What Managers Must Do To Ward Off Workers From Walking Out The Door During The Great Resignation
The Great Resignation is a movement with momentum. About 4 million people have quit their jobs recently. A recent survey from a leading job site reported that 95% of respondents considered leaving their jobs.
The pandemic has made people reevaluate their work lives. The outbreak caused us to appreciate the fleeting nature of life, as it goes by too fast. Existential questions are asked: What am I doing with my life? Where am I going? Do I want to do the same old thing for five, 10 or 20 more years? They’re answering the questions by leaving their jobs, in pursuit of opportunities that feel more fulfilling and financially rewarding.
There are people who are burnt out after enduring a pandemic for nearly two years. Stress, anxiety, uncertainty and fear take hold. It's exacerbated if you have a bad boss, feel overlooked at work and are isolated at home. It's even more challenging if there is no light at the end of the tunnel—meaning no raises, bonuses or promotions in sight.
Companies need to take action—fast. Supervisors should keep in touch with their staff. This is especially crucial since folks are working remotely and feel left out and adrift alone. Executives who neglect to pay rapt attention and lack empathy risk losing their best people.
Companies can easily find out who the star players are from their competitors. Recruiters will swoop in and poach the top talent. When the best performers leave, everyone else starts to think that something’s wrong and considers looking for themselves. If you don’t think that your workers are searching for jobs online, networking, speaking with recruiters, career coaches and résumé writers, you shouldn't be in management.
It's not too hard or expensive to attract and retain talent.
Here are some things management can easily and readily do right now to ward off workers from walking out the door:
Listen To Your Team
A simple and inexpensive policy is to have managers check in with their staff. Everyone is unique. They have preferences of how they work best. Inquire about how they are dealing with the pandemic. See if they need some mental health support or just someone to speak with. Really listen to them.
The same holds true with the company’s work model. If you force a person to go back to the office when they are afraid of catching the virus, you’ll push them out the door. Provide hybrid, remote, flexible schedules, four-day workweeks, six-hour days and other arrangements that make them feel comfortable, important and happy.
Treat Workers Like They’re Real People
You’re managing real, live human beings with feelings and emotions. They’re not robots or computers. Let them know you care. Make them feel part of the bigger picture. With a hybrid and remote setup, people can feel lost or forgotten. It's your job to bring them together.
As a recruiter, I can say with utmost confidence that it's exceptionally hard to steal a person when they have a close-knit work network. If a person has a tight group of work friends, they’ll stay with the company out of loyalty to their clique, not the company. With this in mind, you should help cultivate building relationships amongst workers. It's one of the best retention tools available.
We all want to feel valued. A “thank you” from the boss or a public shout-out in front of peers makes everyone feel good. In a conference meeting, give credit to your team instead of glomming the limelight. Order pizza for a person who is working late. Take the team out for dinner or drinks to celebrate a victory. The show of attention and care goes a long way in making people want to stay.
Have trust and faith in your team. Provide them with tasks that they can succeed in. Offer challenges so that they can learn and grow. Play the part of “chief cheerleader officer.” Encourage people to stretch, take chances and learn new things without fear of being blamed if it goes awry. Help staffers climb the corporate ladder.
Pay People What They’re Worth
Some companies are cutting salaries if an employee works remotely in a less costly location. Employees who have worked at the same organization for many years tend to have a lower salary due to the “loyalty discount.” This term refers to the comparison of people who keep switching jobs and earn about 20% premiums each time they move. The person who has been loyal only gets a modest 1% or 2% increase each year. Smart supervisors should know about this and address the inequity rather than letting the loyal person fester and get frustrated to the point of leaving.
In a hot, war-for-talent job market, you can’t take employees for granted. It's less expensive to pay well and offer attractive benefits. People will be more motivated and work harder, as they know that they'll be rewarded for their performance.
When people leave, there are many costs involved. It's both time and money. The company needs to place job ads online and retain recruiting firms that charge about 25% of the candidate’s salary. Time and effort is involved with reviewing résumés, interviewing, hiring, onboarding and training new hires.
These actions take time away from the supervisor and co-workers doing their own jobs. There is a chance that the new person won’t be nearly as good as the one who left. It's probable that since it's a hotter job market, the company would pay more for the incumbent than the person who left.
Meaning, Purpose And Direction
Younger generations desire jobs and careers that offer meaning and a sense of purpose. They also want to feel that they are making a difference in the world. Gen-Z and younger Millennials are especially passionate about working at a place that shares their same views on social and political issues. It's important to offer a way to help people achieve these aspirations. If it's not through the actual work, it could be via corporate-sponsored volunteer and philanthropic activities.
Oftentimes, workers are left in the dark. They think that they are the last to know what’s going on. This leaves them feeling abandoned, unimportant and lost. It's imperative that management shares their vision of where the company is going and how everyone will get there. Each person should know what’s expected of them and how they can achieve and exceed goals and expectations.
Make them feel part of the decision-making process. Ask for input and ideas. Encourage people to share their thoughts, even if they diverge from the corporate narrative. Don’t manage by talking down to people and barking orders. Allow free and open conversations, even if it gets a little uncomfortable.
Let Go Of The Toxic Employees
I know that we’re talking about retaining people, but there are some folks who need to be thrown overboard. We’ve all worked with toxic colleagues. These are the guys who range from irritating jerks to sociopaths.
Weak managers look the other way. They’re afraid to confront the situation. This emboldens the gossipers, rumor mongers, backstabbers and constant complainers. For the sake of everyone else, you need to have a talk with the troublemakers. If you leave it unattended, your staff will start leaving. They’ll say that the supervisor chose the problem employee over the hard worker. Others will leave too.
The Need For Real Managers
Let’s use sports as an analogy. All-star players that retire move into a managerial role. It's believed that a great baseball player will also be a Hall-of-Fame-type coach and manager. Sometimes, it works; mostly, it doesn’t. The talent of the baseball player doesn’t necessarily transfer over to managing people. They are two distinct skill sets.
We see this occur at corporations. A fast-tracker is promoted to a managerial role. Most, if not all of the time, there isn’t any training for the newly minted manager. Executives just believe that because the person was a rockstar in their previous role, they’ll be a terrific manager. It's a fallacy.
The skills that made a person a super successful salesperson may not translate over to managing. They are used to schmoozing and selling and not the unglamorous tasks of scheduling meetings, setting agendas and working out all of the little details needed to run a department. This is kind of similar to the Peter Principle, which states that people keep rising in an organization until they finally land into a job that they are completely incapable of doing effectively.
Companies need to train, coach and offer continued assistance to managers to ensure that not only are they meeting their objectives, but they are taking care of their staff and not alienating or abusing them. There’s that old adage, “People don’t leave companies. They leave bad managers.”