How to Keep Employees From Leaving

We flipped the script on "The Great Resignation" and discussed how it might be creating an unique opportunity for employers to reconnect with employees.

Danielle Riha
October 22, 2021

There’s a lot of talk right now about “The Great Resignation,” and the negative impact it’s having on the labor market. But in a recent interview with Brad Betson, he flipped the script and helped us see how it’s actually creating an unique opportunity for employers to reconnect with their employees.

What is “The Great Resignation” & Why Is It Happening?

Brad defines The Great Resignation simply as “a reset” or a “reevaluation” of both personal and professional obligations. This is not uncommon when someone experiences a major life event (such as the death of a loved one, or a traumatic event like 9/11) but it feels especially unique right now because the global pandemic has led to a collective reset across the entire human race.

What’s causing so many people to conclude that quitting their jobs is the best move for them? Brad again offers a simple answer: they don’t feel valued. Employees want to do work that matters, they want to be a part of a team, and they want work that aligns with their values and priorities. Many people just don’t feel that they’re getting that at their current job, and are realizing that they can find it elsewhere.

In the wake of all that we’ve experienced in the past year and a half, the uncertainty of making a major career change or even just switching jobs seems to pale in comparison to what we’ve already been through in the pandemic. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain, so they’re taking the plunge and leaving for greener pastures.

What Can Leadership Do To Get Employees To Stay?

Brad offered up five tactics leadership can start acting on right now to demonstrate to employees that they are heard and valued. These initiatives don’t cost anything to implement and you can start right away.

Recognize Them

Brad cited a Gallup poll that found that over 70% of employees say recognition is more important to them than a pay raise. Meanwhile, Gallup also found that 83% of leaders acknowledge that they could do more to recognize their teammates. Clearly, there’s a gap to bridge here.

Stop and ask yourself: Who is someone on my team that deserves to be recognized? Then, go tell them what they did well, and tie it to a company value. Do it with authenticity, and do it soon after the behavior occurs. Now repeat daily!

Give Them the Freedom to Make Decisions

This one is really easy: don’t micromanage. Treat people the way they want to be treated. If you did your job well and put the right person in the right seat, it’s time to step back and let them do the job you hired them to do.

Allow Them the Opportunity to Give Regular Feedback

Do you really have a good read on how your employees are feeling about their job and workplace? The best way to keep a pulse on employee sentiment is to ask for feedback regularly.

The catch is, if you ask for feedback, you also have to take action on the feedback given. If you consistently ignore feedback, they’ll eventually stop giving it (and resent you for asking in the first place if you had no intention of using it).

Prioritize Personal Development

As Brad explained during the webinar, leaders grow leaders. “Build them up, don’t beat them up,” he said. But before you can do that, you have to know what’s important to your employees and what kind of short- and long-term goals they have. Where do they want to be? Are you helping them get there? Ask these questions to understand their professional aspirations, then start supporting them in their journey.

Create Psychological Safety

Quoting Berne Brown, Brad asked webinar attendees, “Is this a culture where armor is required or rewarded? Is it safe to be candid, vulnerable, honest, and open?”

When you create a culture where armor (i.e. closing yourself off from others for self-preservation) is neither required or rewarded, employees will be more likely to communicate openly, voice concerns, and challenge each other to continuously improve.

Start Talking With Your Employees… Before It’s Too Late

What do all of these tactics have in common? Regular communication with your employees. Or, as the title of our webinar suggests, reconnecting with your employees. That’s not always easy for blue-collar industries where workers are out in the field, or working different hours of the day, or speaking different languages than leadership. But our clients—who use our software to communicate across shifts, languages, and locations—have seen noticeable improvements in employee engagement and job satisfaction.

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