The “Great Resignation” refers to the record number of Americans who left their jobs in 2020 and 2021 – with no intention of returning. I’ve recently spoken to many of my Fortune 500 clients who lament that this major migration is adversely impacting sales, supply chains, customer service, deliveries, and revenue. But this isn’t actually a new phenomenon. Years ago, large numbers of Millennials quit their jobs to work for competitors or become independent entrepreneurs. They sought greater independence, professional flexibility, and careers that reflected their personal values.
So, what can you do or offer to retain your valuable team members, during this high-stakes competition for talent? Here are 4 relevant solutions to effectively address new challenges.
1. Offer a Flexible Work Life
For years people have emphasized work/life flexibility. But over the past 18 months many companies and their employees experienced it firsthand. That gave them hard data. Now we have an abundance of compelling evidence that for many, this newfound flexibility produced greater productivity. To attract and retain employees today, leaders and their organizations need to carefully study these options and update their policies and teamwork strategies accordingly.
2. Promote Psychological Well-Being
Employees got a taste of freedom from stressful commutes and unhealthy time away from children, and they enjoyed greater workplace autonomy. Now that they’ve realized the psychological benefits, they are understandably reluctant to go back to the old way of doing things. Embrace that shift in attitudes, because it may give your organizational DNA a much-needed boost. Give team members more say-so in defining their job descriptions. With freedom comes greater responsibility and accountability – and that’s always good for teams, departments, and organizations.
3. Realigned Your Organizational Values
Many employees working from home discovered a new balance and alignment that made them happier and more productive. They did some internal soul searching, and made courageous choices to sacrifice going back to the status quo, if it required compromising their personal values. Companies should follow that example. Revisit your organizational culture. Look for ways to provide more meaningful experiences for your workforce. Make your organization a magnet for disgruntled talent eager to migrate away during the Great Resignation.
4. Support the Women Who Support Your Success
A special 2021 report on women in the workplace from McKinsey found that more they typically put in extra effort and make greater sacrifices, compared to male counterparts. As a result, more than 40% burn out at alarmingly fast rates. Recognize and reward those unsung champions of your success. Consider polices like letting employees buy back a day per week for less salary, or shift to a 4-day work week. Support women with childcare, career development opportunities, leadership coaching, and other perks they want and deserve.
The Bottom Line
All of these issues and solutions revolve around the core concept of leading by supporting your troops. As a leader, your own career depends on giving them the inclusive voice and supportive resources they need in order for their careers to thrive. Their outcomes are ultimately a direct reflection on your leadership ability.
Sarah’s Accelerator Questions
Your job is to listen, learn, and strategically adapt to best serve your team in these ever-changing and challenging times. To make that job easier, ask yourself:
- What are the top three benefits on the career wish list of each of my team members?
- Would conducting an anonymous survey of employees give me candid insight to help answer that key question?
- Once I know their wish list, how can I help provide them what they want – aligning their needs with the organization’s?
Finding answers to those questions may lead you straight to the answer for the dilemma so many companies cannot seem to overcome. But solving the Great Resignation dilemma is easier once you have inside-track insight that illuminates your leadership vision.