The Great Resignation is a phrase that has been prevalent over the last few months, it reflects a huge spike in the rate of attrition, with organisations globally seeing employees leaving in large numbers. As this article mentions, in some cases they are leaving without anything new to go to!
Why is this happening? The reasons for each of the individual 19 million (!!!) who have left their jobs in the US market since April 2021 will vary - but you can bet that there will be a general theme beneath it all. Something we talk about extensively with our clients, and the candidates in we work with, Culture. What is happening culturally within these organizations? As this article questions, do they really understand why people are leaving?
Culture runs through everything, good and bad. Fail to understand the day to day, living experience, of the people that work for you and you will fail to keep them. And here is the thing, go to the market to find new talent and that culture which caused so many to leave will permeate and negatively impact the candidate experience. You lose twice over. You do not have the answers to the questions the candidate you are interviewing is asking you, questions about value, reward, job fulfilment and satisfaction. I have written in the past about how much information there is out there for candidates to access before they even speak with you, they come prepared!
What can be done to combat this? Looking to find out more about the culture of your business? Start asking your employees questions;
- What attracted them to work here?
- What do they love about their job?
- How have they developed and what have they learned?
- What do they think could be improved?
Even these 4 simple questions could get you to the heart of what is happening. As this article mentions, many of the assumptions being made on why people are leaving are not wrong, however they are not the most important reasons. These questions are very likely to get to the core of some these issues (as outlined in the article);
- Not feeling valued by their manager
- Sense of belonging
- Valued by organization
Lets look at these a bit more closely, because the theme here is micro not macro. In an organization of 10 to over 100 thousand, $1m to $10bn turnover - the employee relationship is not always with the organization, for example, they do not necessarily personally relate to Coca-Cola - they work for their team, their manager, for a joint goal - the age old saying can be true, people leave bad managers. If someone does not feel valued in this relationship they will look to work for someone who does make them feel this way.
Sense of belonging. What do they love about their job, what are they striving towards? What keeps them coming back to that challenge? How is this recognized? It does not have to be with monetary rewards - is it being mentioned in work newsletters, the press, team meetings and so on...
Valued by organization - if their contribution is having an impact, if their team is having an impact, how do they know? When were they last told? Do they understand and have a sense of what they are achieving and how and why his is important.
Then, want to hire new people? You have your advocates, your best and most valuable piece of attraction and advertising, the people who are already on this journey with you. You have your data on why people should want to work for you and you have your action plan on how to put things right if they are going wrong - and if it is going wrong it can be put right so quickly.
I hope you find this article to be as insightful as I did. If you need help and guidance on what you could be doing differently to retain and attract talent, then come to us. We are helping our clients right now to answer these questions, not just to find new people, but helping them to understand what would compel someone to work for them (and vice versa!)
If you lead a large team or a company, remember this: the Great Attrition is real, will continue, and may get worse before it gets better. Yet this unique moment also represents a big opportunity. To seize it, take a step back, listen, learn, and make the changes employees want—starting with a focus on the relational aspects of work that people have missed the most. By understanding why they are leaving and by acting thoughtfully, you may just be able to turn the Great Attrition into the Great Attraction.