By Kathleen Quinn Votaw
The Great Resignation has proved problematic for many employers. Meanwhile “quiet quitting” – where employees do the bare minimum as a protest over feeling under-appreciated – has become a big issue.
But the solution for both really isn’t that elusive or far away. If leaders of those affected companies changed their approach and focused more on the employee experience, they would likely see The Great Retention instead.
A survey of U.S. workers and employers identified significant gaps between how employers think things are going at their company and how employees see things. In sum, the vast majority of businesses surveyed thought employees were satisfied or well supported in the major areas – compensation, training, mental health, and job empowerment. But most workers who were polled disagreed, and one in three would quit their current jobs without a backup plan.
The good news for employers is that those trends could be reversible.
The survey found 69 percent of the employees polled would consider staying if things with their current employer changed for the better. That change can happen if company leaders see the need to better engage their employees – acknowledging how that dynamic is directly related to production and retention – and follow through with consistent actions.
The bottom line is this: If you do not provide a good employee experience, you cannot retain the best talent or compete for the best talent. Unfortunately, too many leaders are out of touch with their employees’ needs. They can change that by addressing these points:
Treat your company as a community
Leaders should start with this mindset: You’re not just building a company; you’re building a community that is about relationships, trust, and common values. Just as every company is unique, so are the communities they develop.
Leaders have the responsibility to make sure communities work for members. Today workplace communities are off the charts with change. Workspace is radically different now than it was pre-pandemic. Technology and work from home have redesigned our idea of what an office is. Remote and hybrid employees bring their coworkers into their homes, and now homes, along with families and pets, are part of the work community.
So put your people first. Model the behavior you want to see. Show genuine interest and care. It is up to leaders to create community out of various employee experiences – and their struggles provide an opportunity to lean on HR. HR understands how to build listening, fairness, inclusivity and flexibility and can be a great resource for leaders.
Communicate and celebrate
Today, if you want to attract and retain top talent, you must treat your employees with respect and empathy, and you must communicate way more than you think is necessary.
The old model of running a company, with top-down management and little flexibility or humanity, has created unprecedented stress, fear, and lack of trust in the modern workplace.
Take in Blurb Highlight: Leaders who do not communicate openly, clearly, and regularly about what they expect and why need to step right out of that selfish mindset where everything is about the company’s or owner’s wants, needs, or pocketbook.
You need to reward and celebrate employee achievements as part of your communication and performance programs. Lack of recognition is the No. 1 reason people quit – and recognizing people is such an easy, fun thing to do.
The key pillars for any community are simple. Communicate and listen. Communication of any sort is greatly appreciated by employees and is a meaningful way to show you are listening and you care. It is crucial to embrace technology to facilitate your community connections. Have an open house or fireside chat to welcome your people into your home and connect on a deeper level.
It is a subtle shift in thinking for leadership and how you engage with employees and vice versa, and it could make all the difference in the world in your ability to retain your best employees.
(Kathleen Quinn Votaw is the CEO of TalenTrust.)