The term, the Great Resignation, was coined in America during the pandemic when people were confronted with the stark reality that our lives are fragile and can be cut short.
We watched friends and family become ill and die, and as our homes doubled up as our places of work, a realisation set in about how much time we dedicate to the workplace – at the expense of seeing those who mean most to us and doing what means most to us.
These experiences prompted a mass reassessment of our work-life balance and what’s really important. It was a sentiment shared by people the world over.
This re-evaluation collided with what was already occurring among Generation Z, who were already putting purpose above the pay in regards to what motivated them most when it came to work-related choices.
A huge amount of self-reflection and inter-reflection ensued, across the workplace and across generations.
Cue, the Great Resignation.
Cracks, previously papered over, were exposed and deepened.
For many, the reason people enjoyed their jobs was that they enjoyed being with the people around them; we are by nature social animals. But as we started working from home and the ‘workplace camaraderie’ disappeared, so did people’s source of enjoyment. What remained was bland and unfulfilling.
Companies with traditional, hierarchical, bureaucratic business models were impacted most by this shift as people sought a better work-life balance. Those with flatter structures, empowering environments and, above all, a clear sense of purpose adjusted swiftly and positively.
But, we’re in a situation where around a third to half of the employees are considering leaving their current employment in the next year.
This is wow!
The cost of rehiring someone is the equivalent of around two-thirds of an outgoing employee’s salary. The cost, coupled with the loss of experience, amounts to a huge deficit for any business.
Companies have to think really carefully now about how to retain their talent to turn the situation around so the Great Resignation flips on its head and becomes the Great Retention.
A coaching culture, or culture of open conversations, is needed; a culture where people genuinely engage with one another to understand what people want and what challenges they face, creating a sense of wellbeing and belonging.
Traditional incentives, like bonuses or gym memberships, are not cutting it. These commodified rewards don’t meet the needs of today’s workforce, made up of people craving a deeper sense of purpose and a deeper emotional connection with the organisations they’re part of.
In these uncertain and challenging times, fresh thinking is required among leaders; thinking which includes a will to inspire trust, credibility, compassion, stability, and hope. Creating a coaching culture, which revolves around openness, engagement, empathy, and ultimately an investment in people, will form the foundation from which retention can be secured.
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