There has been a significant amount of time spent studying why people have quit their jobs amidst The Great Resignation. However, the conversation has almost exclusively been about those who have left. But what about the people that have stayed? What is happening with the millions of people that haven’t left? How are they doing, and why aren’t we talking about them?
Regardless of the reasoning, many employees choose to stay at their current jobs. For them, there is no denying that the loss of the team members around them has dramatically impacted their work and experience while working.
Think about this: 2/5 of your team has left in the past 12 months. As a result, someone brand new to the company has been hired and is doing their best to learn the norms, culture, and job, or the gap has yet to be filled. So who picks up the slack? Who is taking the extra time to help the new employee feel welcome and flatten their learning curve? Who makes up for temporarily low productivity? Who deals with learning everything about everyone while having too much to do?
The answer: it’s the employee who stayed. These people, in many cases, are our biggest team and company ambassadors. They love their job, their life, and the work they do. They’re experiencing a significant amount of new pressure. And chances are, they are struggling, burning out, and stressed.
A senior economist at Emsi Burning Glass, Ron Hetrick, explains that productivity has remained high across multiple industries despite the gaping labour deficiency. How is this possible?
The people who stayed have taken on more projects, widened their skill sets, and held down the fort while employers searched for replacements.
Hetrick expressed his concerns regarding the long-term impacts this will have, saying, “Can we continue these [business] gains, or do we risk burning people out?”
I couldn’t agree more. The clock is ticking.
So, how do we support the millions of people that stayed?
- Check-in in a meaningful way.
Prioritize checking in on your employees. Take the time to ask about workload, stress levels, and burnout. Ask them how they are doing outside of work. Really listen to their responses. Take notes to remember key details and follow up by repeatedly asking how they are doing. Creating a safe space where open communication can happen will be essential for maintaining healthy and honest relationships at work.
2. Ask Your Team for Their Opinions.
Chances are, your workplace has significantly shifted over the past two years. But, just like you, your employees have learned, grown, and adjusted to the new world of work. So ask them about it, what works and what doesn’t. Then, make adjustments accordingly; this may help decrease exhaustion and lend support. Three questions I might invite you to ask your team? 1. What could we do more of? 2. What are we doing too much of? 3. What are we best at?
3. Experiment With New Ideas.
What if we truly treated our offices like a springboard where no bad ideas exist? Well, we would have a lot more good ideas. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that there are various styles to work- in many ways we never even thought of before. Consider asking your team what one-degree shifts can be made. What new ideas do your people have, and how can we create a place for those ideas to be shared? I recommend 15-minutes every Monday morning before the week starts.
4. Show Patience to Your People.
In the long term, the Great Resignation may have numerous benefits. But, in the short term, it isn’t easy. So, show your people the patience they deserve. By showing how you’re learning and navigating change and sharing your vulnerabilities, we can all work together through whatever the future holds.
5. Reward loyalty
How many people on your team have been there for 2+ years, are incredible at their jobs, and are feeling that a change of pace and a signing bonus is all they need to shake things up a bit? What if instead, we were to reward loyalty by giving people who have stayed with us longer the same amount they would have got as a signing bonus but we call it a ‘staying’ bonus instead. In some high-skill jobs, recruiting and training can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars over many years. Perhaps we should reward those that stay instead.
The bottom line is that the more we care about our people (new and tenured), the better off we’ll all be. While I may be very optimistic about the future of work in the medium-long term, it is undeniable that the turbulence we’ve all been through (and continue to navigate) over the past months is uncomfortable. But, that said, what I’ve learned to be true is that the fastest way to speed up human connection is to slow down. If we can ensure that we’re genuinely supporting and showing up for each other, regardless of how uncertain the future of work may be, I’m confident we can navigate it together.
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