows frequent recognition makes people more productive and engaged and improves employee retention.

The idea of providing more praise doesn’t mean you should become a jellyfish manager, someone with no backbone who only ever gives compliments and avoids feedback or criticism. Too much inauthentic praise will have a negative impact. However, only ever being an authoritarian shark-like boss who provides feedback will leave your employees feeling like nothing is ever enough, and they’ll burn out and resign. 

Provide good benefits & flexibility.

The 9-to-5 office model is one of the past; it's time to find a new way to schedule work hours. For some, this means allowing for remote work opportunities. However, a 100% remote workforce isn’t always the answer. For many professionals, remote work is incompatible with their home life. A flexible remote and office hybrid approach may be a better fit for some or even a four-day work week, just like these British companies

If remote work is incompatible with your company and vision, be sure to have this discussion with your team and find something that works for everyone. The common misconception is that all employees now want to be 100% remote. However, not everyone enjoys this model, nor is it feasible for many companies. A jellyfish manager will just give employees what they want in hopes of keeping them. Unfortunately, pandering to the needs of your staff if these solutions negatively impact the company will only lead to disaster in the future. Instead, work together as a unit or a pod, like dolphins, to find a solution that works for everyone. 

Sure, benefits aren’t the only motivator for resigning from a job. However, a good benefits package means a better work-life balance. By offering a robust care package that includes mental health services, a gym membership reimbursement, or a childcare allowance, companies say, “We care about your quality of life.” Basic dental and medical aren’t going to cut it anymore. 

Create growth opportunities.

Growth can come in many different forms. When a company focuses on growth, sometimes they’re only considering revenue and profit. Shifting your mindset to employee growth means cultivating opportunities for advancement, entrepreneurial projects, and professional training and development. 

People want to learn new things, and they want to grow and develop. Companies that expect their staff to use their personal time to develop their skills will suffer in this new professional world. People will search out companies that agree to and pay for professional development courses or create opportunities to learn and grow for the team.

Ready to give back to your team?

As a speaker, I work with companies in various industries as a professional development source. I have spoken on topics such as Rethinking the Workplace in the Ever-Changing World, Mindfulness Practices for the Workplace, and How Adaptability and Diversity lead to Success. 

I’d love to work with you to increase your emotional intelligence, provide quality educational opportunities to your team, and facilitate connection and bonding in the workplace. Get in touch with me today to book a speaking opportunity

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